You can tell how much you enjoy a place when you rewrite about your experiences in double quick time, and that is the case with the Play Factor-e. However, it was all a bit of an accident as we headed off for Heidi’s birthday wanting to take in the Albert Dock in Liverpool. However, it took us 90 minutes to get to Birch Services because of a crash on the M60, and so a new plan was quickly hatched, which took us to the Play Factor-e, 2 minutes away from the Trafford Centre.
It is safe to say that the only research was a quick Google search on the M60 but the pictures looked impressive, and it really is!
The play centre looks brand new and as a result, it is clean and all the equipment is new and in good condition. The eye catching part is the huge climbing frame which is hard work to get to the top of, but all good fun nonetheless! It is quite easy to lose a child in there as there as loads of different levels/paths so you may need to follow or have a stern word beforehand!! There are the usual climbing frame bits and pieces for the little ones to tire themselves out on, including slides, rollers and all the rest…
The eye catching part is the huge slide going from top to bottom. Now, under 5’s cannot go on the slide, with due reason, and so if you have an over 5, I would test it out yourself first (purely for research obviously!) as it is blooming fast!! Apparently, it is the tallest standing indoor slide in Europe and perhaps a little too tall for me!!
For the little ones, there is a separate toddler play area which is lovely, but within it is the star of the show for us, which is an interactive video game. This entertained Heidi for about an hour and it seemed popular with all the toddlers as they kept on coming in and out during the visit! It is housed in a bland “house” in the toddler section, but there is a projector showing interactive games on the floor (for example, playing a piano, popping balloons) and as they cycle through every couple of minutes, they don’t get too bored. I have only seen it in the Science Museum in London (read about London here) and even then, it was just 1 game, so this is pretty special. I have uploaded a short video onto my “Leedsdad’ Facebook page dated 30/6/2016
In terms of food, we had a bagel and a small pizza, which were quite nice and reasonably priced. The portion wasn’t huge but you probably wouldn’t want to go on the play area on a heavy stomach! The variety of food and drinks was quite diverse as well, especially on the sweet side of things.
Also, as it is a new venue, the toilets are decent and child/baby friendly with stools to help the little ones to reach the sink and the baby change room having a toilet in there as well. The security on the toddler section is pretty good, meaning that toddlers can’t get in and out of their section. There is also an exit button on the exit of the centre, as well as someone on the desk as you leave, so that aspect is really good as well. Parking is also free and plentiful as well.
While it is probably a bit far for us Yorkshire folk to make the trip just to here, we did spend 2 1/2 hours in there (there are time restrictions during peak times) so it is clear that we had a good time, which meant for a very easy bedtime in the evening!! However, if you’re off to Manchester, the Trafford Centre or elsewhere within the Trafford Quays Leisure Village (for example ski-ing!), it is certainly a place to add onto the itinerary!
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