Summer at The Red Dragon Centre, Cardiff Bay – family-friendly dining at Roots, superhero events plus £5 films at Odeon

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We headed to The Red Dragon Centre in Cardiff Bay over the weekend for a family day out, including a film at the Odeon multiplex and food at Roots, an innovative café aimed at families which opened just last month.

Roots was already busy with families enjoying breakfast and brunch when we arrived at The Red Dragon Centre at 10am, and while the adults sat and relaxed, children of all ages were free to play with the wide selection of toys and games at the play area at the front of the café. Here you’ll find everything from giant board games and a pretend kitchen to musical toys and activity tables for toddlers.

Roots has been created by Kat Cotterrall, a qualified midwife and the founder of Pathway to Parenthood, a maternity hub providing bespoke pregnancy, birth and postnatal education.

Alongside a daytime and evening menu of food and drink (including a licensed bar), Roots has a bespoke pre and post-natal yoga studio. The studio is also hosting lots of other classes for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, workshops for parents, and can be hired for children’s birthday parties, Christenings etc. Indeed, on the day of our visit a first birthday party was taking place.

Roots at The Red Dragon Centre

I had wondered whether my children would be too old for the play area now that they are aged 13, 11 and 9, but they headed straight for the giant Connect 4 and Snakes and Ladders. My husband and I actually managed to sit and chat, before getting challenged to a game or two ourselves.

The menu at Roots has been created by professional chef Jack Jones, who has worked in a number of high-profile Cardiff restaurants, and includes a brunch menu served until 5pm, including cooked breakfasts, waffles and pancakes, and filled jacket potatoes, baguettes, sandwiches and toasties, as well as an evening menu offering starters, mains and desserts from 5pm. Here you’ll find more substantial meals including steak, burgers, pasta and salad, with dietary requirements catered for.

Roots – which is open daily from Tuesday to Thursday 7.30am-7pm, Friday and Saturday 7.30am-11.30pm and Sundays 8.30am-4.30pm – has various special offers running throughout the week too. From Tuesday to Friday, from 12pm-6pm, you can take advantage of special deals on two and three course menus, plus there’s also a children’s menu priced £6.50 per meal, including chicken strips, fishfingers, eggs, or sausages, all served with chips, beans or peas, and pizza, as well as a children’s cooked breakfast. After school from Tuesday to Friday, 4pm-8pm, sees a two-for-one deal on children’s meals, making for a great after school treat. If you’re up and about early, you can also take advantage of the breakfast takeaway deal between 7.30am-11.30am which offers a breakfast bap, hot/cold drink plus sweet treat for £6.

As we were visiting in the day, we ordered from the brunch menu. My youngest son opted for the Belgian waffle while my other son had the buttermilk pancakes, both served with mixed fruit, maple syrup and yoghurt (£8). My daughter had a cheese baguette with salad (£6). I had avocado on sourdough toast served with mushroom, asparagus and chilli beans (£8.50) while my husband opted for the Welsh breakfast (£9.50). All food is cooked fresh on site and we were pleased with the good portion sizes. My children also opted for the milkshakes (chocolate for two of them, strawberries and white chocolate for the other, priced £4.50 each).

Even with my children being older now, I appreciated the relaxed atmosphere at Roots, where children could play whilst being supervised. With free parking for six hours at The Red Dragon Centre (see website for T&Cs), the cinema and bowling on site, plus easy access to Mermaid Quay and Cardiff Bay, it’s no wonder Roots is already proving popular with families and groups of mums meeting with babies and toddlers. Talking to Kat and Jack, they have exciting plans to offer family-friendly evening events and even children’s cookery classes. Follow Roots on Instagram or Facebook for all the details.

We also headed to the Odeon to watch the new Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny film (12A). We’ve watched the entire series as a family over the last few years and so were keen to see the latest installment.

The Red Dragon Centre Cardiff Odeon

We were lucky to be offered Premiere Plus seats as part of this collaboration, and enjoyed sitting in the luxury seats at the back, complete with drinks holders and mini tables in between seats.

However, it’s great to see that the Odeon Cardiff are offering a current deal where you can watch any film at any time for £5 per person (plus booking fee) when you book online at the Odeon Cardiff website, making cinema trips that little more affordable.

Red Dragon Centre Cardiff summer 2023

The film itself was great – the kind of fast-paced, action film we have come to know and love from the franchise. It begins in the Second World War with Harrison Ford undergoing some pretty effective digital de-aging to portray Indiana Jones in his heyday, battling Nazis including a thrilling chase sequence in on top of a train. It sets the scene for the rest of the film in which it’s 1969, the year of the moon landings, and Dr Henry Jones, an architecture lecturer is about to retire… but not before his goddaughter Helena (played by Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge) turns up in his life and he accidentally finds himself on one more dangerous mission to find an important ancient artefact while battling off the Nazi bad guys.

Alongside Indiana Jones, there are some great films coming up at the Odeon this summer, including Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (PG), and Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse (PG) which are both already out, Elemental (PG) on 7 July, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One (12A) on 10 July, Barbie (12A) on 21 July, Oppenheimer on 21 July, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem on 31 July, Haunted Mansion on 11 August and Blue Beetle on 18 August (age ratings to be confirmed for the last few films).

Walking around the centre, we also spotted the Superhero mirror wall where visitors can transform into superheroes, as part of the centre’s forthcoming Super Summer Hero Quest.

As well as the mirror installation, from 17 July, visitors can take part in a free and unique augmented reality trail. Use your super skills to track down six unique artifacts using the floor markers in the centre, scan them on the free app (coming soon) and unlock some of your favourite heroes – scale them up or down on your screen to bring them into your world. There’s also the chance to win a day out at The Red Dragon Centre by uploading your selfie with one of the characters, and tagging The Red Dragon Centre with the hashtag #RDCsuperherosummer.

Red Dragon Centre Superheroes wall

ExperiMENTAL Science will also be hosting superhero science workshops on Sundays 6, 13 and 20 August, priced at £10 per child and suitable for ages 4+. These hands-on sessions will see participants explore the science behind six different heroes to discover what really drives their magic powers. Tickets are limited to 40 per session and are selling fast. Book online here.

Bank Holiday Monday 28 will see a Superhero Takeover from 12 noon. Get up close to life-size superhero statues, meet Iron Man and Spiderman tributes, view rare edition comics, and win prizes fit for a superhero. More information on The Red Dragon Centre website.

Red Dragon Centre Giant deckchair

For more information about The Red Dragon Centre and the latest venue openings, visit the website or follow the Centre on Facebook or Instagram.

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