Advantages Central to Transport Links, Inexpensive. More to do than just ballpits.
Disadvantages Issue with Enviromental Health, Broken Facilities, Strange Staff
|Is it worth visiting?|
My son and I are always finding new things to do during the week. We came across a Children's Soft Play called Cheeky Monkeys.
The address is:Cheeky Monkeys Wakefield
The under 5s area is one of the best I've seen - it is huge! They have 8 plastic playhouses - princess castles, and huts. There is a mock grand-prix circuit complete with dozens of plastic cars (Little Tikes), bikes, ride-ons and scooters. To the side of this are young baby toys such as walkers and small toys. There are lots of toy prams but not any dolls to put in them! Also in this area is a ball pit and slide which is easy for the little ones to get in and out of themselves.The over 5s is a 2 tiered big soft play area with ball pool, slides, tunnels and rope bridges. My little lad who is 21 months can easily play on this too - and so do I!
The reception area is at the far end of the room, this doubles up as the counter where you can buy food and drink, and they display cakes, buns, fruit and crisps.There is also a big cottage type feature - this is closed most of the time as is used for private parties and during Craft Times, so is open when needed.
The front door isn't sealed off, however the handle is too high for a small person to grab at. The play areas are soft and padded, and have the netting around so children cannot fall off.Access to the kitchen is sealed off at both ends by safety gates so even though we can see into the kitchen I know my son is safe. No matter where you are sat - you can always see where your child is, something which not many other soft plays offer.
Something which I am not too happy with is that the staff tend to prop open the toilet doors - my son doesn't understand that he shouldn't really be going into these without me, and I've often have to chase him out of the toilets! I always close them, then watch them get re-opened again. I'm aware that some children are old enough to go to the toilet by themselves, and would need the door to be open for them to get into, but keeping the toilet doors open at all time seems a little bit un-hygenic for my liking.... or maybe I am a little OCD!
This is a little bit of a sore point! The first time I went to Cheeky Monkeys I had no problem at all with the cleanliness, nothing really stood out to me so had no problems. I then told a group of my friends about Cheeky Monkeys and a fortnight later the 6 of us, plus our children headed there for a good morning of play.Upon entering the play centre it immediately struck me that the place must have had damp as I could smell a funny smell. As I was the first one to arrive (and first customer!) I got a table near the under 5s section, then took a little walk round to see if it was clean, which it seemed to be. My friends all arrived and nothing was said about the smell so I assumed once again that I was overreacting a little!
After an hour or so I needed to change my son's nappy so headed to the baby changing area - the smell was horrific and made me gag. I decided that I'd prefer to change his nappy in his pram as I could recline it, as there was no way I could have stomached the smell. After I'd done that I noticed one of my friend's had gone to the baby change, then quickly head back again! She said it was disgusting and couldn't stomach it - so it wasn't just me. She went and told a member of staff about the smell, and it transpired that the nappy bin was full to bursting, the nappy bin being about 4ft high so this must have been a few days worth of nappies. A few of us left as we where sickened.My friend went home and phoned Environmental Health and they assured her they would look into it - which they did (we heard about the visit through mutual friends). As a believer in second chances, a few of us returned a couple of weeks later as the rest of the play centre is great for the little ones, just the cleanliness had let it down. They had notices on the wall to say they had been inspected and all the ball pits had been cleaned etc, and there was a noticeable difference.
Since then, I've been going regularly and had no other issues with the area, everything seems to be clean enough and not really much of a smell!
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning it is £2 per child, this is classed as Tots Time and the children have a chance to partake in some crafts and have a snack (all included). The rest of the time it is £3.50 per child.It is open daily from 9:30am-5:30pm.
I find it too busy at weekends and tend to go during the week when its Tots Time - its not too busy.
I find the prices are very reasonable. Tea and Coffee is £1.00, which is by far the cheapest I've found. Children's drinks are 30p. They also offer cans and bottles, as well as other hot drinks such as Hot Chocolate.Food is also very reasonable, £2.20 for a hot children's meals, or a sandwich meal complete with fruitshoot and a snack. Beans on Toast is £1.30, and the portions are really big. Nothing is really over £2.20 so in my opinion you cannot complain about the prices! They offer panini's, toasties, nachos, cheesy chips and jacket potatoes.
The food comes quite quickly, is very tasty, its always warm and fresh, and in big portions.
As previously mentioned, they have Tots Time, 3 times a week. This is where they use the Craft Cottage, open the doors and inside are 2 long wooden tables. One has snacks on, usually toast, carrots and raisins which are free of charge. On the other is a craft. In the past we have made a tiger using an orange plate and black cut outs, fireworks and glitter (crayons on black paper), spiders webs, and making autumn pictures using leaves.There is a always a member of staff helping and explaining what we have to do, and sometimes they will read a story.
My son always really enjoys this and I have now ran out of fridge magnets to stick his many crafts on!
I have never seen more than 2 members of staff on at one time. They are always young girls (late teens/early 20s). They seem nice enough but not very chatty, not to me or the children. They don't seem to do much work! However they are pleasant and willing to help if needed.
Since the incident with the nappy bin, the toilet facilities are clean and functional. On my last visit there was a broken lock on one of the cubicles but I mentioned this to a staff member so i shall see what happens! They provide wipes and nappy bags in the baby change, and have separate toilets for male and female. There are potties and toilet seats for toddlers if needed.There are around 15 highchairs available, and a travel cot.
If we didn't go here we wouldn't be able to see some of our friends and my son does enjoy it here because of all the toy cars and craft time, and these are the only reasons why we still go - if I find another soft play that has playhouses and cars, or smell that smell again, we would not go back to Cheeky Monkeys! We can easily spend 3/4 hours here because he has so much fun.The whole issue with the cleanliness really changed my mind about this place, thats why I cannot give it 5 stars. I would recommend this to friends, but not without telling them about problems I've had in the past.
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