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A swashbuckling adventure exploring the Lost Jungle and sailing the seven seas - Review of Castaway Play, Congleton, Cheshire.

A swashbuckling adventure exploring the Lost Jungle and sailing the seven seas – Review of Castaway Play, Congleton, Cheshire.

Looking for a unique day out in Cheshire? Why not bring your little adventurers to Castaway Play in Congleton? Castaway Play provides a unique indoor play experience, where your shipmates can get up to all sorts of swashbuckling adventures. Little pirates can enjoy sand and water play, before spotting ‘dry land ahead’ and venturing into the ‘Lost Jungle’.

On a rainy day in Cheshire, we decided to put Castaway Play to the test with a seven year old and two under three. Upon arrival we were blown away by how colourful and inviting Castaway is. The Murals are fantastic, helping to spark imaginations and really set the theme. The kids smiled ear to ear and ran off to get stuck in.

They were first attracted to ‘Gold Rush Creek’ where they ‘panned for gold’ throwing all sorts of animals like crabs into the water before using the spades to pour sand and water into pans.  Aprons are provided to help stop clothes from getting wet.

In ‘Imagination harbor’ we put on some hard hats and pretended to be mini builders. They loved placing foam bricks in the ‘cement mixer’ and older kids enjoyed trying to balance such items to create a range of buildings.

We then went shopping before mustering up some imaginary pirate grub in the large wooden kitchen. There was even a little table to have a ‘tea party’. Our little one thought it was an even better game to hide in the cupboard!

We loved the wooden adventure play area designed to look like a pirate ship. Complete with ropes, wavy slide, bell and a playhouse at the top with a steering wheel, our sailors enjoyed navigating their commandeered ‘ship’. The Clued In Kid adored playing up here. Its designed for more confident walkers/climbers but our almost three year old managed fine with a little support. There are also soft mats surrounding the structure….. just in case!

There is a lovely ‘beach’ providing a great sensory experience for our tiny humans, and of course the toddlers and older kids can use the equipment shown below to learn through play all about how sand behaves.

In the original area there is also a soft play section for the younger kids (though all are welcome to play here), a ball pit with air blowing out the top so the kids can enjoy trying to float balls above, and an inflatable area which our girl loved sliding down. There is also a great opportunity for a fantastic photo whereby it looks like a gigantic shark is coming out of the wall!

We then ventured into the ‘Lost Jungle’ where even I went ‘wow’, let alone the kids. Again, the area is bright and colourful with a number of activities to suit all tastes and support learning through play. All our crew reported that the giant treehouse and walkways (which had a number of wooden tambourines and a giant drum), was their favourite part of their visit.

There is a large, twisting slide designed to look like an Anaconda, and steps for those not wanting to slide. There is also an amazing VIP area, laid out for those who maybe want to have a party but don’t require the use of a party room. See party information later.

Underneath the treehouse there are a number of diggers in a little sand pit, with a musical room nearby.

The seven year old had a fantastic time on the climbing wall, and again the décor here really added to the excitement.

There is a quieter ‘Den’ area where the kids can dress up, play with some jungle animals, or simply have a little rest from all that fun and admire the aboriginal inspired artwork on the walls.

We went for a jump on the bouncy castle, played in the other soft play (great if you have babies as there is a soft play area in each half of the centre), and played peek a boo in the tunnel.

During the winter months there is an area filled with black sand and a number of dinosaurs and snakes. The kids loved this! In the warmer Summer months, the waterfall is turned on and this area becomes a mini paddling pool as shown below, complete with a water run.

Castaway Play serves freshly prepared snacks including paninis, sausage rolls, and pizza baguettes, alongside a selection of home made cakes and fresh fruit. Castaway serve a number of hot and cold beverages including iced coffees, speciality teas, milkshakes etc. Food is reasonably priced. For example, for little over £12 we purchased a Koala cake, oreo cake, iced Latte and strawberry milkshake. The shake was not too heavy and the coffee was nice and strong. We fully recommend the cake as it wasn’t too rich and was a lovely texture. There’s also some baby food available for purchase. The toddlers stole ours though because it was too yummy apparently. The café area is again bright and vibrant and in keeping with the theme. There’s a food warming station for little tikes and a choice of high chair… ideal for those following baby led weaning.

Health and safety has been well thought out with a small amount of chorine added to the water to disinfect, and all steps and low ceilings are clearly highlighted. Toilets were also clean, as was the play area itself.

One of the incredible things about Castaway Play which, in our eyes sets them apart from some other businesses, is that staff are passionate about becoming a fully inclusive play centre.  Due to their own personal experiences, management completely understands how to help enhance play experiences for children with additional needs. As a result, Castaway have launched their inclusive play promise to ensure that all visitors have access to an amazing multi sensory experience. There are many activities on the one level and there is a ramp to enable wheelchair users to play independently in ‘Imagination Harbour’.  New for 2020 is a space themed sensory room, disabled child change facilities, staff training in Makaton, and more additional needs sessions, all coming soon! For now, additional Needs sessions currently run on Mondays throughout school holidays and Bank Holiday during peak time (10am-1pm).  Numbers are limited to help prevent children feeling overwhelmed and if you are lucky, there may be a special guest visiting!

The cost of admission is £1 for kids under one year, £4.50 for those between one and two, and for those age three years and above play is £6.50. The price includes one adult, or additional adults are charged at £1 each.

Parties at Castaway Play last two hours and include printed invitations, a dedicated party host, unlimited juice, use of a themed party room, (one of which is a superheroes theme available from March), a choice of hot or cold banquet, and a complimentary return play voucher for the birthday child, all for £15 a head (up to ten children then £10 per additional child). Alternatively, you can enquire about exclusive use of Castaway Play. Below is an image of the VIP area located in the treehouse walkways. 

To conclude...

Staff have worked tirelessly to create what can only be described as a child’s paradise. The venue is bright and vibrant, with a large variety of engaging activities carefully selected to encourage imaginative play for different age groups. The price of admission and food is very reasonable for the experience you will receive. Attention to detail is second to none with even the toilets following the same theme. Our little pirates all reported that they loved their visit. So, for a great day out in Cheshire, why not embark on a swashbuckling adventure? We doubt you will be disappointed.

Hints and tips:

*Play area suitable up until pre teens.

*Take a spare set of clothes for water play.

*Our members have said it can get a little on the chilly side first thing so wear layers that can be removed when it warms up.

*Arrive early or late afternoon as Castaway Play is a very popular day out in Cheshire and during peak times, have to operate a one in, one out policy. This can lead to queues. Play is capped at two hours during peak periods. 

* Due to it getting busy during school holidays and weekends, some of our members have said that it can be tricky to keep an eye on two kids at once so it may be an idea to take an additional adult. It worked well with us today (two mummies and three kids).

*There is some area to store prams but given it can get busy so it may be easier to leave these in the car.

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Additional terms and conditions...

*Although we were invited in exchange for a review, we took another family with us and so we are confident that our review is accurate and unbiased. 

*However, since this review is based on our own experiences, we can not guarantee that your experience will be the same. 

*Images are subject to copyright either via Clued in with kids or Castaway Play and so please seek our permission before using such images. 

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