Bella and I went to Gambado in Beckenham a few weeks ago after her 2nd birthday. We were supposed to go on her birthday, but she fell asleep after her birthday lunch and shopping, so I decided to take her the next day. On arrival, we were served by a friendly assistant, I had lost my Gambado card, but it did not matter too much as we were still able to be checked in by just giving a few details. Actually, the assistant told me that the cards were no longer being given out, thankfully I found my Gambado card a few days ago whilst doing a spot of Spring cleaning. I paid £2.95 for myself and £6.75 for Bella.
I do like the fact that whenever we come here we are asked a series of security questions to confirm mine and my daughter’s identity, this gives me confidence that Gambado takes security seriously. Children are also forbidden from leaving the building without an adult and there is always 1-2 people sitting by the entrance/exit because the desks are facing the door. This gives parents extra peace of mind that their children cannot leave the building freely as the gates are operated by the staff.
We had some lunch before Isabella-Grace went off to play, I bought our lunch before we arrived because I was not sure of the Gambado menu. Isabella-Grace is a very fussy eater as am I, so I did not want to risk it by arriving here expecting something that we would both enjoy only to be disappointed. After eating, we went to put our valuables in a locker, I really appreciated this because we had not been here for a long time, so I was thinking, “where am I going to put my bag?!” I paid £1 to have access to the locker which I received back once we were ready to leave.
Now the fun really began! Isabella-Grace ran off to try and find her way into the soft play area, once she did she was so excited. She was particularly good at manoeuvring through the various spaces and climbing (she climbs a lot at home!) which was nice to see. She moved about with such confidence, so I left her to go wherever she wanted and I just followed in suit.
Bella’s favourite area was the ball pit, she loved having the freedom to play with the balls, throw them around and she even hid from me a few times, the cheeky little lady! A few other children wandered into the ball pit and they all played together nicely, however what I was not keen on was when the older children came in and started engaging in rough play. I believe that they should have a separate area for the older children because of the way in which they play. I found a lot of the older children’s parents just left them to it, one little boy befriended us and he decided to play with Bella for the rest of her time there. This was so sweet; however, I could not help, but wonder where his mother was. He pointed her out to me and she was sitting at one of the tables looking outside of the window.
Of course, I am not judging, but if it were me I would be observing Isabella-Grace because I know my daughter is very inquisitive and would probably wander off somewhere else! I would rather know where she is at all times to ensure that she is safe and not communicating with any strangers. This little boy was much older, perhaps around 4/5 so I suspect he was aware of stranger danger and knew how to play by himself without getting into too much trouble hence why his mother left him to play. As we continued to play, Bella wanted to go down one of the big slides, but of course her mama is a BIG chicken and I make it a habit to avoid such things. The little boy actually made me laugh because he said, “you’re an adult and you’re scared of the slide?! Wow!”
When Bella was much younger we came here and I found that there was much more for her to do. There is a play area specifically tailored for the under 5’s with soft play and there is also a smaller ball pit for them too. Now that she is 2 she has access to the bigger area, but I found the climbing and going through little tunnels, etc a bit repetitive after a while and I suspect she did too. There was a carousel and dodgem area, but we did not venture down there because Bella was so busy playing in the ball pit! Hopefully next time when we go back we will be able to experience those two rides also, I am sure that she will love them! All in all, she had a fabulous day and that is all that matters to me. Have you ever been to Gambado with your little one, if so how did you find it?
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