Since he was very little L has always been a massive fan of Thomas the Tank Engine and Fireman Sam. Even now at 6 he still plays with his Thomas trains and tracks and his Fireman Sam figurines.
When we were invited to visit Mattel Play! in Liverpool we were delighted. Mattel Play! is a 13000 square foot interactive play centre nestled in corner of the iconic Albert Dock in Liverpool. Based around three of Mattels most well known British toy and character brands – Thomas the Tank Engine, Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder. I just knew that L was absolutely going to love it.
On arrival we were greeted by the friendly staff. When you book you are given a two hour time slot to explore the centre, personally I think this a great idea to stop overcrowding. We were given coloured wrist bands, these alert staff if you have stayed past your time. We were told that we could come and go as many times as we wanted within the two hours. Let the fun begin!
We started upstairs in the Thomas the Tank Engine zone. Here you are transported to the Island of Sodor. The attention to detail is fantastic. L was immediately drawn to the Sodor Steamworks. Children can ride on miniature Skarloey locomotives, which they have to power themselves by pedalling. L went round the track at least three times.
We then visited Tidmouth sheds and Knapford Station where you’ll meet Thomas, Rosie, Percy and one of the troublesome trucks. Children can play station master, directing the trains and speaking on the loud speaker. There is also a ticket booth for purchasing hours of fun on the railways.
Brendam Docks was next on the agenda. Here you’ll find Harold and his amazing ball pit and the Sodor Coal Supply. I think this was L’s favourite area. Its a soft play area so shoes are left in the shoe rack at the entrance.
After thoroughly exploring the Island of Sodor we then headed for Sunflower Valley to meet Bob the Builder and friends.
Again the attention to detail was fantastic. L grabbed his hard hat and was off to explore and play. This zone has some great construction based activities. L loved playing on Scoop the digger, building with blocks and using the hand powered diggers to scoop sand. Our favourite area was the drawing station where you can use illuminated pictures to trace your favourite Bobsville characters.
There is a small stage area between the Thomas and Bob zones. There is a large television screen and bean bags. Movies are shown throughout the day. Excitingly this is also the meet and greet area. The day we visited Fireman Sam was on hand to pose for photos!
We then made our way downstairs to the Fireman Sam zone. This was definitely the busiest area. Children can grab a firemans costume and axe on the way in. Here you’ll find all of your favourite Pontypandy residents. L loved the Ocean Rescue Centre, he got to ride on Jupiter the Fire Engine and shop in Diyls’ store. There was also a firemans pole to slide down and you can even put out a “real” fire. L was really in his element.
Our tummies were rumbling by this stage so we made our way to the cafe at the front of the centre. There is a nice range of hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and light bites to choose from. I was impressed that I was able to order a gluten free ham and cheese toastie. We all really enjoyed our lunch.
With our tummies full we headed back into the Thomas zone for the rest of our time slot. I definitely think this was our favourite zone.
Just before we headed home we visited the gift shop. This is located near the entrance. There is a range of Mattel toys on sale. I have to say though that we found the shop to be very expensive. L settled on a Hot Wheels car. We also tried out the interactive green screen. This is self operated and honestly so much fun. Prices are fairly reasonable.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Mattel Play. I was so impressed with the attention to detail and the staff were super friendly. We would definitely like to visit again in the future.
Good to know –
Prices (standard peak):
£3 per adult
£12 per child
£6 babies under 12 months (with full paying adult)
Mattel Play! is wheelchair and pushchair accessible
Please visit the Mattel Play! website for more information.
Check out our Mattel Play! vlog –
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Disclaimer – we were provided with tickets to Mattel Play! for the purposes of this review. Our thoughts and opinions are our own.