I took Erynn to the park the other day and failed to realise that it was the last day of term. A fact that was brought home by around thirty yelling eleven year olds celebrating the end of term as only kids with six weeks of freedom stretching before them can do. As I watched them shouting and swarming across the playground, it took me back to that sensation, the liberation and joy of the summer. And as I was making that recollection I smiled as I realised that beyond the calls of freedom I could almost hear the collective sigh of parents as they faced the daunting task of filling those six weeks with activities to stave off the inevitable “I’m bored, there is nothing to do”.
So to kick off the summer holidays we took a trip to the newly opened Brimstage Maze, to see what this years incarnation has to offer families as a day out. The maze opened July15th, and is open every day until September 5th. It then opens each weekend until the end of September. Entry is Adult £9.50, Child £9.50 under 3’s free, and various concessions for other categories so please check the website. There is a 50p reduction for advanced bookings. All activities are free once you go in. Not cheap I know, but if you balance it against similar venues with cheaper or free entry, where you pay for activities once you are in there, you may find it works out about the same. I think it is down to the individual to decide if it works financially for their family. What I will say is for our entry fee I felt like we had a fun filled afternoon.
So what do you get for your entry fee? First their is a massive barn for indoor soft play with both big kid and toddler areas. Outside you can choose from inflatable jumping pillows (think bouncy castle without the walls), go carts, laser battle, water balloon slings, crazy golf , a sand pit with climbing apparatus, a barrel train ride, zip wires and soccer ball toss. There are plenty of picnic tables, should you wish to bring your own food, and a cafe in the soft play barn. We didn’t sample the food or the ice cream so sadly I can’t give an opinion on those things.
Then of course there is the maze, which is made of maize (clever). It is my understanding that each year there is a different shape to the maze, some of the previous designs can be viewed with a quick image search on the internet. This year the theme was dinosaurs. On entry you can pick up a work sheet to fill in for both the small and the large maze. In the large maze you are looking for an A-Z list of dinosaurs which are posted throughout the maze. In the smaller maze it is a 1-10 list of eggs and what colour they are, Neither maze has a “centre” as one often finds with traditional mazes, rather it is a journey to search for a list of items through out the maze. We did both mazes although we didn’t stay until we acquired all of the items. We just continued until Erynn was bored, and I have to say we had a lot of fun whilst we were in there. (A number is supplied to call should you need rescuing from the maze).
There were staff around to help and some of the activities were manned. However we were there on a week day prior to the end of term, so it may be that everything is manned on busier days. I think it would certainly be beneficial as some kind of regulation of how long visitors spend occupying activities would be needed on busty days. I would certainly like to go back to see how a busy day compares. We had free access to every activity, and there were enough staff to ask where golf clubs were etc so it worked very well the day we were there, Erynn ran from activity to activity and was fully entertained and we were able to join in for many of the things on offer.
A large variety of activities and most are adult and child friendly.
Pricey although on balance potentially works out the same overall as what you would pay at other venues with free entry and then have to pay for the activities.
Toilets although clean, feel a bit like festival toilets.