Wednesday, May 8, 2013

eXplorerkid @ Downtown East

A. had been raving about the outing to eXplorerkid at Downtown East she had with her kindergarten about a month ago, and we finally found time to bring her and her sister down again.

Arriving in a taxi, mummy and daddy realized how much the entire place had changed since the last time we were here. The last time mummy came to Downtown East was when she was till in junior college! That sure was a long time ago. We had to count on A. to help us find the place.

Cartoon map of the playground showing the various play stations.

eXplorerkid is known for their indoor playgrounds made up of 'play stations', stand alone areas of thematic play that are merged together to make up the entire playground. Some of these 'play stations' require an additional fee while the rest are free of charge.

Ticketing counter.

Shoe racks and stroller park.

Lots for strollers (marked on floor) to keep strollers in a neat order

Pay per use locker facilities are provided.

Hand sanitization.

Thermal scanner aka 'fever detector'.

At the entrance, we bought our entry tickets, which came up to $20 per kid and $1 per adult for NTUC Card members. Otherwise, one has to pay $22 for each child and $2 for adult. Once inside the arena, the dim yellow lights with colourful walls indicated we have entered a new zone altogether - the kids' play zone! We changed into our socks and placed our footwear on the racks provided before scampering off to check out the play areas!

Once inside the gantry, A. began playing tour guide and enthusiastically introduced us to all the different play stations. As a parent, I was impressed by the vast amount of space that integrated all types of people under one roof: children moving at light-speed, tired children, hungry children, parents who prefer to chill out in the corner, toddlers, infants, and gatherings such as parties and celebrations in function rooms. When we were there, all the function rooms, or should we say, party rooms, were all fully occupied. The pretty birthday decorations and yummy looking food opened up A's eyes to the idea of having her own party here too. Well, we would see about it...

The MegaPlay is the main play frame in the playground. There's plenty to climb on, hide behind, hang from, and slide down in this play station, and it's absolutely free!

A mini 'flying-fox' inside the MegaPlay.

The speedy slide inside the MegaPlay.

Panaromic view of the crawl through areas of the MegaPlay.

The Ball O City cage costs $5.50 per half hour; children run around in an enclosed area fitted with cannons that shot the balls around.

Party rooms for booking.

One of the play stations that caught our eye was the Adventure Highlands. It appeared to be a 'high' elements obstacle course for children. After observing some children navigate the course, A. was keen to give it a try. A go at the circuit costs $5.50 and requires the participant to meet a minimum height. The child navigates under the watchful eyes of an instructor, and appears to be relatively safe.

Although not very high, the course proved to be both mentally and physically challenging for our five year old A.. Still, I was particularly proud of how she did not give up and stuck through the entire course.

The adventure begins!

Obstacle 1: Double line crossing.

Obstacle 2: zig-zag bridge.

Obstacle 3: sliding bridge - the child stands on a disk and drags herself across by pulling a rope.

Obstacle 4: criss-cross single line crossing.

Obstacle 5: tyre bridge.

Obstacle 6: net traverse.

Obstacle 7: assisted single line cross - crossing with a hanging buoy for support.

Obstacle 8: hanging plank bridge.

Obstacle 9: log bridge.

At the end of the challenge, I asked her how she felt. Her response was very positive, and she too was extremely satisfied that she overcame the challenges faced while on the course. Overall, I must say that it was indeed a confidence builder and a positive experience that has helped A. to appreciate physical play and understand her strengths and weaknesses better.

Another physically challenging station was the Cliff, a low rock wall with zones marked out for different difficulty levels. A. was excited to show me how well she could climb, but the more difficult levels required me to spot her now and then. The floor is a soft mattress so there were no hard landings in the event of a slip or fall.

While A. was busy showing daddy around, K. spent most of her time enjoying another innovative play pen with mummy known as the Lit Ballpool, which is a simple ball pool that is lit up in such a way that the coloured lights shine through the balls such that it appears to be a magical bubble land.

Lost in Bubbleland!

In the ball pool are also basketball hoops and there were many kids just lying around and having a go at tossing the bubbles through the hoops. Next to the ball pool was a cushy slide that the girls really had fun with. In fact, K. simply went up and down the slide for a cool ten minutes!

A. helped K. up the slide...

... and then pushed her down!

Making it look so therapeutic.

 There were many other attractions in this 'park', and some we didn't even get to try! One of the things that will make me come back is the availability of rest areas for parents to watch their kids from. You could literally sprawl yourself anywhere on the floor, find a cosy corner, slouch into a comfy cushion, or even lie around while taking care of your kids!

Toddler and infant roll-around mats spread out around various areas on the large floor space.

Special kiosks sold drinks and snacks.

Plenty of comfy areas for parents and their kids to lounge around.

An innovative run through with lights that change the colour of the dimly lit cave.

This booth provides children a variety of craft options for $5.

The children participating in the craft...

A large café area booked for a birthday party later.

Bouncing around on the springy leaves at the Cactus Garden.

We spent about two hours there before leaving for dinner at the nearby Downtown East fast food area. There were so many food options we actually spent a good amount of time trying to find that special restaurant to eat a good meal. It was an anti-climax when we settled for fastfood in the end.

A rare treat indeed

We'll be back to explore the rest of the mall another time!

No comments:

Post a Comment