It was Violet’s 4th Birthday this week and we decided that we wanted to go out for the day for it, but not to the usual soft play, somewhere a bit different- The Centre for Life.
January birthdays are difficult with them being straight after Christmas, money can be a bit tight and quite a few places are still closed for the season end. So I took to my Facebook page to ask for suggestions and the main one mentioned was The Centre for Life. I was a bit worried my two would be a bit young as I remember going for school trips when I was in school, and couldn’t remember there being much for little one’s- although I wasn’t particularly interested in toddler areas at that time I guess!
After a bit of research and further questioning of my fellow parentals online, we decided to head over for Violet’s Birthday.
I was surprised to see the Ice Skating was still on when we arrived (17th January) but we rushed past that bit- I didn’t really fancy spending an hour attempting to teach Violet how to ice skate whilst she probably had an epic meltdown! Although this is an idea for future birthday’s as she grows. We hadn’t been aware before our visit but children 4 years and under are free so we just had us two adults to pay for which was £26 total.
From the reception we headed straight into the ‘Curiosity Zone’. Both kids were hyped up and ran straight over to see what they could do. There were loads of different stations they could explore and lot’s of buttons to press which is a sure winner for toddlers. Billy went off with his Dad to a station which caught his eye- building towers and smashing them down most probably- and Violet was taken by one which blew scraps of cloth high into the air, which she then attempted to catch. If you follow my Instagram stories you might have seen the little video of that one.
After a good time in the ‘Curiosity Zone’ we headed to the cafe as it was already around lunchtime by the time we arrived. (Lunchtime for us folk who are up having breakfast at 7am every morning that is!) As it was a Wednesday during term time, aka very quiet, the Life Cafe was closed, however the Times Square Cafe was open.
This one is situated at the front of the centre and can actually be accessed by anyone, not just customers who have paid to visit the centre. We were quite surprised to find that it offered a really good selection of hot and cold meals, think breakfasts, sandwiches and paninis, and the hot drinks were Starbucks! We grabbed the little ones a kids pack each and Daddy Hermit and me opted for cheese burgers, chips and beans. Everything was really reasonably priced, probably around £20 for the whole thing which included two Starbucks Macchiato’s. The kids packs included a sandwich, dinosaur cheese, fruit pack and a drink each- really good value for money.
We actually had to exit the Centre for Life area to get to the cafe as it’s through the gift shop, but when purchasing our tickets at reception we were given stamps on our hands which means you can go in and out as many times as you like on the day. They were pretty stubborn to remove too so you don’t need to worry about them washing off during the day.
Once we’d eaten we walked back into the Centre and headed to the ‘Brain Area’. This is really interesting but we didn’t get to stay long as apart from Violet finding a phone which ‘played songs in her ear’, our two weren’t interested. We took this as an opportunity to head up to the ‘Young Explorers Zone’ to let them burn off some of the energy they’d gained from the food they’d just consumed.
This area is amazing! As soon as we walked up to it the kids went wild! There’s a craft area, colouring in, giant games, building blocks, soft play blocks, a sensory area, a book corner, a funky light wall, dressing up items, a tree house, and loads of areas which made up a role play centre! It was nice to just sit back and watch the kids as they played together and let their imaginations run wild- I would have happily let them stay here the full day and we’re actually considering an annual pass so we can go more often.
We must have spent a good hour playing before we decided to go and see the dinosaurs in the Dino Jaws exhibition they have on until the 15th April 2018. The kids were amazed and mesmerized watching the dinosaurs and listening to them roar! Apart from that there wasn’t much for them to do as they weren’t really bothered about what they ate etc but they did enjoy having a look around.
Once we’d finished with the dinosaurs we noticed that the Little Bear show in the Planetarium was about to start so we headed in and took a seat as this is aimed at children under 7. It was a lovely video about a little bear and the things he could find in the stars above and couldn’t have been a better way to end our visit as both kids were so calm and relaxed after watching the 10 minute story, they were both ready for home once it finished.
We were really surprised by how much we enjoyed our day out at the Centre for Life and how much there actually is for the little one’s. If you fancy a planning a visit for yourself, have a look at their website as they have different events on during the year.
Mother Hermit xx