I count myself lucky to be born in Australia's coffee capital of Melbourne and love to write about what's on in my home town.
Published June 19th 2012
The wet winter months have set in and the kids are housebound for days on end. To stave off boredom-induced mischief, you've done the rounds of local shopping centres, been to the cinema and visited Granny as many times as you (or she) can stand - what next?
How about an indoor play centre?
No, don't groan - for Little Creatures is not your typical, cavernous shell reverberating with the thud of Cosy Coupes playing demolition derby. After all, this is Balwyn.
Sitting alongside an elegant array of fashion retailers, beauty salons and restaurants within the bustling Balwyn Shopping Centre, Little Creatures could be mistaken for a modest cafe. From the foot path, all that can be seen is a neat little cluster of tables and chairs occupied by the local yummy mummies, who serenely sip their Grinders lattes and swap styling tips with barely a flutter of their coiffed eyelashes.
Step inside, and you'll discover that this cosy play space is a guaranteed boredom buster for children aged from 12 months to 5 years. The layout is reminiscent of a small home, with partitioned spaces for each 'room' or activity including: a supermarket, complete with cash register; a Bob the Builder workshop full of play tools, benches and - naturally - yellow safety/hard hats; a dressing room, full of costumes and crazy accessories and a ride-on Wiggles Big Red Car.
If you are planning a visit, try to be there on a Monday morning around 10am, when a special children's entertainer attends the centre, hosting a 30-40 minute 'movement to music' class. Children who are in the centre at the time are not compelled to participate, but it is included in the entry fee ($9 for children aged 3 ). Besides, which kid doesn't love to clap along with the music and stomp their feet?
Whilst the littlies get their Wiggle on, you can sit back and enjoy a coffee, read the paper or simply watch the passing parade. Stay as long as you want, for the entry fee provides for unlimited play time, and when they run out of puff, sit them up to sample a treat from the row of tall, old-fashioned jars that line the counter, full of lovely homemade goodies.
Parking is available kerbside, but as Whitehorse Road can be busy at the best of times, and has clearway zones during peak hour, try the council car park located behind the building, which can be accessed via Balwyn Road, or simply jump on the No.109 Tram that stops right at the door.
This place is a joke! Thought it would be a real play centre, but it's just a room of old, tired toys that every kid has at home or childcare, with the further insult of charging EIGHT dollars!!! Play centers of comparable cleanliness and parent facilities charge much less than that and have legitimate play equipment (slides etc) for children. After all that, the person serving us was so incredibly rude, demanding I put my pram away despite my sleeping baby being inside of it.