I first visited this play area when one of my friends suggested it. It's not the type of place I would have thought of trying, I usually think of Wacky Warehouses as being within a pub, and as my toddler acts like he's in training for the 2016 Rio hurdles, and darts off as soon as I take my eyes off him, being within a pub isn't great for us. Too many places to hide. But this play area was local to my friend, so when she suggested it, I was happy to go along. It's actually a self contained play area so not connected to the pub, and when I was there I thought it was actually pretty good for us, small enough so that my two year old could explore all of the play equipment without being too far away, and my very favourite thing about this play area is that it only has one exit. So many of the play areas we go to have multiple exits which means I'm constantly having to check that he hasn't escaped out of one of the other ones. As this one only has one, it means I can feed the baby and and actually manage to half concentrate on a conversation for once, knowing my toddler is still where I left him.
Getting There and Parking: It's pretty easy to find, and very close to the airport, right next to Callerton Parkway metro station. The car park is accessed by a barrier, but I think this is just there so people doing airport pickups don't use it. The code to the barrier is displayed within the play area, so there is no cost to park. There were loads of parking spaces, and the car park is right next to the entrance. Close enough that I could carry the car seat, and not have to put it down for a breather on my way to the door. That is my new judge of distance, as i'm soooooo unfit after baby number two. Outside of the entrance, are a couple of picnic style tables, and a small park area. I think these belong to the pub, but if the weather was nice I think you could sit outside on your way in or out of the play area and use the park equipment for a while.
When can I go? How much will it cost? We were trying to kill some time on a Saturday morning whilst my husband was working in the house, so we were there during peak hours, so it cost us £3.75 for an hour. During the week it's much cheaper though, at £2.25 during school hours, and you can stay as long as you like. One thing that this play area do that I haven't seen many other places offer, is an unlimited card. It's £10 and that gets you unlimited entry for a month, it's £15 if you have two kids, and £20 if you have four - so it could be a really good option for childminders or people with a few kids.
Inside: Like most play areas, you go through some electronic doors to get in, so that the 'little darlings' can't make a run for it out of the door. As well as the play area their is a 'sensory corner' which I think is over-egging it a bit. There were quite a few books, some kids sized tables for colouring in or crafts, and some bean bags. On this Saturday there wasn't particularly anything appealing to my toddler to stay in this area, but I have been during the week when i've seen that they've had colouring pencils and crafty activities out.
There was a also a bouncer which we could have used for the baby. She was asleep for most of our visit, so stayed in the car seat, but at least this option was available if we'd wanted to use it. There were quite a few things for kids to want to spend your hard earned money on. This tractor ride below, as well as a wall of machines where you can buy those plastic toys which come in eggs. But I think by the time that kids are old enough to really whine about wanting to buy these bits of tatt, they will have probably outgrown this small play area anyway.
One of the things that puts me off visiting a play area on a weekend is how busy it gets, but when we visited here, at about 11am on a Saturday, it was very very quiet. Lots of the tables were reserved for a party, but we were the only customers in the place for about 20 minutes.
The Play Area: The play area is fairly small. It suits my two year old really well, and he was able to play by himself in there, but I think school aged kids would be bored within 5 minutes. It's loosely based around a shop, with some coin and grocery pieces for kids to play with. There are two side by side slides, and the play area is over two levels.
Party Area: You can hire one half of the play area for parties, with it's own play apparatus. Of course once my toddler realised that there were 3 stairs, and an area that he wasn't really meant to go into, this part of the play area became like a magnet to him. Thankfully when we visited the party hadn't started so this wasn't too big an issue, but it would have been frustrating trying to get him to stay in the right place if the party had started.
Food: We went early morning, so I picked something from their breakfast menu. The person taking our order explained the breakfasts were supplied by the premier inn next door. I was pleased with that as I've always rated premier inn breakfasts quite highly (a world apart from Travelodge breakfasts with their watery solid 'scrambled' egg *shudder*) I got my toddler a Junior Full English Breakfast with an extra 2 fried eggs as he's obsessed with eggs, and I thought I would take advantage of his pickiness and take his mushrooms and tomato for myself. I also ordered a sausage sandwich and a coffee for me. I apologise to the chef, as the breakfasts looked much better before I'd cut them up - but i'm still new to this blogging lark and forgot to take a photo before I had toddler-fied it. It was lovely, the sausages weren't too fatty and everything had been cooked well.
I didn't pay much attention to the daytime menu, as it was huge, but I did notice that the kids menu was really big, much bigger than in most places, even other soft plays etc, so there should be something to suit even the pickiest of eaters.
Toilets: It wouldn't be a full review without a couple of pictures of the toilets and baby changes facilities (It would be I hear you cry, it would be fine without the weird toilet pics.) There are 3 toilets available at the play area, single male and female loos and then a bigger disabled toilet with a baby changer in there too.
Would I recommend it? Yes I would. Mainly to people with younger toddlers who live pretty close to that area. I love that it's quiet every time that i've been, I think the off peak prices are really quite reasonable, and much cheaper than most play areas I go to, and the size and single exit of the play frame gives me a bit of peace and quiet as it allows my toddler to play independently.
Callerton Lane Ends, Woolsington ,
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE13 8DF
Telephone: 0191 286 9254
Monday - Thursday 09:30 - 19:00
Friday 09:30 - 20:00
Saturday 11:00 - 20:00
Sunday 11:00 - 19:00
* School holidays close at 20:00 every day
Have you been to this Wacky Warehouse? What did you think? Leave us a comment to let us know.