We went to Grass Hoppers in May with friends and seeing as though it was the second time we have been, and it is a stones throw from our house, I thought that I would do a review.
If you haven’t been to Tong Garden Centre for a few years, it has really changed for the better under the new owners and the fact that I am writing about a children’s play area amongst a garden centre says something about its turnaround.
Grass Hoppers itself pretty much a completely outdoor play area with a traditional playground, water/sand area, huge bouncing pillow, low level climbing frame with zip wire and toy houses/climb on cars. They were also extending it when we were there so as you can tell, whilst there is a lot to do, there will be more!!
The main problem is also the main strength of the place is its size and the number of activities that the little ones can go on. Given that I was with Heidi’s friends, I deliberately didn’t get involved and let her play with her friends, but that meant that it was difficult to keep the right amount of distance!
Obviously the range of toys speak for themselves, but given the fact that there is water and sand, I would recommend taking a change of clothes, as the children will gravitate towards there. However, when it is cold, it appears that they turn off the water – good move!!
The toilets are within the play area and are of good quality (even though they are in a portacabin!) and the baby change toilet is pretty much ideal, which is really good to see.
There is a small tuck shop at the entrance to the play area and also a restaurant within the garden centre which might come in handy as you will end up being there for much longer than you planned!!! They seem to be very keen for you not to eat food brought into the area, which is understandable.
Going back to the original comment about the size of the area, there doesn’t appear to be any controls stopping children from escaping back through the entrance and into the garden centre, so you do need to keep an eye on them and/or sit near the entrance.
As it is outside, be prepared for all weather as well. In our group, we had one of us in jumpers and one in shorts and a t-shirt so be prepared!!
All in all, it is a lovely venue with lots of good quality toys for the children to run about and get tired on, whilst being good value for money. Pretty much an ideal place to spend a morning!