“ Address: Unit 6 Crompton Road / Doncaster / South Yorkshire / DN2 4PJ „
Astrabound is based just outside Doncaster town centre on an industrial estate, it has sufficient parking spaces on site and in a nearby street, a couple of disabled spaces are also available. It is a large 13.500 square foot warehouse containing a large metal net and foam/padded play area, wavy and tube slides a huge drop slide and soft play areas suitable for all ages up to around 12, it has three areas suitable for babies toddlers and kids and a seperate sports area, a large netted section with footballs etc.
We were invited to a 9 year olds birthday party there recently, a fun evening but a few things really let the place down.
We were greeted at the door by a gang of youths it was dark around 5.30 pm, this was pretty intimidating as they were making comments to both myself and my daughter, the staff inside were aware of them as the youths were making obscene gestures to them through the windows. However nothing was done about them.
As we entered we gave my childs name and ordered her party food from a menu of the usual kiddie junk food chicken nuggets fish fingers burgers etc.
She then went on to play.
About half an hour in the children were called to a small area which is screened off from the rest of the room in a tent like fashion. The food was then brought out.
I was sat just outside this area with other parents, I was not really aware of much else at this time as we were all sat having a chat while the children ate, My daughter came over saying she didnt like her chips and chicken nuggets could she leave them. I acknowledged she was not enjoying them and let her go on to play. I then went to investigate further, none of the children had eaten any of their food, burgers had bites taken out of them and had been spat out back on the plate, half eaten chips on the table, several meals had not really been touched at all. They smelled awful, I did not venture as far as to taste them.
During this time the building was cleared of all members of the public who were not attending the party giving the children exclusive use of the whole building.
The children were then taken into a seperate room were they were given laser guns, the lights were switched off in the main room AND THE FUN BEGAN!!! The kids went mad running round squeeling having so much fun, they had to shoot each other with the laser guns, hiding and chasing their way through the huge climbing area slides etc oh they loved it and it was fun watching them too, one of the staff dressed as a soldier and came out in the last 10 minutes or so and all the children followed her round chasing her up and down the climbing area.
Astrabound did not provide the party bags these come at an extra cost of £2 I think when mothers are paying what I think is £15 per head, I would expect party bags to be included. Astrabound charge for children that do not attend too! They also do not include a cake, face painting is £1.50 per child. Where do you stop!!
The party itself was great the kids loved it and chasing each other round the play area with laser guns having exclusive access to the whole room all added to a special party atmosphere.
I am under the impression the staff did discount due to the disappointing food so I will give them their due for this.
All in all a great time was had by all however the food was pretty awful because of this I am only giving 3 stars.
I live in Doncaster and have two sons aged six years and 18 months. With a few years of age gap between them, its quite difficult to find an activity that suits both kids. Doncaster area has been a bit lacking in play centres recently except for those that are attached to pubs. These are not normally very big and the nearest to us has now closed down. So I was quite pleased to discover a brand new indoor adventure play area called Astrabound which opened on the 12th March 2008. So far we have visited Astrabound twice and the children have both loved it.
~*~So what does Astrabound have to offer?~*~
Astrabound is on an industrial estate in a fairly central area of Doncaster and is set in a purpose built warehouse. There are three separate play 'zones' as they call them specifically aimed at certain age groups. It also has a separate sports area as well as allocated party & disco areas. The centre has its own catering facilities, free parking, toilets and seating areas.
This is the smallest of the 3 zones and is aimed at 0-2 year olds. It's a triangular padded area which has various padded animals and shapes that can be moved around and climbed on. It also has 3 wall mounted puzzles. These encourage your child to move objects around a sort of maze with their hands. The wall around the area is also padded and can be sat on by parents to help and encourage their children to play.
The age range for this area is recommended as 2-5 year olds however both my children play in this area particular my youngest. This is a 3 level play zone with a ball pool in the centre. It has two slides (an astra slide and a tube) and various ways to get to them. The ball pool has a net above it which catches the balls which can then be released back into the pool. This seems to keep the older children amused for a considerable time! The climbing includes padded ladders and steps, mirrors, a rope net and a tube where they can view the rest of the centre. It also has some lights at the front which are supposed to be interactive but just seem to be lit up to me! This is the area that I have spent time in the most accompanying my youngest. Even for a small person like me there is a lot of crawling through small spaces to do!
This is by far the biggest area within the centre and the recommended age is 5-12 years. My six year old disappears into this as soon as we arrive, waving when he gets to the top of the fourth level. There are three ways to get back down once you have tackled the many levels in the form of slides. A death slide (or dare devil slide as they call it), a helter skelter type spiral slide and an astra slide with four lanes. This area includes a cannon which shoots balls out at targets.
I haven't really much information on this other than you can play football or basketball within two enclosed areas.
The centre does offer several different party options which are detailed in full on their web site www.astrabound.com.
In brief there are 4 packages: Astra Todds, Astra Kids, Astra Disco and Astra Sports. The last 3 packages have a minimum requirement of 15 children and Astra Todds a minimum of 10.
The packages seem to include the usual stuff with slight variations determined by the package chosen. 90 minutes play, a cake ceremony, buffet, invites and a return pass for the birthday child are included in all the packages. Prices start at £7.95 per child, rising to £11.95. They also mention Adult parties and VIP where you get the centre to yourself.
~*~Admission and Prices~*~
The centre is open every day from 9am until 7pm.
On Mondays - Fridays (Off Peak) the prices are:
Under 5's - £3.50
Over 5's - £4.95
Adults - £1.00
On Saturdays and Sundays and school holidays (Peak) they go up to:
Under 5's - £3.95
Over 5's - £4.95
Adults - £1.50
On our first visit the centre had only just opened and word of mouth had not yet reached the masses. Therefore we had unlimited time within the centre and left when the kids had lost their energy. The second time it was heaving and we were told we were limited to 2 hours of play. My initial thought was that this was an expensive 2 hours, however as our time up was approaching the kids (and me and the other half) were flagging!
The play areas are all around the edge of the centre along with the food facilities and toilets etc. In the middle of the building is the seating area. This includes plenty of tables and chairs as well as some comfy seating around the toddler and baby areas. We usually find a spot central to both of the main play zones and take it in turns 'guarding' the coats etc.
On each of the tables are two menus. A breakfast menu, served from 9-11am and a main menu that runs from 12 until 5pm. We haven't actually taken advantage of any of the food as although not extortionate in price it didn't seem that good value. I usually find that catering within these types of venues don't try that hard as they have a captive market. However that opinion is my own very sceptical one and I have no experience on which to base it for this particular centre. It does state on their leaflet that they offer freshly prepared homemade food. The menu consists of items such as paninis, half jacket potatoes, chips, burgers etc. It also has a range of hot and cold drinks on offer. My other half has purchased a cappuccino on both visits which must have been ok or he would have changed his order the second time! He also purchased some chocolate bars for the kids and said they had quite a selection all at around the usual prices. He did say that he had to wait quite a while for his cappuccino but as I said the centre was heaving.
I haven't had the pleasure myself of visiting these facilities but my partner said they were ok. He did state that they were not very tidy with paper towels all over the floor, so could do with being checked more regularly. I don't find this a particularly negative point as in a centre full of children the toilets are going to be a state.
As I mentioned at the very beginning of my review, both of my children love the centre. My youngest was practically bouncing with excitement as we were waiting to pay on our second visit. As the centre was particularly busy on this visit (2.30 on a Sunday afternoon) we will probably aim for a quieter time for our next trip. The fact that they charge for adults does bump the price up a bit but for the quality of the equipment I would say that the overall cost is good value for money. The range of activities is enough to keep the children entertained for at least 2 hours. With an age range of 0-12 years we will be visiting the centre many many more times in the future. The only downsides are the volume of children at busy times and also that the free parking is not extensive. We had to park on the road outside on the second visit.
The centre has its own website: www.astrabound.com which is pretty basic in design but does have all the information you could need on party packages, opening times etc. It mentions on here that newspapers and wi-fi facilities are available but I saw no sign of these. I also didn't notice any baby changing facilites unless these are within the toilets. The only way in and out of the centre is through the reception area which seems to be manned at all times. On the walls in the reception area are all the rules of play clearly stated. It is also stated that children are the responsibility of parents at all times. I did notice that the centre was not overrun with staff. It is therefore advisable to keep an eye on your own children at all times. However there doesn't seem to be any areas of particular danger and adults can enter the zones to rescue 'stuck' children!
All shoes must be removed prior to entering the zones and socks must be worn.
All the play equipment is supplied by a local company called house of play.
Unit 6, Crompton Road
Off Wheatley Hall Road
Tel: 01302 847753
Indoor play facility for children ages 0-12.