Amazonia–Play Place Review

This post was written in advance of our travel and has been scheduled to auto-post.

Amazonia opened at Great World City some time last year while I was in pregnancy hell, so we only recently discovered it (within the last six or so months).  We actually live within walking distance of Great World City, so it makes sense that we would be regulars, but it has quickly become my favorite go to indoor play space.

1-The giant play structure

Ellie is old enough to play on their three level play structure.  She LOVES it.  I have no idea what she does up in there, but it seems to be fun, as she always has a huge smile on her face.  She love the giant “wave slide” that descends from high above.  She loves the giant ball pit.

2-The dining area that overlooks the play area

As Ellie is old enough to go play on her own, I have deep gratitude for the dining area where I can kick back with Rhi, and nurse or snack or read while Ellie plays. The only thing that would make it better would be power points, so I could plug in my laptop and work while she plays (there are a few, but they’re few and far between).  Also, they have free wi-fi, which rocks.

3-The hours

We have strange hours for a family.  The girls and I usually sleep until somewhere between 10 and 11am, and the girls don’t go to bed until 10.  This is for two reasons; we are a family of night owls, and Ravi’s work schedule.  Having them go to bed late allows Ravi to (usually) get home at least in time for bedtime stories and hugs.  If they were on a more typical schedule (7 to 7, as many parenting guides tell me I should be enforcing–ugh) , they’d see their dad for 5 minutes as he ran out the door in the morning and not at all at night. This is also why Ellie is in school from 2-5:30pm.

Most play places in Singapore close on the early side…usually soon after E is out of school (if not before–I’m looking at you Royce).  Amazonia is open until 10pm daily.  We most often go around 7 or 8, and it is tame in those hours compared to the crush of the mornings (we’ve done before school once or twice) or weekends (which are a zoo), which makes it ideal for Ellie to play, for me to take Rhi into the baby/toddler area (which when Amazonia is busy is often a little too chaotic for a 7 month old who isn’t sitting solo yet), or for me to get work done while Ellie plays and Rhi relaxes or naps in her stroller.

Other plusses

The mini-golf course

There is a nine-hole glow in the dark mini golf course.  This past weekend, my friend Emily and I took A and Ellie back there.  While the rest of Amazonia was a cacophonous riot of birthday parties and families seeking refuge from the melt-your-earwax heat, the golf course was deserted.  Ellie and A hit the balls to their hearts content (or, more accurately, until Emily and I got bored).

The course is challenging, with moving parts.  If the girls were older and playing for real, I would have a challenge beating it too.  I liked the decorations–fish and pirates and dinosaurs (even if pirates and dinos aren’t necessarily a cohesive vision) and the kids really enjoyed it.

I did have a few minor issues with it.  They do not have different sized golf clubs for different heights (at home the mini golf course has about 4 different heights so that little kids, older kids and adults of various heights can be comfortable), so it’s perhaps more challenging for younger players than it needs to be.  There is no scorecard or suggested number of strokes per hole, so I would imagine the flow of the game could get bogged down if there were multiple families playing.

The under 3 baby area

As Rhi gets older, we’ve started entering the baby play area more and more.  It’s really best suited for walking children up to age 3, though.  There’s a slide and a mini ball pit, a piano that responds to being stepped on, some cushions, some larger blocks and assorted baby friendly toys.

My biggest issue with the baby area though is that far too often I see older kids (not even siblings of the babies/toddlers in there) playing roughly in there, which has made me hesitate to take Rhiannon in.  There are a lot of staff right there, and they do not address it, which is frustrating.  I’ve addressed children who shouldn’t be in there (or are playing very roughly) in there, but it would be better coming from the employees whose job it is to ensure the safety of all the kids.

Negatives

Food

There is a full restaurant-type menu.  The food is a bit pricey for the quality. None of it is awful, but none of it is all that good either.

The pizzas are made with a rice flour based crust, which no one I’ve talked to has liked.  The bbq chicken sandwich is edible, but that’s about it.  The fries are pretty good, but the staff is often stingy about giving me bbq sauce instead of ketchup to dip my fries into (and I’ve offered to pay for it).

The desserts tend to look more appetizing than they taste.

When it comes to food, my suggestion would be to hit McDonald’s before or after instead.  Cheaper, yummier food just two floor away.

Price

The most common complaint I’ve heard is that it’s very expensive.  Personally I find it worth the price a few times a month (which is why we’re members–to bring down the price, given that we’re there often enough), but I think it is valid.  Kids under a year are free.  Kids 1-3 are $22 for a 2 hour block.  Kids 3-12 are $33 for a 2 hour block.  If you stay less than two hours, you still have to pay that minimum.  But once you have two kids that are over a year, it gets very expensive very fast (as members, we’ll be paying close to $40 for a two hour playtime–and would pay more if we weren’t, which will definitely affect whether we renew or just find a cheaper play area).  Price structure can be found here.  I’d really like to see a less confusing, higher incentive pricing structure for multi-kid families, as I do think they’ll lose a great deal of business as families have multiple kids.

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