Family Day Out Review: The Kidzone Indoor Adventure Playground, Berkhamsted
The Kidzone Indoor Adventure Playground, Berkhamsted
Value For Money7.0/10
Variety Of Activities7.0/10
Things We Like
- Varied play equipment
- Good Under 4's soft play area
- Parent & Toddler sessions particularly good value
Things We Dislike
- Much of the equipment is worn
- Cleanliness doesn't seem to be a priorty
- Only baby-change facilities are in female toilets
- No security gates
- Restricted view from cafe seating
Please note that The Kidzone closed down in October 2018. It has since been completely refurbished and was opened in November 2018 under the DJ’s brand as DJ’s Play Zone. Please refer to this new review of DJ’s Play Zone.
What’s It All About?
Kidzone is a multi-level indoor adventure playground featuring a separate Under 4’s soft play area, a bouncy castle, a drop slide and a huge cargo net rope bridge – more than enough to entertain the kids, but unfortunately standards have slipped when it comes to cleanliness and maintenance.
What Do We Think?
Located on an industrial estate in a ‘glamorous’ location next to the tip, the Kidzone Indoor Adventure Playground provides a themed soft play featuring dinosaurs, space and underwater scenes. There’s a large, sectioned off Under 4’s area, then the rest of the play equipment is for kids who are over 4.
Despite going to Kidzone on and off for the best part of three years, we’re still in two minds as to whether we like it or not. It has some good parts and the kids have always enjoyed it, but unfortunately there are plenty of bad parts too. The general feeling is that there is potential, but unfortunately the place is outdated, has stopped caring and is way behind the competition, such as DJ’s Play Park.
Let’s start with the positive. Overall, there is a lot of play equipment to keep your kids entertained, regardless of their age. The Under 4’s (Toddler) area includes a pirate swing, a ball pool, a bouncy castle, ‘wrecking balls’, soft play shapes and baby activity bouncers. There’s also steps to climb up to the first level, then a slide to come back down. This area is ‘L’ shaped and we’ve always been impressed with how large it is, particularly when we’re been there with babies and small toddlers.
This variety of play equipment seen in the Under 4’s area is also replicated around the rest of the site. Designed for Over 4’s, there’s a dinosaur themed bouncy castle, a ball pool, cargo nets, foam rollers, a football goal, punching bags, plenty to climb up and multiple slides to go down, including a pretty terrifying looking drop slide. Set over three levels, you can find yourself within touching distance of the roof as you slowly make your way across a 15 foot cargo rope bridge.
This is the crux of our struggle with this place – the kids have always had fun when they’ve been, but as a parent, you see other things that aren’t so good. Firstly, the place is pretty dirty – I don’t know their cleaning schedule, but it’s obviously not working at the moment. On our most recent visit, we saw drink containers and crisp packets stuffed down the sides in the toddler area, months of dust in the cracks and the carpets on the upper levels were filthy.
Then there’s the actual play equipment. Not only does it feel dated and a bit of a mish-mash with no cohesive theme, but a lot of it has seen better days. Much of the material covering the soft play equipment is either cracked, ripped or been shoddily repaired with sewn-on patches. I totally get that places like this have wear and tear, but surely you’d maintain and properly repair it when required? At Kidzone though, it feels like they’ve just stopped caring and are happy to either leave it as is or stick on a bit of tape and call it fixed.
There’s also a couple of other points that I don’t feel are acceptable. For example, there are no security gates stopping your kid getting out. I believe the door has a high-up handle, but other than this, security and protection is none existence, particularly when compared to other places. Secondly, the only baby changing facilities are in the female toilets – as a dad, what are you supposed to do if your baby needs changing? Walk into the female toilets? Ask the staff to close the female toilets for you? This is not on in 2018.
It’s worthwhile mentioning that there’s also a space for parties inside, an outside picnic space and a cafe. As you’d expect, the cafe provides drinks, snacks and food, including meal deals. There’s not that many seats and tables in the cafe though and it’s positioned along the edge, meaning that you have very little visibility over where your kids are and what they’re up to.
Before I wrap up, let’s finish with a positive if you have a preschooler. During term times before 11am, they do a Parent and Toddler price of £4.75 which includes a squash (drink, not veg) and a biscuit. This is £1.50 cheaper than normal entry with an under 5, plus you get the drink and snack, which feels decent value. If you’re there on a Tuesday or Thursday, they also have a free music and movement class – we’ve not been to one of these, but it’s another added bonus for those with preschoolers.
So, all in all, this is a it of a mixed review. Our kids have always liked going to Kidzone – probably due to the variety of equipment to play with. However, from the parent’s perspective, there are many improvements that need to be implemented, particularly when it comes to maintenance and cleaning. Not the worst place to visit, but better soft play options are available in the area.
What Does It Look Like?
What Do I Need To Know?
Address: 1 Northbridge Rd, Berkhamsted HP4 1EH.
Opening Times: 7 days per week, 9.30am-6.30pm.
Price: Under 1’s free, 1 year old £4.75, under 5’s £6.25, 5+ £8.25.
Toilets: Yes. Male and female. Baby changing only in female toilets.
Cafe / Restaurant: Yes. Serving drinks, snacks, food and meal deals.
Parking: Free onsite car park, however is often busy due to other people on the industrial estate parking there.
Public Transport: Berkhamsted Train Station 1.2 miles away.
Duration: 1 to 3 hours.
Age Range: Babies and Toddlers (0-3), Young Children (4-8), Older Children (9-12).
Have you visited before? What do you and the kids think? Let us know in the comments!
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