I am a passionate traveller, foodie and explorer mum and love discovering new hot-spots, family-friendly cafes and hidden gems.
Published December 7th 2019
Indoor kids' playground with the best ball pool ever
If I could give the award for the best ball pit ever, the prestigious accolade has to go to Planet Mino. It's worthwhile visiting this amazing play centre, even if it means turning it into a day trip. There is so much to do here, that I promise, your kids will not want to leave.
Planet Mino, in Chatswood, is what every parent's play centre dream is made of. There is not a gaudy, grimy piece of equipment in sight. Instead, it's all soft pastels, wood and textiles and spotlessly clean and organised. The genius crew behind this centre of fun have really thought about everything - it's completely kid-safe, with the perfect ratio of challenges, imaginative play, energy-busters and creative stimulation.
Ball Pool Ocean Paradise
My kids eyes seriously stretched into saucers when they first spied the mega-awesome sea of balls. None of us had ever seen anything quite like it. They couldn't wait to hop in and have a 'swim' amongst the grey, blue and silver balls.
There are four big slippery-dips that lead into the balls. Plus there's a fun ramp which the littlies loved. My kids really enjoyed the giant interactive wall, tossing balls at the digital characters to earn points. There are also technicolour spots on the floor that change colour when stepped on.
Towards the back of the ball pit is an extensive double story white structure, concealing all sorts of fun equipment - swings, barrels, steps and cushiony obstacles. There are a number of hidey holes, secret chambers and transparent floor panels so the kids can watch the ball action below.
Next to the ball pool sea, there is another zone with in-built trampolines, a climbing net structure and beehive 'tyre' swings. There's also a large grey climbing wall with an integrated slide into a pit of pink soft cubes. This one is for the kids over 5 years and my lot enjoyed the challenge.
On the upper level, there is a massive white net zone with rope swings and shaped stepping blocks. This then links up to the twisty metal slide, which has a see-through viewing panel so you can watch the kids zipping by. I had a few go's on the spiral slippery-dip too and it was heaps of fun.
The kitchen and market is huge with lots of different toy appliances for the kids to play with - a fridge, stove, sink, mixers, toasters, kettles as well as heaps of utensils. There is also an extensive food market with lots of toy food on offer, as well as a spot for the cashier to take money. The only suggestion I have is to provide more trolleys and baskets as these were in hot demand.
The gorgeous party room and kid-friendly bathrooms are also downstairs.
Planet Mino Cafe
Planet Mino has a strict no outside food policy so good thing there's a cafe with delicious food on offer. The menu offers a good variety for both kids and grown-ups and my two thoroughly enjoyed their nuggets and chips ($12). There are also toasties, and a burger and pasta option for kids and salads and burgers for adults.
The entry fee isn't cheap, but you do get so much more than just your average run-of-the-mill play centre. Play passes on the weekdays start from $10 unlimited for under one year ; $11 per hour or $35 unlimited for 1 - 2 years and $13 an hour or $39 unlimited for 3 years & older . Rates are more expensive on weekends and school holidays - $15 unlimited for under one year ; $13 per hour or $45 unlimited for 1 - 2 years and $15 an hour or $49 unlimited for 3 years & older.
You would struggle to get your child out of the play centre before 2 hours and even then they'll be begging you to stay, so for me, the unlimited option is the best value as there really is so much to do. Obviously, if you have two or more kids, it's an expensive day out so you may need to put a limit on play time or else visit only for a special occasion.
One adult entry is included per child pass - additional adults are charged at $5 an hour or $10 unlimited.
My only suggestion of improvement is that the Planet Mino team take a closer look at their fee structure and tweak it so it's more family-friendly and especially more attractive for families with more kids. Perhaps include food credit as part of the fee or else make the overall fee structure cheaper.
Plus (very important) all kids need to wear anti-slip socks and grown-ups need to wear regular socks. No socks, no entry (although they can be purchased at the front desk).
All in all, Planet Mino is the best play centre I have been to in Sydney - it really ticks almost all the boxes. We had an absolute ball and we will definitely be back.
Cost:Weekday: Under 12 months: $10 (free with sibling) 1 – 3 years: $11 per hour or $35 unlimited 3 years : $13 per hour or $39 unlimited Weekend: Under 12 months: $15 unlimited (free with sibling) 1 – 3 years: $13 per hour or $45; 3 years: $15 per hour