Kidz Paradise in Carlisle is a large indoor play centre, centrally located for anyone who lives in the inner south-east.
The space is bright and open, with plenty of natural light and enormous Disney posters decorating the walls. There are two main play areas.
The main slide is enormous and not for anyone scared of heights
A relatively small space (less than 20%) is dedicated to the four and unders. Gated, but still open and airy, there is a small slide, puppet show, rocker, small inflatable bouncy castle, ball pit and quiet corner. It has few of the extra toys, ride-ons and other extras available in other centres but its simplicity might be part of its appeal.
The four years and under area
The rest of the centre (which accommodates children up to 14 years old) is an impressive mix of huge slides (one at least two storeys tall and recommended for five years and up), bouncy castles, ball pits, climbing frames, obstacle courses and nets.
Kids may not agree, but the absence of air cannons that shoot balls is a plus for adults, for whom the persistent noise can be irritating.
Part of the main area
There is a large seating area near the cafe. Although pleasant due to the wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, it is around the corner from the majority of the play centre, meaning that kids are not visible from most tables. Instead there are a few padded benches that face the play area, but these are not suitable for parents who want to sit with a hot cup of coffee or plate of food. The result is that many parents wind up standing, watching their kids in the play areas.
There is a tiny play pen for babies, in the corner near some couches. I use the term 'couches' advisedly, as they really seem to be just cushions on packing crates.
The play pen for babies and the 'couches'
The cafe sells an assortment of food, the usual sort of fun junk foods that kids love, although they also have a few healthier options, will make fresh sandwiches and a decent coffee.
In all, Kidz Paradise is a bit simpler than many of the other indoor play centres, with less of a focus on mechanical gimmickry and more on climbing and physical activity. It is full of natural light, and is clean and bright.
The party areas are available for kids parties
Prices are comparable to other centres, with adults and children one and under free, one to four year olds $10 and five to fourteen year olds $12. Play is unlimited and if you join the Kidz Club, every 5th visit is free.
During school term, every Tuesday from 10-12 is a special session dedicated to toddlers, with extra toys, a story time and special arts and crafts and play-do.
Kidz Paradise is open daily from 9.30am. It closes at 1.30pm on school days and 5.30pm on weekends and school holidays.