A word of warning: if you want to keep your sanity, do not invite 32 of your son’s nearest and dearest to celebrate his birthday by shooting each other with lasers on a friday afternoon, a week before the end of term, at a soft play centre. If you, like us, are a glutton for punishment, Kids Kingdom is a great place to do it.
My son Felix just turned nine. He has been desperate for a laser party for a couple of years now and we decided to go for it this year. I’m hoping to phase out parties once they are ten so this seemed to be a good way of going out with a bang. Firstly, the children were insane. These are kids I know well, for the most part, but that combination of end of term and having been in school that day turned them into feral beasts. They did, however, have an amazing time!
The party started at 5.30, with the centre closing to the general public at 6. It was quiet anyway but the kids absolutely loved having the centre to themselves, and I would say this is well worth doing, especially with a slightly older bunch of kids. Running around with just your friends, having no-one else there and it being completely yours – brilliant. While the kids went off to play in the soft play, our party host took us to the room we’d be using and ran through what would be going on. The party consisted of 32 children doing laser tag, plus a few siblings just along for the play, but with private hire of kids kingdom you can have up to 100 of the little lunatics charging round. Kids Kingdom is perfect for the junior school crowd – a bit more challenging than some playcentres aimed at younger children and of course they all love Jelly Mountain! It’s looking pretty great in there these days. The owners of Monkey Bizzness took it over a few years ago and it’s a much nicer environment now: clean, more comfortable. Oh, and they serve beer and wine at the cafe too! Result!
After around 45 minutes of throwing each other off Jelly Mountain, the sweaty-headed loons were summoned to the party room to eat and sing happy birthday. I have honestly never heard anything like it in my life, my eardrums actually hurt when they sang. As our host was gleefully encouraging them to go LOUDER, I realised she was on their side, not ours! The buffet food was really good – a great selection of sweet and savoury and included all of Felix’s favourites. Of course the crisps, pizza and sausages were polished off much faster than the carrot sticks and cucumber, but at least there were a couple of healthy options offered!
Then it was laser time! Considering how many children there were, this was really well organised. They split them into four teams and all kids were given a wristband so they knew which team they were on. Then two teams battled at once. Laser and soft play was clearly a winning combination as they leapt and crept around the place. The games went on long enough for them to enjoy but not so long that they became totally immersed in the guerilla, or in many cases, steaming through the playcentre waving guns around, not so guerilla-warfare they were enjoying so much.
I did feel a little bad about sending home these hyped up, sweaty, crazed children, but they all seemed to have a great time and there haven’t been any complaints so far! I can highly recommend Kids Kingdom for parties, but if your kids are anything like mine, make sure you bring some ear defenders and prepare to pour a lot of squash!
For more information about parties at Kids Kingdom visit www.kidskingdom-southend.co.uk