If you’re a parent and not a fan of soft play, well… you better get firmly acquainted because you’re gonna be here a while! To be honest, I quite like soft play. It’s somewhere for Joshua to run wild, use up some energy and meet some new friends.
Having visited almost all the soft plays in Lowestoft over the past 3 years, I thought I would share our favourites (and why).
Waterlane Leisure Centre
Unless you visit Waterlane Leisure Centre regularly, you may not be aware that there is a soft play there. Being a great size, the play area has a baby and toddler section to allow smaller babies to play quietly away from the stomping of older children. In the baby’s section, there is a ball bit and a small area with mirrors, foam shapes, where they can safely crawl. I remember taking Joshua when he was around 10 months old and he loved it! So simple, but we easily spent an hour there even back then.
For toddlers and older children, they have a bigger section which is spread across 3 levels. Including a double slide, ball pit and tunnel slide. As soon as Joshua was able to run about, he was wanting to be up there with the bigger kids… and he was!
One of Joshua’s favourite things is soft play, so we practically live there on weekends. We always give him the choice of which one to go to and he picks Waterlane, every single time without fail.
Adventure Island Play Park
An obvious one to feature is Adventure Island Play Park, which is one of the biggest soft play areas in Lowestoft. Adventure Island Play Park is housed in a big warehouse which has lots of sections for a wide range of ages. For families with new-borns, there is an area with bouncy chairs and for up to two years old there is a space with a small ball pit and slide.
Then there is a much larger section with a triple slide, tunnel slide and a soft play that is spread across many levels and is very much like a maze when climbing through – you can go in several different routes and one way attaches onto another level. There’s even a ‘hidden’ bouncy castle to find too!
For children who like discos, there is even a dark disco room where Joshua loves to dance around and pull funny faces in the circus mirrors.
Although Joshua will always pick Waterlane Leisure Centre if given the choice, he will happily spend much more time at Adventure Island Play Park. We tend to go during peak times, where you get restricted to two hours, but it’s never long enough! We have to pull him away every time.
A Parents Perspective
For us, there are pros and cons to both of the soft plays. While Adventure Island has much more for the little ones to explore, Waterlane is by far easier for keeping an eye on them. There have been times in the past where Joshua has got stuck or was upset in one area and it was by chance that we happened to see. Whereas at Waterlane Leisure Centre, we can hear Joshua shout us from the café and can even see him.
Because of how big Adventure Island Play Park is, it took me a long time to like the idea of letting him go up by himself. Because if something happened or he got upset, he’s not the type of child who would come and find us – he would very much cry and call for us, which we would never hear.
But Adventure Island is much more of a quality time type of place, as we have had many family trips there with the whole family. While Joshua is up having fun, we’re eating lunch and even take turns in going up too!
For hosting birthday parties, it completely depends on what you want. Waterlane Leisure Centre allows you to decorate the area, bring in balloons and even hire out the entire soft play for exclusively for your party. Adventure Island Play Park is always very busy, especially at parties as they host several at the same time.