Whether you're a local or a visitor, we all have to agree Mandurah has some fabulous natural attractions – sparkling waterways, pristine beaches, dolphins. But many parents have those days when you just want to stay indoors – it may be 38 degrees or bucketing down with rain. Perhaps you're just sick of plastering sunscreen and hats onto riotous children.
This where indoor play-centres come into their own. Chipmunks in Mandurah is air-conditioned, clean and best of all: indoors. Instead of 'no hat no play' the rule is 'no socks no play' – and children up to 11 can have untimed play all day in the two enormous play areas.
The smaller of the two – still the height and length of an industrial warehouse – hosts children up to the age of five. It has slides, tubes, tunnels and climbing frames that go up to the ceiling. It also has a ball pit and an enclosed trampoline, and some funky little spinners reminiscent of the tea-cup ride at the Show.
The entire area is gated, and all surfaces are either mesh, padded or soft-play.
In the next room is the older kids area – although children from the age of three can join in. Almost twice the size, this castle themed area spinners, obstacle courses, rope nets, an enormous tri-track slide perfect for racing, and hugely popular with my children – air cannons which you use to shoot coloured plastic balls. In fact there is an entire area dedicated to shooting, catching, dumping, collecting and otherwise mucking around with the balls. Set over three levels, this was the first time I had seen something like this in a play centre, and my kids thought it was awesome.
In the big kids area there is also a large inflatable slide, but this is outside of the main play arena.
There are plenty of table and chairs that run the length of both play areas, affording a good view of your children. There are even a few strategically placed tables which give you a decent view of both sides of the room. But the goal is that once the kids get inside, mum and dad can sit down at a table with a coffee or snack from the café, and never need to get up again.
With only one entry/exit point for both play arenas, it is easy to keep track on kids as they travel from one room to the next.
In general, Chipmunks is bright, clean, spacious and air-conditioned. There are toilets in both area, including a large baby change room and a unisex toilet for families. There are a number of party rooms, and Chipmunks offers three birthday party packages, all of which include entry, a party room, food, drinks and lollies, themed party gear and a special present for the birthday child. Chipmunks recently won the 'Best Party Provider' in the BuddyBuggy Awards.
There are a number of private party rooms available
The more comprehensive packages also offer party bags for the children, food platters for adults, an ice cream birthday cake with candles and even a visit from Charlie Chipmunk. Themes include pirate, princess, popstar, knight and of course Charlie Chipmunk theme.
There is a well equipped café that offers a large range of food, from drinks and snacks, to cakes and muffins, to full meals including nachos, burgers ($11.90) and pizza ($9.90-$12.90).
Although there are most definitely a number of kids favourites such as nuggets and chips ($7.50) and mini hot dog and chips ($7.50) the café also has a range of healthy and simple options your child would eat at home such as vegemite or honey sandwiches ($3.50) and toasted ham, cheese and tomato melts ($8.90) plus healthy options for adults like tomato and basil bruschetta ($8.90) and fresh gourmet salad ($9.90).
Chipmunks is open every day of the week from 9am to 5.30pm except Sundays when it is open from 10am to 4pm. All adults and babies under one are free (they have a dedicated padded area just for the smallest of babies), one and two year olds are $9.90 and children from three to eleven years are $12.90.
Entry for all children (1-11 years) on school days is $9.90.