Monday, 5 September 2016

Mattel Play Liverpool Review

Last week we had some last minute half term fun with a trip to Liverpool, we headed down to Albert Docks and took a visit to Mattel Play. The venue only opened this year and is a fully interactive experience for any Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob The Builder or Fireman Sam fan.
Mattel Play is nestled in the corner of the Albert Docks and is open from 9.20am every day, the last entry to the attraction is 3.20pm. It is definitely best to pre-plan your visit and book a ticket, this will guarantee you enter on the day you want. You can purchase tickets via the ticket portal on the website, children over 1 are priced at £11 and adults £4, children under 1 are free of charge, they also offer a family deal of 2 adults and 2 children for £30.
Cafe Seating Area
Inside the doors, there is a shop selling all the merchandise you could possibly want from the large playsets right down to pocket money toys. They have a fab green screen area where you can have your pictures taken and mounted onto the background of your choice. I was really impressed with the prices, it is only £4 for a keyring/magnet and £6 for a photo in a wallet. This so much cheaper than in other attractions I have visited. The cafe is also well priced and they do a fab children's meal deal for less than £5 and a yummy slush for only £2. They have dish of the day, fresh ground coffee and a selection of adult sandwiches on offer. There are plenty of options for the whole family. 
Gift Shop
The facilities are great, they have a buggy park on the ground floor, toilets, disabled facilities and baby changing and they also have lockers for hire so you don't have to carry everything around with you. My impression of the attraction was great already and we hadn't even entered the play and interactive areas yet. Each character has its own area, you start with Fireman Sam, then head upstairs to Bob the builder and Thomas & Friends.
Mr C was beside himself when we entered he didn't know whether to run to for the engine or the boat first! Every single thing you can see can be touched and played with, nothing is out of bounds. Mr C loved being able to sit in Jupiter and drive just like Sam. He then jumped on the back of titan and used the jets to put out the fire. There is a little challenge for them in this room, naughty Norman Price has fired a rocket through the shop window and he is hiding, you need to find him! Mr C looked and looked and he couldn't find him, luckily for him, his Uncle David is an employee of Mattel Play and helped him out a bit! 
After a quick ride on the jet ski, a slide down the slide and a look round the fab shop he was ready to move onto the Fireman Sam area for a look around. This floor is fully accessible via a lift from reception if you can't do the stairs.
The first thing the boys jumped on was the sand diggers, it took a bit of mastering and they soon realised it was one handle to lift and the other handle to scoop. There is also a fab shell of a house that you build up using bricks and some plastic piping that you can link up. Mr C loved this bit, he loves a puzzle and had a go.
In the Bob area there is also a fab workshop, drawing areas, mega blocks building area and a full sized scoop to play in. I love how spacious the whole area is, it never felt crowded and there was plenty to keep the boys busy and enough for both their age groups.
There is also a fab screening area where they have Bob the Builder shows playing on the screen. There are also lots of comfy beans bags and cushions for the kids. It's a lovely space to take 5 in and have a  rest, it is also the area you go to for the shows and meet & greets. We were lucky enough to see Fireman Sam the day we visited.
The show was really interactive and Sam and the compare really try to get the adults and kids involved in the singing and dancing. During the meet and greet you are free to take your own pictures with Sam and he even popped down to the Firman Sam area for a play with the children there. There are a few showings a day and they announce them over the tannoy, so you will never miss out. The boy had lots of fun already and we still had Thomas to go and my brother informed me they had saved the best to last.
Mr D is a real puzzler and he loved the picture puzzles in the station office, walk through the office and you bump straight into Thomas and Rosie and a magnificent track. Your children can ride on the mini engines, Mr C loved being pushed around the track by his Uncle.
After spinning around the track until he felt sick Mr C wandered around the corner and discovered the AMAZING ball pit! It is huge and has Harold sat right in the middle of it, there is also a little foam block area. It's all pretty amazing and 5 year old Mr C thought it was the best thing in the whole world, even before we left he was asking when we could return!
For a parents perspective, I think it's great too, it's so much more than soft play, everything is interactive and the children are encouraged to touch, see and feel. I can't fault the staff, they had so much time for the children and were all pleasant and smiley, nothing seemed to much trouble. I also think the admission price is really good value and love that you can pre-book a slot for guaranteed entry. I think 2 hours is about right for a visit, we had a fab time and would thoroughly recommend a visit. You can see all the pictures from our Mattel Play visit in our Facebook Album.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
*We were allowed entry for free, all opinions expressed remain honest.

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