Bay Play Centre – The Review
11/4/19: This centre has now closed.
Indoor play centre. Three beautiful, almost melodic, words that are the source of much happiness when mentioned to any exhausted parent or restless child. And it’s not hard to see why. Peek into one at any given time and you are sure to be met with a clash of two worlds blending harmoniously together. The loud happy squeals and laughing bodies of entertained and active children ring the outside and, seated at the centre of this amphitheatre of chaos, like the eye of a storm, is a calm spread of tables inhabited by relaxed parents.
As a mum of three small children I have been to my fair share of play centres. As a new mum I nestled within their laden arms with other sleep-deprived new-parent friends, sipping my coffee and catching up with those whose new bubs also had older siblings. Then, as my family grew they became an indoor playground for energetic little ones on days when the rain fell fast or the air-con was a welcome respite from the brutal summer sun. Still, before long you get the feeling that once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all and the novelty of the play centre starts to wane. In fact, as my eldest nears her first year at school the truth is the love affair had died considerably for me…or at least it had until I was asked to review the new Bay Play centre at Cleveland.
Bay Play centre at Redlands is the creation of mother / daughter team Belinda Hayes and Jillian Rowe who have been involved in the Bayside community for over 30 years. They built the centre around the moto “Play safe, Eat Well, Laugh Loud” and this philosophy echoes through every facet of it. The reasons why to me this centre stands out above all others in Brisbane are highlighted below.
As a mum of three children varying in age from 3 months to 5 years one of the things that I loved most about this centre was the variety of play areas and the obvious detailed consideration that went into its design and creation. Its creators wanted it to be an experience for the whole family and in that they have succeeded.
Under 4 Toddler Area
The Great Barrier Reef-themed under 4’s area caters for all your soft play needs and comes complete with a small jumping castle, ball pit, soft play area and climbing frame structure. The space is generous, spaced out and separated from the older kids play areas. Miss 3 loved the novelty of the jumping castle and was quite often found buried happily beneath the balls in the pit.
The Daintree Climbing Maze
As with most play centres Bay Play features a large climbing frame at its centre but unlike others it is built for family fun and with all types in mind. Spanning over three levels the frame was designed with easy-to-navigate and wide passages to encourage parents to venture throughout its maze-like above-ground walkways too. It has three different slides (speed slide, curved slide and inflatable slide) and was designed to be suitable for wheelchairs to enter and access the ball cannons and ball drop areas too.
Both of my girls (aged 3 and 5) loved this section and spent a fair amount of time in the ball drop area and on the slides. Ok, I may have too.
Trampolining, Rock climbing and Interactive Fitness
To me, this is where Bay Play really set themselves aside from others. For families with older children a play centre may not always hold their interest but at Bay Play everything is thought of. The centre has two extra-large Vuly trampolines with attached basketball hoops and as expected these are very popular for ball-shooting, bouncing enthusiasts.
Neither of my daughter’s had attempted rock climbing before but before long this was their favourite part of the centre and once discovered was where they pretty much spent the rest of our time there. There are two rock climbing walls – “Mt Kosciusko” and the “Mini Traverse Wall”. Whilst the mini traverse wall is built with under 4’s and wheelchair-bound patrons in mind its Mt Kosciusko that drew my two. With multiple levels of difficulty people can test their skills and hopefully climb high enough to ring the victory bell but I’m pretty sure my girls just climbed high enough to be able to fall back into the foam pit below – even I wanted to try it for that!
Another way to help them use up some of that excess energy is on the Interactive Fitness Machines. Whether you are young or old, wheelchair bound or hearing impaired you will love this machine. Kids can have fun competing with each other to see who can score the highest or – like my girls – just have a great time hitting the machines with their foam weapons and delighting as it lights up and sounds with each blow.
This is an extra attraction to the Bay Play centre and is available to participate in at an additional cost on weekends, public holidays and every day during school holidays. These arachnid robots are remote-controlled and can walk, reverse, climb, take aim and even shoot! My girls loved this though it was more suited to my 5 year old daughter as she had a better understanding of how to operate and play with them. For $5 you can get a 20 minute practice session or just go straight to the competition.
Another inspiring aspect of the Bay Play philosophy and what helps set it aside from others is its dedication to healthy nutrition. You won’t find anything fried or fatty on the menu and as kids often “eat with their eyes” they have created a range of colourful, fun food options for little ones to enjoy. I was very impressed with the kids menu here and the kids were just as excited to eat their pancake animal and caterpillar ham and cheese sandwich as they were to play. The attention to detail in the presentation was a huge hit as you can see from the pics and had the kids eager to see what everyone else had ordered too. Their fun menu, whilst healthy and entertaining for kids, was initially light on adult options the first time we went but following feedback on their site the centre has introduced a treasure trove of healthy adult options that will get everyone’s mouths watering.
Parties & Disco Nights
Bay Play offer a “design your own style” to their birthday parties so you can create the party event that best suits your child at their centre. The one thing you can be guaranteed of is a safe, fun play environment with healthy food options provided in a cool space. What more could you want? If you are interested in booking a party at the centre you can look at their package deal on their website here.
The dedicated “Red Centre” area can also be booked out separately and will soon be host to Friday and Saturday tween-focussed disco nights. If you are interested in this then please speak with management as to possible future dates and times.
Bay Play – The Verdict
Overall we loved our visit to the Bay Play centre. A long list of small but impressive details are what make a visit there so enjoyable. The wide range of play options, the cleanliness and, of course, the healthy menu. Their attention to detail and their customers needs are also immediately obvious. They have an abundance of floor staff on hand to keep tables cleared and queries met and even a “lifeguard” chair where a staff member sits to oversee the play areas. At no time did I feel concerned for my children and it was good to have a second pair of eyes on the bigger attractions. Family-numbered wristbands on arrival which are checked on departure are also the added security bonus for the centre.
I loved that Bay Play is spacious, light and airy with big windows to filter in sunlight to the cool, air-conditioned playground. The idea of a healthy menu is also appealing as this was the longest we have ever spent at any centre and it was good to know the food and drink on hand were good for them. Five hours and I had to drag the girls out as they were still busy exhausting all the wonderful play options.
The Brisbane Kids video review of Bay Play Cleveland gives you a great overview of all of the facilities –
- Do yourself a favour and “like” their Facebook page. The centre is extremely popular and to help keep numbers at a safe and enjoyable level management frequently update their site to say if they have reached capacity and at what time they should be able to let more people enter. Don’t be put off by this as by checking their updates you may be able to work out the best time to go and it also means you won’t be stuck in an overflowing, cramped environment – (hint: afternoons are usually quieter than first up in the morning!).
- As it’s a play centre don’t forget you need to bring a pair of socks for anyone who is wanting to play on the equipment. Don’t forget to bring the adults theirs too as no doubt when you are there you will wish you had!
Location, Opening Hours and Costs
Bay Play centre is located at 1A/33-39 Shore Street West in Cleveland. It is open everyday (except Christmas) from 9am- 5pm. On weekdays the cost is $9.50 for children over 12 months and on weekends $11.50. Adults are $3.50 but this comes with a free tea/coffee voucher.