I am a marketing and communications consultant and freelance writer. Living on the Gold Coast in Australia. Check out my website www.sarahsays.com.au or follow on Twitter @WENGoldCoast
Published April 12th 2015
Jump, Bounce, Climb, Swing and Slide
I have often found that, on a rainy day on the Gold Coast, apart from the mall, there is fairly little to do with toddlers, which is why it is great to find places like Smileez Playhouse and Cafe, in Parkwood. Of course, there is the issue that most of the Gold Coast heads to places like this on a rainy day, so they can be a little crowded.
It's a family-owned, indoor soft playhouse for kids from 0-11 years old. We went on a cloudy day and it was busy, but not too bad - my daughter certainly got to have a turn on everything, and played with every toy.
It is exactly as you would imagine an indoor playhouse to be - loads of soft play areas, slides, ropes, nets, bouncy castles, rides, ball parks, toys and games to play. It was $8.50 for my daughter, so it isn't cheap, but there are lots for the kids to enjoy, so you could stay for a couple of hours of fun, plus time for lunch or snacks in the cafe, and get your money's worth. It's also worth checking Groupon for deals if you're taking a group of kids, this may reduce the overall cost. We only stayed an hour for our first visit, as it was too much stimulation, for both her and me.
My daughter is 16 months old, and upon entering, her face was priceless - so many things to do and see, she couldn't quite take it all in. We arrived at around 10:30am on a week day, and it was already quite busy. Luckily they have a separate toddler section, which meant that she could happily explore the ball park, slide, swing, toys and games without any fear (mine not hers, she barely notices) of bigger kids knocking her.
I met a friend there who has twins; they had been there from about 9:15am and said it had been really quiet when they arrived, so it's possibly best to get there early and get a bit of quality time in before it starts to get busier. The toddler section is a really fun and safe area, with loads of toys and activities - so there is more than enough for everyone to do.
My daughter especially loved the ball park - her first time in one. In fact, for most of the time, she had it to herself. She couldn't get enough of all the toys and things to do in the toddler section, although that only contained her for a while, as of course she wanted to explore the bigger kids area too.
This was fine, but I did have to watch her (and other kids) much more closely than in the toddler section, and there were some things she couldn't go on. In a quiet moment, she did have a jump on the bouncy castle for the first time - what a feeling that must be - and just loved it.
They have separate rooms for private parties too: a princess, animal, and pirate room for meeting, eating and present-giving. I think any kid would just love a birthday party here - the parents not so much perhaps, as sometimes these places can be quite rowdy and exhausting. They should make an adult-only version of this place - although I suspect that may be much more rowdy and chaotic than the kids.
The fully licensed cafe offers snacks and meals for both kids and adults. As you may expect, it's mostly chips, burgers, pizza and nuggets, with a few healthy exceptions. My friend got a toasted sandwich for the twins, which looked good. Price range is probably standard on the Gold Coast, similar to surf club prices, so expect $8-12 for wedges, kids' meals and sandwiches. I bought my usual mocha and it was as good as any cafe.