Tee-Rex Soft Play, St Mellons, Cardiff
I’m pretty sure we’ve now tried every – or near enough – soft play in Cardiff. At the moment, we keep returning to Tee-rex soft play, in St Mellons, despite it not being particularly close for us and I wanted to share why, for any other parents out there desperately trying to keep a little one entertained. We have visited around 10 times now this year.
Tee Rex Soft Play, St Mellons, Cardiff
Tee Rex Soft Play is part of Tee Rex Adventure Golf, but we’ve never had a go at the crazy golf yet, so I can only comment (at the moment!) on the soft play section which is (as the name suggests) based around a dinosaur theme. Located down the winding roads of St Mellons, it’s a few minutes away from Cefn Mably Farm Park, so you could always pair them both up for a mega day out that’s guaranteed to have everyone completely worn out by the end of the day. Including you. It’s also only 5 minutes away from Wyevale Garden Centre where you can nab a budget afternoon tea! Tee Rex Soft Play has a very large car park and the soft play section has it’s own well signposted entrance. Entry is through two sets of double doors – the second of which is buzzer opened by a member of staff, so very secure as no little ones can run in or out of their own accord.
Tee Rex Soft Play is ideal for any little dinosaur fans!
At the time of writing the prices were 0 to 12 months – £2 (or free with a paying child) and 12 months onwards – £4 weekdays, £6 weekends and school holidays, although I must note I was charged £4 on weekdays during this summer holiday as well. Obviously it goes to say that prices are set by the management so always check with them for the most up to date details. In addition, there is a stamped loyalty card where 5 visits gets your 6th visit free, lowering the cost if you make this your regular. I prefer a sliding scale where a 13 month old isn’t charged the same as a 5 year old, but on the whole I think the prices are okay and the loyalty card is a nice bonus. The only thing that could really improve the situation would be a yearly membership, now that would really make me visit more often!
One of the reasons I choose this soft play over others is that it’s quite focused on younger children. I would say this is a soft play only really suitable for under 5s. The “large” section is perfectly suitable for a confident toddler and at 18 months, William can climb everything and go down all the slides, but does need to be watched very closely and accompanied. The baby area is one of the best we’ve seen, with a very well padded section with plenty of extra climbables and a baby slide as well. Finally, there are roleplay / pretend play sections. These are still soft play, completely padded with soft accessories, but set in the design of a cafe, shop and vet. I think this is quite unique, and a great way to encourage imagination and creativity as well as teamwork whilst still being totally suitable for all ages. There are also lots of kids table and chairs for drawing or tabletop play, a large chalk board with chalk available from the cafe and a section of soft bricks for building walls as well as ride on cars and small baby bouncers for the tiny ones.
The baby area at Tee Rex Soft Play
Everything is extremely clean. I’ve never seen anything dirty, and as soon as a group stands up from one of the tables to leave, it’s being wiped down and immediately vacuumed. It seems like the staff are always bustling about cleaning and keeping everything tidy.
Food is pretty well priced in Tee Rex Soft Play and one thing I’ve noticed is that a large amount of people take their own snacks. I don’t know if this is official policy, but there’s certainly no signage that I saw that indicated you had to buy from the cafe. Having to buy strictly from the cafe is one thing that grinds my gears in soft plays. I understand they want to make their money and are running a business, but children can be fussy eaters, on special diets, and parents trying their best to wean and encourage them to eat. Eating from what is usually a very limited menu, really doesn’t benefit families at all. Now okay, you don’t want everyone having a massive picnic so adults should buy from the cafe, but some other soft plays in Cardiff are very strict even about you giving them a single snack which really just means I won’t return. So any soft play that allows parents to bring their own food in for the wee ones gets a big thumbs up from me.
Luckily William is the type of toddler that will eat anything put in front of him, including a great deal of things he shouldn’t. We have therefore eaten quite a lot of lunches at Tee Rex Soft Play and found the food perfectly adequate and reasonably priced. We usually get a toasted sandwich for £2.50 which comes with some tortilla chips as well, and a cup of tea for £1.50 for me. A kids sandwich box with yogurt and squash is around £3.50 too.
The toilets are very clean and well designed, with a large baby changing room that has space for up three babies to be changed at once.
Being a fairly new soft play in Cardiff, Tee Rex Soft Play really feels quite modern, well designed and spacious. Most of the inner city soft plays feel quite cramped and dark to me, but Tee Rex is very open with an absolute ton of light. It feels really easy to see where my son is at any time from the tables and it really just has a positive feeling of safety and security, reinforced by very friendly staff so far. He has fun every single time, usually getting about two hours in before he collapses. He usually falls asleep as his head touches the pushchair whilst we leave the building, which for me, is a perfect ending to any outing!