School’s out, the temperature was soaring and the kids were going crazy at home. This day was showing all the signs of becoming a nightmare and I needed a plan asap. Then it came to me- what better place to let my monkeys blow off some steam than at Cheeky Monkeys in Al Barsha Mall? We were also in desperate need to do some grocery shopping and guess what is in the same mall? Union Coop. Bingo! I packed my two climbing-ready monkeys plus nanny in the car and set out for the monkey retreat.
After having sent the nanny off with a shopping list, I paid the 100 AED entry fee for both kids (this gives you two hours worth of play so I was ok with it) and the monkeys were ready to climb the walls. The place itself is a bit worn, but given the nature of the location you can’t really hold that against them. I was quite surprised to find that it was fairly empty but then we did arrive first thing in the morning and it did start to fill up after about an hour.
So what are we looking at here mamas? Well, I’d say you’ve got four main sections, the soft play area, the café, the monkey house and the salon. Unsurprisingly my two boys went straight for the main soft play, which offers all the usual suspects such as a ball pit, a climbing structure, the mega-slide and a covered twisted slide. There is also a little dress up corner, which unfortunately is rather uninspiring. The main attraction for my kids was definitely the monkey climbing tower with big climb-through holes and a trampoline at the bottom. Although just before we left a little kiddo peed at the top and it all slowly trickled down the tower… Living the dream, mamas.
After about an hour the boys were craving a snack, so mama quickly scanned the shelves in the café and gave it the thumbs up. The food is simple but decent, with sandwiches of all sorts and kind that are not too unhealthy. They also sell organic fruit and nut bars, which is a good snack option and was what my boys ended up getting. Fully charged, they decided to hit the Monkey Clubhouse which is a really cute, beautifully made mini-version of a real house. Although it definitely could have had some more equipment and props inside, my boys were happy to play house for a little while with what was there. After about 5 minutes my eldest came out with the steam iron saying; “This is for you”… we clearly need to work harder on the gender equality issue in our real house.
Right next to the clubhouse there is a little Lego Station, which has just enough to keep the hard core fans busy but not so much that it ends up looking like a war zone. I left the boys in the clubhouse for a few minutes to check out the little salon (or mini spa as they call it)- ‘Darling Divas’. They do girls’ and boys’ hair cuts, braiding, mini manis and pedis plus massages (which I’m guessing is more geared towards tired mamas). It looked quite cute; bedazzled from floor to ceiling, which I’m sure hits home with their little clientele. As I was about to head back to the boys, my son came walking towards me handing me that iron again- come on, I got it the first time dude!
After about 1 ½ hours the groceries were done and my boys were starting to fight (which is code for “we are tired”) so it was shoes back on and time to head to the car. Summer boredom crisis averted!
Cheeky Monkeys Al Barsha Mall, Ground Floor, Al Barsha 2, Dubai
Tel: +(971) (0)4 385 0875
Suitable for from 10 months to 8 years
Cost: AED 45 for 1 hour or AED 50 for 2