Rain. It just adds another layer of complexity to what is already tricky logistics. Raincoats, boots and umbrellas must be packed. Children must be shunted in and out of cars and two and a half year olds have a stubborn propensity to stand unmoving in downpours despite your pleas to “hurry up” and “c’mon”. Today with outdoor play impossible and options for playdates exhausted, I gave in and headed to the money sink formerly known as Fox Studios – The Entertainment Quarter. Our goal was to spend some quality time at Monkey Mania – a new indoor play centre in the old Lollipops space.
It really just Lollipops V2. The only differences are that the equipment has been rearranged, internet access, newspapers andtrash mags have been removed and more seating crammed in. Otherwise the whole experience is overpriced with the food and importantly the coffee remaining crap. Its an option for the desperate and as if to prove this we have been there twice in the past fortnight. Whilst I would much rather have been sipping a huge creamy cappucino in front of the latest episode of Mad Men (hey who wouldn’t?), the kids had an absolute ball. With jumping castles, huge slippery slides and ball shooters there’s nothing not to love from their perspective. P1 hooked up with another girl her age, alleviating her disappointment in not scoring a playdate.
Also there’s a plentiful supply of junk food which they know hen-pecked Mum will cave in and purchase as well as an icecream freezer strategically placed so that a two and a half year old can reach in and grab some good stuff.
As usual it was a Herculean effort to get them out of there this afternoon (involving a strawberry milkshake bribe). For me its about $50 that I dont get to spend on shoes but its really not all bad. The Farmers markets are held on Wednesday and I love them. With wonderful fresh produce and fab coffee with a mighty kick, they appeal to my snobbsih Eastern Suburbs taste. The hipster media types that congregate there make for entertaining people watching. Be warned though – negotiating your way around the market on a busy day with kids is the stuff of nightmares. Especially getting them past the cupcake stand.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the other activities available at EQ. There’s the plaster painting studio – a nice option for creative little girls. The drawbacks are that it is expensive – up to $30 for a statuette and if you go there too often you end up with a collection of tackily painted nik naks.
The Early Learning Centre has a play area to entice kids to come in. I always tell myself that we’ll just go in for a play and not buy anything. This is great in theory but I usually leave (with P2 kicking and screaming) with extra junk that we dont need.
If you’ve still got money left there’s Fly Motion, Strike Bowling Bar and the cinemas. If you’ve emptied your wallet make sure you get out of there within two hours otherwise you’ll have to pay for parking.