Family Day Out Review: DJ’s Play Park, Hemel Hempstead
DJ's Play Park, Hemel Hempstead
Value For Money9.0/10
Variety Of Activities9.0/10
Things We Like
- Separate soft play areas by age
- Role-play street is a great addition
- Plenty of space and activities for kids to play
- 50p extra for Hot Drink Deal is good value
Things We Dislike
- Busy at peak times
- Extra cost for go-karts
What’s It All About?
DJ’s Play Park is the newest – and arguably best – indoor play centre in the Hertfordshire area. With three separate age-appropriate soft play areas, a role-play street, a football / basketball court, go-karts and a cafe, this place is way more than your typical soft play – definitely more soft play heaven than soft play hell!
What Do We Think?
Opened in August 2017, DJ’s Play Park has quickly become a frequent haunt of ours. With loads of space, a well designed layout and numerous things to keep the kids entertained, it’s a great addition to Jarman Square (formerly Jarman Park) and the local area which has been lacking something like this.
As the name suggests, DJ’s Play Park is actually part of the same company who own DJ’s Jungle Adventure in St Albans. It’s therefore fair to say that the owners know one or two things about indoor play centres – and that definitely shows. It would have been all too easy to turn DJ’s Play Park into another bog standard soft play, but they’ve pushed the boundaries and it’s paid off.
DJ’s Play Park is located next to Subway in the far right corner of Jarman Square. As you come into the car park on the left by Cineworld, it’s best to drive around the building and park near the exit so that you’re right next to DJ’s – your legs (and your kid’s legs) will thank me.
Reception is on the 1st floor of the unit, so you need to make your way up there via the stairs or a lift. Once paid, you navigate through the safety gates and into the huge space that is DJ’s Play Park. The layout is particularly well thought out, with plenty of seating in the middle and all play zones around the outside – this gives you a decent view of your kid no matter where you’re sat.
In terms of zones – going left to right – there’s an under 2’s soft play area, go karts (£1 extra), under 4’s soft play area, over 4’s soft play area, sports pitch and a role-play street. Each area is well equipped, well maintained and provides hours of fun due to the variety. Continuing around, there’s then three separate rooms for parties and private functions, Male, Female and Disabled toilets and the cafe serving a range of drinks and food.
Instead of talk you through every area, I’ll highlight some of our favourite bits. First, the over 4’s soft play area is the largest of the soft play zones and has a huge variety of equipment. In here, there’s plenty of things to run up, climb on, jump over, go through and slide down. Set over two levels, this includes three separate slides, monkey bars, a ball pit and a wrecking ball zip wire. The best thing though is the vacuum ball area – here, you feed balls into air suction tubes which fill up an overhead container which then opens to create a ball shower. Great fun.
The under 4’s soft play area is smaller, but still provides variety. Again, there’s a slide and different foam equipment to climb up, on, over and through. There’s also a cool ‘road area’ – on the second level, you’ll find a number of Little Tikes Cosy Coupes along with things like cones and traffic lights which is great fun for smaller kids.
Then there’s the role-play street. Here, kids are able to use their imagination to play with the various things on the street. This includes a fire engine, fire station, a construction zone, a vets, a school, a shop and a cafe – all of which come with relevant props like bricks, cuddly dogs, books, groceries and outfits. This is a great place to wind down (or recharge the batteries!) after exploring the soft play and gives kids the chance to interact with each other and also learn about different jobs in society.
There’s also a notable mention for the indoor sports pitch. This is an enclosed area with two football goals and two basketball nets, along with a number of footballs. This gives your kids the chance to practice their shooting, dribbling, kicking and throwing skills in a separate area. Again, this provides something different to do and a break from the soft play.
For the adults – assuming you’re not crawling on your hands and knees through soft play – there’s plenty of places to sit. This includes tables and chairs in the middle section, some sofas dotted around and some tall stools and tables near the role-play area. The coffee and food at the cafe is pretty reasonable. They have a kid’s box meal deal for around £4 which does the job, plus you can pay an extra 50p on entry to get a hot drink and squash as part of the Hot Drink Deal.
A couple of other things to note. (1) you can have themed parties at DJ’s Play Park, such as go-kart parties, make-a-soft-toy parties and laser tag parties, (2) DJ’s has also become a base for local activities – for instance, there’s regular classes such as Move With Peppa and they even have SEN sessions, (3) there are lockers available, and (4) there are baby changing facilities in the Men’s, Women’s and Disabled Toilets, (5) there is currently no annual membership which is a shame and will hopefully be implemented in the future.
All in all, DJ’s Play Park has fast become one of our favourite places to go when looking for something to do for a few hours – particularly in bad weather. With the role-play area, sports pitch and go-karts available, it makes the place much more than a typical soft play. Throw in the variety of things to do in the soft play and you have somewhere capable of tiring even the most energetic of children!
What Does It Look Like?
What Do I Need To Know?
Address: Jarman Square, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 4JS
Opening Times: 7 days per week, 10am-6pm
Price: Sliding scale from £3 for under 1’s up to £9 for over 6’s.
Toilets: Yes. Male, Female and Disabled toilets all with baby changing facilities.
Cafe / Restaurant: Yes. Cafe inside serving drinks, snacks and meals, plus multiple restaurants nearby in the leisure complex.
Parking: Yes. One large, free car park.
Public Transport: Hemel Hempstead Train Station 2.1 miles away.
Duration: 1 to 3 hours.
Age Range: Babies and Toddlers (0-3), Young Children (4-8).
Have you visited before? What do you and the kids think? Let us know in the comments!
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