Yesterday we took an impromptu trip to the Chill Factore which is near the Trafford Centre in Manchester.
It’s the last weekend before the holidays and you know how sometimes children can start with the ‘I’m bored’ rant, so you pack up the family essentials and head for the door before your head explodes as it is full to the brim with the phrase “I AM BORED” and you just don’t know what will happen if you hear it again. Well that was me yesterday.
My sister and O’s favourite Aunty was also at a loose end yesterday, so along with her partner we all headed off to the -3 degrees Chill Factore.
I rang up beforehand as it has been a while since I took O there and I wanted to check that F, my 13 month old would have an activity to do and whether snow boots would be provided for her. I was told that yes, bring her down and both of my children would be able to play in the same area. As Ophelia is older there is actually another space she is allowed to go and play in, but I wouldn’t be able to bring F in with us. So I thanked the kind man who answered the phone and got all of our warm belonging together.
I would advise of a snow suit for younger children, but layered legs would work if you perhaps used tights and waterproof trousers. My eldest has a really warm, padded waterproof jacket that she wore with 2 pairs of trousers and thick socks, hat and gloves (They are essential).
So we arrived and it was very busy, filled with quite a few families. When we approached the desk we were told that the next available slot wouldn’t be for another 2 1/2 hours, that’s how busy it was. I was slightly deflated by this as it’s not easy keeping my youngest amused when we are out and about. We are at the stage where she wants to explore everything on offer but is too small too be able to roam about at her will.
We booked the slot, it was after all a last minute day out. You can book online or over the phone for peace of mind though.
There isn’t a great deal to do to kill the time, but it does offer several eatieries; Nando’s, Weatherspoon’s, it’s own pub with food and an ice cream parlour. We choose Nando’s, my sister and her partner are huge fans and they have a good children’s menu. The service was extremely fast, which was good. We managed to kill an hour eating and F was also able to have her afternoon nap while we ate, which was a bonus. This meant she was more likely to enjoy her first snow experience.
After we finished, I showed my sister and her partner the climbing wall, another activity the Chill Factore have to offer. We rounded up the rest of the time by getting some ice cream from the parlour they have.
If you like Ice cream and Milkshakes, then I definitely recommend that you try it, they offer over 15+ varieties of homemade ice cream and it is simply divine.
Our time slot approached so we made our way to the changing and locker area to pick up our snow boots.
Now this is the only downside to yesterday’s outing. I approached the desk and asked for a size 4 boot for my 13 month old and it was then, that I was informed the actual smallest size they offered was an 8/9! I wasn’t impressed by this. As I mentioned earlier I had made a point of ringing up and checking if I should bring anything specific. The lady asked me if I had wellies for her as this is what they usually advised, but I hadn’t brought a pair, she was in normal shoes. I did get an apology however and was told that she would mention this to someone.
I tried the shoes on F, and they didn’t fall of when she walked which was the most important part. So into the snow we went.
You get one hour of play time and tickets cost £6 per person. I did take F out a little bit earlier as her face and nose were starting to get a bit red, but my eldest stayed in with my sister.
They have changed the layout from the last time I came to the Chill Factore and they have new equipment for the children to play with. But it was an improvement, they had a bigger and better choice, which is good as it means you don’t have children waiting to long for their chance to play with something.
They had made a little slope and provided doughnuts and sledges so that you can go down the slope, which is where my eldest O, spent most of her time.
I had a go with F also, but it wasn’t easy. I was holding onto her, but I felt as if I may slip at any moment, so a very kind and bemused man held the doughnut for me while I climbed in. It was worth the effort and F loved it.
F was unsure of the snow at first, but it didn’t last for long as she was trying to eat it not long after. The only time she disapproved was if she sat down in it for too long.
There is definitely a good enough selection of toys and equipment to keep children amused and 1 hour is more than enough time for you to spend in the snow with them.
For £6 each, I think it is an activity worth paying for.