Monkey Mania is an indoor play centre for kids at the Canberra Outlet Centre in Fyshwick, 9kms south east of the city. Due to its large size, it is a popular play centre for kids parties and for friends to meet up for a play in a safe and fun environment. My daughter and I have enjoyed Monkey Mania a handful of times now over the last year and every time we leave she asks when we will be going back again. With red cheeks and sweaty hair, kids leave with a combination of happiness and exhaustion after a fun hour or so playing at this extensive centre.
On our last visit for a friends party we were fortunate enough to arrive at opening time when it was empty - which is when I could take a few photos to add to this article.
Arriving at the centre, you pay your entry fee at Reception - see prices here. Adults pay $4.50 to get in and receive a coffee or drink ticket to redeem at the café inside. Kids are reminded to keep their socks on and not to bring in your own food to eat as there is a café on site (which is usually a surprise to most families, whose bags are mostly full of snacks). Just near the entry is an Under 5's soft play area with a pool gate and a variety of soft toys, ball pit, slide and equipment to play on.
At the back of the centre is where the older kids can go wild - and they do. A floor to ceiling netted play area houses a triple slide, single slide, swinging poles, ladders, hanging areas, climbing spots and ramps to run up and down. There is a spider web to climb and a cannon for kids to shoot foam balls at their friends. Kids can call down to their carers from the very top and they are completely safe in their rooftop play area. Underneath is a little flying fox to cling onto and different areas to explore.
If you come for a party there are party packages (see here) with themed rooms to hire out. When the party guests arrive they sit at reserved tables outside their party room and then the kids are called in from play at their allocated party time. With a range of party food to pick from, they sit down and consume their party food to hype them back up again before being released back into the playzone. Later they are called back in for cake and then continue to play at leisure while the room is getting set up for the next party. Taking a sneak peak in through the windows, there are a number of themed rooms to choose from including Candyland, Super Hero, Enchanted Fairy, Hot Air Balloon, Space and Under The Sea.
There are times when visiting an indoor play centre is the ideal way to spend a couple of hours with the kids. On Summer scorchers or Winter frosty mornings it can provide entertainment and exercise all in one visit. These centres aren't cheap, especially if you have more than one child, so keep an eye on local online deal websites for cheaper prices or multi ticket savings to make the experience more affordable.
At Monkey Mania in Fyshwick we have also discovered the importance of timing - turn up around midday on a weekend and the decibel levels will be over the top for most adults (although the kids love it!), however visit at opening time and you may even have the place to yourself.
Whenever you go, watch the kids have the time of their life - then actually ask to go to bed early that night!