Review – Scrambles Soft Play EICA:Ratho Edinburgh International Climbing Arena

ImageWhilst on our most recent trip up to Scotland we visited Scrambles Soft Play at EICA:Ratho, part of the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena.

Situated just 5 miles past Edinburgh airport on the West side of the City it is a large activity centre for all ages.

Today we visited the soft play centre.  Although fairly pricey at £4.90 for 1 hour and £5.90 for 90 minutes at over 18 months the actual soft play facility is better than some others we have visited.  I was however very disappointed to have to pay £1 for Little Miss A to go into the centre even though, at 2 months old, she slept the whole time!  I appreciate it is only £1 extra but feel this is a bit cheeky when the price for older children is quite expensive and it is unlikely that any child under 6 months is going to use the facilities, even though they have a baby section.  I almost woke Little Miss A up to get her moneys worth but decided not to be so cruel!

As it was very busy today we were not allowed to stay more than 1 hour and the time is well monitored by the workers.  It is very well restricted as to how many children are allowed in at any one time, which was refreshing as I can find soft play centres to be horrendously busy which is no fun for child, parent or staff!

There were plenty of seats and tables for us to sit at in view of the various play equipment so we were never far away from Little Mr A but could allow him to go off and play by himself without having to worry.  He went with his cousin J who is not quite 3 and he to was able to go off with Little Mr A to play with no worries.

Whilst there we had some lunch and I think this is where the centre stands out from others we have visited in the past.  Both myself and Big Mr A had a sandwich with crisps and a drink and for children they do a great lunch bucket where you can pick 5 different items for £3.95.  It was very reasonably priced and very tasty!

As for the play equipment itself it was very clean and really well laid out in the different age appropriate sections.  There was a baby play area, a toddler play area and then a separate play area for children aged 4-9 which was well separated from the younger children’s areas.  There was plenty to keep Little Mr A and J occupied for the full hour they were there including the usual soft play equipment and slides together with a mini climbing wall.  They had a great time chasing each other around!

Although it is a good place to take your older children I would say they really need to get rid of the charge for the under 6 month olds as I think that really if you have a young baby you would be able to find somewhere cheaper elsewhere that doesn’t charge for young babies.  This is the only thing that really lets the place down, other than the soft play centre being on the very ground floor which can only be accessed by a lift with a pram/pushchair and there is only one lift available.

When Little Mr A gets older it would be nice to take him back to have a go on the climbing walls it looked like good fun, however, I might have to get Big Mr A to take him as I don’t know whether my nerves could handle it!

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What’s wrong with pass the parcel?

What has happened to children’s birthday parties these days?

I remember my birthday parties being lots of fun without the need for expensive entertainment or going to a soft play centre.  We used to have a party at our house (OK I was lucky being a July baby we sometimes got to go out in the garden!), Mum and Dad would make a nice buffet with the usual suspects, sandwiches, sausage rolls, etc and Mum would MAKE a fantastic birthday cake.  We used to make our own entertainment either playing pass the parcel, musical statues or just running around/dancing.

my party

Little Mr A went to his first birthday party of the school year today.  It was at our local village hall and there was a magician.  Not just any magician, a finalist for child’s entertainer of the year!  He had real birds and a real rabbit.  He was a very good kid’s entertainer but he obviously cost a fair few quid.  For lunch all the kids had a lunchbox with whatever sandwich they’d pre-booked, crisps, sausage roll, yoghurt and a cake and they all got two drinks each.  There was then tea and coffee and a buffet for the parents!  The birthday cake was not just a supermarket bought one it had obviously been made by a professional cake maker.  No-one even got a slice of it!  They all got given posh cup cakes!  All the children got a party bag packed full with chocolates and little toys and they all had a balloon gun/flower made.

Little Mr A's 2nd birthday cake - OK not professional looking but I was proud of it!

Little Mr A’s 2nd birthday cake – OK not professional looking but I was proud of it!

Although it was a great party and the kids loved it I can’t help feeling it’s become a bit of a competition between parents of who can throw the best party.  I certainly don’t feel hard done by from the parties my parents used to give me, we always had a great time.

We have had a party at a soft play centre for Little Mr A one year but, as he was at nursery, we only invited around 10 friends, he certainly won’t be going this year with all his school friends!

Little Mr A's first birthday - I made the cake!

Little Mr A’s first birthday – I made the cake!

I would love to throw him a party at home like we used to have but if all the parents are staying are we supposed to entertain and feed them to?  Why can’t we leave our children at the party and collect them later?  I remember being taken to parties, left and then picked up.  I can’t remember my parents ever having to stay?  And, if the parents do stay the whole time, where are we supposed to put everyone?!

Little Mr A 3rd birthday

Little Mr A 3rd birthday

Oh well suppose we best get saving for Little Mr A’s birthday in August!