Earlier this week we arrived at our pre-school gymnastics class to discover it had been cancelled at the last minute. I decided to take advantage of the bonus hour and get Toddler Boy I fitted for the new shoes he desperately needed. I knew he and his big brother Little Man O would be disappointed to miss out on their gymnastics, so I told them if we went to the nearby Mothercare on Newport Road, we could check out the new Jellybugs Happyland softplay. I’ve been curious to try it out for a while.
Situated at the back of the store, next to the new cafe, the softplay opened at the end of October and is for children aged seven and under.
All prices are for an hour-long session, with under twos costing £2.50 and three-to-seven year olds £3.50, with £1 discount for additional siblings. You pay at the entrance of the softplay itself and it’s attended by a member of staff – although you are responsible for your own children.
There are two play areas – a small baby zone with a ball pit, a few toys and plastic/foam shapes; plus a multi-level play area for the older children. This includes a double slide in gorgeous rainbow colours, obstacles to climb over and up and a larger ball pit. The structure is decorated with several characters from Happyland, Mothercare’s range of toy little people.
The softplay is lovely and clean, the bright colours are very attractive and my boys loved the Happyland characters. However, I have to say it’s quite expensive for what it is. The prices don’t really reflect the size of the structure, when you consider that Ants Inya Pants down the other end of Newport road will only cost you £3.50 per child for one to 12 year olds and £1 for under ones during off-peak hours, and it’s about 15 times the size with no restrictions on how long you can play for. If you have older children, and especially if you have more than one child, it works out rather expensive indeed.
I was also surprised to see no cheaper prices during the week – I think they’re missing a real trick here. With the close proximity to the new cafe, from where you can watch more independent children, plus parking right outside, this would be a perfect meeting place for groups of parent friends, and a great option for those with a toddler/newborn combination who find the bigger soft plays difficult to manage.
We visited on a Monday morning and it was lovely and quiet with only another four or five children the whole time we were there. However, I imagine it gets pretty busy at the weekends and school holidays. The maximum number of children allowed in the baby area is 12, with 24 children in the main structure. With associated adults too, I can only imagine what an overcrowded nightmare this would be if they were full to capacity. I’d say any more than half of the maximum numbers would be more than enough!
While the softplay was perfect for Little Man O, my 20-month-old third child, it wasn’t quite enough to entertain Little Man O, now four, for an hour. He had great fun for about 30 minutes, but I could tell he was getting frustrated that there wasn’t quite enough room for him to properly run around as he can usually do at softplay, so we left before our hour was up.
For toddlers and younger pre-schoolers during term-time though, Jellybugs Happyland play area is a good indoor play option. It isn’t the cheapest soft play in Cardiff, but it’s perfect if you want to combine it with a shopping trip to Mothercare or any of the other shops on Newport Road.
It’s worth following them on Facebook for details of special events, such as seasonal arts and crafts sessions, which are free for paying customers.
Have you been to Jellybugs Happyland soft play at Mothercare on Newport Road? What did you think? Let me know in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy
Looking for more things to do with little ones in and around Cardiff? Then please visit the Cardiff section of my blog.
Disclaimer: I paid for entry myself and Jellybugs Happyland did not know I would be reviewing them.