Adult Play Centres Are The New Thing...And No, It's Not What It Sounds Like

Natasha Bird

If you remember the weekly occurrence of Pat Sharp riding around on a tricycle officiating as teams raced through balloon tunnels, got slimed and ended up in a deadly go-kart stand-off, then you'll love this.

Those nostalgic for 90s television and, indeed, their childhood in general, may soon find themselves with the chance to go back in time.

The Play Factory, Thornaby, Yorkshire.
The Play Factory, Thornaby, Yorkshire.

Play centres are no new thing, of course.

Many creches and youth centres have some sort of climbing frame apparatus and the ball parks of IKEA have, for years, been a godsend for keeping restless children entertained while the adults pick up several do-it-yourself bookshelves and an unnecessary number of plastic orchids.

And play centres like the ones featured have been around for a while, but have traditionally been sidelined by the rest of us as noisy cesspits of snotty, screaming toddlers and barely functioning parents trying very hard not to finally blow a blood vessel.

Only relatively recently though (let's say, the last decade) have adults begun rebelling against the perceived tenets of "grown-up" behaviour in favour of running around like their noisier, more openly competitive nine-year-old selves on a regular basis.

Demanding that children's play centres host adult-only sessions is all part of this growing trend.

The Play Factory in Thornaby, Yorkshire, for example, was designed and built for children, but after years and years of demands it has finally decided to forego its maximum age restrictions in favour of hosting "adult only" times.

Heroine in Heels blogger has fun at Jelly Bean in Warrington. [heroineinheels.com]
Heroine in Heels blogger has fun at Jelly Bean in Warrington. [heroineinheels.com]

These times, rather excitingly, have been rumoured to include time trials, smoke machines and maybe even beverages of the alcoholic variety.

And they aren't the only ones. Jelly Beans play centre in Warrington, Play Zone in Portsmouth and the one in Lincoln, Activity World in Peterborough and many others have now opened their doors to parties of just adults.

Slides + vodka martinis = FUN TIME! [The Play Factory]
Slides + vodka martinis = FUN TIME! [The Play Factory]

Basically, with the potential addition of a Cosmopolitan and Mojito happy hour, this pretty much sounds like the best thing ever.

Imagine company away days - you can finally show that Barry from Accounting that his opinion of you as the ditsy blonde with two left feet is totally unfounded.

What about hen dos? Bridezilla Barbara will get her comeuppance for all that ordering around she's been doing when you douse her in slime and turf her into the ball pit.

Actually, it might even just be a great way to physically work off the effects of a stressful or dull day at your desk.

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Who's game for time in the adult play zone? Let us know on Twitter!