Nubo - The New Play Centre In Sydney That's Different To The Rest
By: Lisa Wolff, ellaslist
When I stepped into Nubo, a brand new play space in Alexandria, everything was calm. The floors are soft wood and the walls are white and pastel blue. The background music is instrumental nursery rhymes.
The first thing I noted was the glass entry gate – there would be no little escapees from here (pshew!). Then we were politely and enthusiastically welcomed by one of the Nubo team who took us through what the play space had to offer and what workshops were on that day. What a difference to the sullen students that often man the more conventional playcentres.
The creator of Nubo is a mum herself and her vision was to create a space of ‘pure play’ that encouraged physical as well as mental stimulation. She wanted to create a calming rather than manic atmosphere where parents could interact with their kids in a fun and creative environment.
The impressive centre of Nubo – which means cloud – is a massive rope climbing structure with two metal super slides. My 2 year olds were a bit young to attempt a climb while my four year old gave it a good go. However you need to climb pretty high to reach a slide so it’s a fun challenge for school-aged kids. The play space caters for kids up to the age of 10, although I think younger kids would get more out of it. But there are plans to have workshops for school-aged children such as robotics, coding and more.
Ball Pool Delight
My children headed straight to the best ball pool I have seen. It looks a bit like a large fishtank filled with light blue balls. The highlight was a slippery dip leading straight into the pool. The novelty just never wore off and the kids must have slid down a hundred times during our visit. There is a second level above the ball pool featuring a net trampoline and another slide down to the ground.
The room next door is an imaginarium of construction with hard foam blocks, funnels, tubes and balls and the kids loved building a mini city out of the materials. There are also spiral magnets that can be placed on the wall in different patterns.
Craft & Creating
The craft room is next and kids could take a break from the physical fun and make flower pots out of play dough and sparkles or whatever they feel like creating with the variety of arty stuff on offer. There was always a Nubo team member on hand to help get the creative juices flowing.
The library is a beautiful light-filled space well stocked with all sorts of kids’ books and plenty of space to curl up and read. There is also a cushion-filled capsule in the sky which can be accessed by a narrow staircase. It was perfect spot to escape but I did have to watch my younger two carefully as I wasn’t comfortable for them to be climbing the stairs on their own or playing in the capsule unsupervised.
While we were there, there was a story-time session held in the library and run by one of the Nubo team qualified in early childhood teaching. My kids had way to much energy to sit still for a second but if you have calmer kids, I’m sure they will love it.
Upstairs there is a large play home set up with a toy kitchen, dolly bathing area, toy vacuum cleaner and brooms – perfect for toddler / preschooler make believe games. Then next door was set up with chairs and tables topped with magnetic building tiles. This room was later cleared and used for an interactive music session while we were visiting.
Not A Nugget In Sight
The spacious café is on the ground level and there is not a deep fried crumb to be seen. The menu is far more appetising than any play area I’ve been to – whole foods, sandwiches, vegan confectionary and barrista-style coffee in wide-brimmed ceramic cups (oh, joy!). I also liked the row of kid-height basins in the café area – nice touch.
There is also a cute baby area with direct site of the café filled with interesting toys and climbing apparatus for infants. The word is that there’s a chef on the way who’ll be bringing a menu of delicious and healthy choices.
Best Bathroom Ever
To top it all off is the kids’ bathroom which is definitely worth a visit. It has a large central water feature with mini basins for little ones. But beware it can get a bit wet and slippery if your kids can’t resist water play.
While I noticed that there were a number of Nubo team members around, carers do need to supervise their kids. Most of the open areas are visible from the café but parents may wish to follow younger kids if they go upstairs.
The price of entry at present is on the steep side if we opted for the unlimited play option and for my little clan of three this would certainly be an expensive day out. But I am hoping they will introduce membership options and loyalty rewards to make a visit more affordable.
Go on, give Nubo a try – take a walk into the clouds and discover what play centres would be like in paradise.
What You Need To Know
Open: Daily 9am-5pm
Prices: Kids under 2 (weekdays) $8.50/hour or $25.50 unlimited per child ; Kids under 2 (weekends) $12.50/hour or $37.50 unlimited per child. Kids over 2 (weekdays) $10/hour or $40 unlimited per child ; Kids over 2 (weekends) $15/hour or $50 unlimited per child.