A few weeks ago, I had a rubbish soft play experience.
More than normal, even. No, there wasn't poo in the ball pool or sick on the slide; this was possibly even worse.
It was the start of the week, it was drizzling. The big one had returned from preschool and the small one had taken his nap. Faced with a dull afternoon inside the house followed by an evening of tidying up, I decided that we should instead push ourselves out of our comfort zone and try something new(ish) and so off we went to sample the soft play delights of Manic Monsters in Edenbridge, where we had never been before. It had a three-point-eight-out-of-five rating on Google and I figured it couldn't possibly be worse than the local one.
I was, sadly and predictably, incorrect.
Not their fault, admittedly, but crap none the less. My kids are finally old enough to entertain each other so I can leave them to it (or is it the other way around?) for short periods which allows me to drink shit soft play tea and browse the internet guilt-free.
This is why we go to soft play; for the limited supervision (I definitely look up occasionally and listen out for familiar shrieks), the fact they (probably) won't hurt themselves in the way they might at the park, won't run away, and won't draw on the furniture which is what happens when I drop the ball at home (we all have deadlines).
It is definitely not for the joyful ambience or the smell.
On top of this, the tea was mediocre (even for soft play, I'm not expecting miracles) and the only cake on offer looked mass produced and sickly. I am a fan of a homemade cake, or even a biscuit, but I can't abide one with more buttercream topping than actual cake; it's a ratio thing.
The cherry on the unappetising cake was that the inside, although fairly well laid out, was full of pay-to-use rides, pinball and other 'Mummy, mummy, mummy, I want to go on it, mummy!' machines.
Fuck that shit, seriously.
After paying the fee of £11.40 (a three-and-under off-peak price of £4.95 for each child, and then an inexplicable £1.50 for me, because I SO WANTED TO BE THERE but apparently my attendance, and thus the £1.50, was actually mandatory), for the minimum two-hour time slot which I had to commit to pre-entry, I did not wish to be hassled for further expenditure.
The small one spent the majority of the two hours atop a stationary Dougal from The Magic Roundabout, pounding a flashing green button and shouting 'Work! WORK!' at it. Fun times.
|Not the Magic Roundabout ride, but an identical one that I did not have to PAY to get to.|
I will not be returning.
I thought I would share the wisdom of my soft play experience and provide a comprehensive review of the ones I've been to (primarily within the West Kent area) so that others may save themselves hours of their lives, or just laugh along at my misery. I might even get a picture or two next time.
Sound fun? (No). Watch this space...
If you'd like to submit your own soft play review, then please send it to me via email!