In what seems like the first blog post in forever (thanks pandemic!!) we visited the Play Hive at Stockeld Park during its trial opening as we couldn’t wait to see what it was like!!
For those who have never been or heard of Stockeld Park, there is an old blog post here that will help!
The Play Hive Basics
The Play Hive at Stockeld Park is a fully indoor play area suitable for kids aged 2 to 12, as well as parents! You get 90 minutes to play and there are no shoes allowed, so you are encouraged to buy funky slip on shoes, but indoor trampoline socks will work as well. There is an extra charge for the Play Hive and booking is very much recommended.
The Play Hive Set up
The Play Hive at Stockeld Park is quite distinctive from the outside. Although when you’re inside, it is easy to lose whereabouts you are. Consider the Play Hive like a ring doughnut; the outer ring is full of separate themed climbing and play areas which merge effortlessly together, with the middle being a different play area which goes all the way to the top of the tower.
Play Hive themes
As you go round the Play Hive at Stockeld Park, there are different themes on the play equipment. There is space, jungle, aviation, weather, sailing and many more.
All of which are similar for kids in terms of climbing and slides, but there are different quirks in each one. For example, in the aviation one, you can be in the control tower and talk down and see the people in the aircraft, which is great!
In the middle section, it is more of a traditional climbing frame with see-saw, slides and swings.
What else is at the Play Hive?
There is a new pizza/pasta restaurant in the same building as the Play Hive. Not sure if it was because it was a trial weekend, but the service was very, very quick and the pizzas were yummy!! This is the only seating area in the Play Hive building, and you do not need Play Hive tickets to get into the restaurant.
There are free lockers to put your shoes, bags and belongings for when you’re playing in the Play Hive. You don’t need any coins to operate it and whilst the locker area is a little tight, it is a really good idea (you aren’t allowed shoes and bags in the play area)
Play Hive limitations
There are a few things that you need to be aware of before visiting the Play Hive at Stockeld Park. There are no chairs for grown-ups and so if mobility for adults is difficult, this might not be for you. Also, the Play Hive at Stockeld Park is not a traditional soft play. Therefore, if your child is not a confident climber and/or is prone to hurting themselves, it might not be for you. Also, we visited on a summers day and it did get really warm, especially in the middle part of the play area, which acts like a greenhouse. As such, take water!!
Our Play Hive favourite.
I think our favourite Play Hive section was the lights out game which was hidden away. Here you have teams and tap your coloured light as quickly as you can before it disappears. It really helps being tall, so it is a game that you can win against the kids!!
It was impossible to get a picture as it was too fast moving!!
See if you can find the musical buttons set into one of the themes. The only hint is that you need to be underwater (the Play Hive at Stockeld Park is 100% dry!!)
The Play Hive at Stockeld Park Conclusion
Having seen the building work take place for ages, it was so good to actual get inside and have fun! 90 minutes doesn’t seem like long enough but the kids were tired towards the end.
It certainly have the “wow” factor and the kids were amazed as to how creative it was and how much fun it was. It won’t be for everyone and it is certainly not a traditional soft play. However, the Play Hive at Stockeld Park is going to be a favourite of ours for years to come!
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