Last week a Sassy Mama favourite kiddie haunt, Cheeky Monkeys, opened its doors in the Dubai Marina! We had to be among the first on the ground to give it a bit of a test spin- or rather let the kiddos do it for us. So we brought our own troop of baboons, chimpanzees and gorillas to check out the new digs. And did they love it? Yup, they did! And here’s why:
At first you think that the Marina soft play is not as big as the equivalent at the Mirdif or Barsha outlets, but then you look up and realise we’re talking three storeys of climbing frame mania for the kids to wear themselves out in. Who says you have to be horizontal anyways? And mamas, we’ve got to hand it to them; they’ve managed to get a lot of really awesome stuff in for the petit clientele such as two merry-go-rounds (one complete with squishy ponies, the other a really fun and safe ride that the kids adored) the (mandatory) ball pit, dress up station (yes, including Elsa’s dress from Frozen), trampoline, covered tube slide, air mattresses that flashed colourful lights and a mini water slide that allowed the kids to stay dry (the water visible under the slide’s see-through cover) plus much much more!
Outside of the soft play area there’s a little arts & crafts station plus a gorgeous wooden play house (built by the wonderful Creations team) in which kids can make believe and role play to their hearts content. Cheeky Monkeys has been designed with the help of a Montessori expert with the aim at being a complete sensory experience for the littles.
And then it happened. Barney appeared. Yep, THE purple dinosaur decided to pay us all a visit! Were we excited? Erm… no, because we are adults. Where the kids ecstatic? Yes they were! When talking to the staff, we found out that apparently they arrange for these little visits to happen every day. But that’s not all. When the staff (or entertainers, as they call themselves) feel like the kids are a bit too much, too loud or just in need of a change of scene, they then start an impromptu puppet performance. Should the audience be too young or not sophisticated enough to enjoy puppetry, they will treat them to a bubble show. Of course.
And mamas… they will have an outdoor playroom available. Yes, we said OUTDOOR playroom. It will actually the first in Dubai – (we’re thinking guilt-free play during the cooler months, but is that just us?). And for mamas looking to unwind while the younger ones get wound up, they are serving Starbucks coffee and are working with a culinary partner to make sure the menu served is full of good stuff (hopefully to launch soon). If you fancy getting dinner after playtime, then the current offerings are pizza, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, muffins and fruit plus popcorn and other bits and pieces as snacks.
But let’s get down to detailed business:
Cleanliness: very good but then it is new. When talking to the manager she told us they have full time staff looking after and cleaning all the time. No “everyday-at-three-we-clean”, because we all know what good that does…
Birthday Parties: yes, can do. There are two separate rooms available- ‘Bubble’ and ‘Star’.
Cost: AED 45 per child per hour(or AED 70 for 2 hours, AED 85 for 3 and AED 100 for the whole day if your little monkeys need it). But until the end of September, there is an AED 50 for 2 hours of play offer.
Parking: Yes, free for 2 hours if you spend AED 100 or if you’re lucky enough you can find a space on the street right outside for nothing.
Toilets: Just outside the main door. Very clean and changing table available.
This place is brand new and is still working out some of the smaller kinks such as the A/C not working in the café area, the salon still not being open and the food options being a little limited at the moment. But despite these early glitches, we still give Cheeky Monkeys Dubai Marina a big, well-toned thumbs up and very much look forward to letting our little chimps loose in this fab new venue again soon!
Psst.. All the entertainers are trained face painters. Just FYI.
Cheeky Monkeys, First Floor Le Grande Marina/JBR (opposite Le Royal Meridian), above Crumbs Bakery
(+971) (0) 4 276 0011, www.cheekymonkeys.ae www.facebook.com/cheekymonkeysmarina