I peer through the glass window with five kids in tow as we remove our shoes. The kids are from a range of ages: the youngest being four years old and the oldest being 10. I’m at Hop n Bop, recommended by my physiotherapist friend for a fun indoor place. We are met at the reception with alarmed looks. The website had said the plan area is meant for children up to eight years; and adults had to accompany the kids. Surely, a 10-year-old would be able to find something fun to do? No, comes the response.
So should I leave or let the four kids within the age group play? I’m unsure. The 10-year-old seems crestfallen so in a minute, I decide to back out and find another place that accommodates play for a larger range of age groups. But the four-year-old, the six-year-old, the seven-year-old as well as my eight-year-old refuse to leave Hop n Bop. The decision is taken off me.
Hop n Bop (HnB) is a large (2,000 sq ft) open space divided into play zones that a parent can accompany their child to. One zone is dedicated to honing fine motor skills, while the other is about exercising gross motor skills. Each zone is further divided into play areas for differing age groups. An airy classroom is meant for academics, hobbies and extra-curricular activities such as learning Spanish, cooking, puppetry or storytelling sessions.
While the 10-year-old sits in the café looking at the kids squeal with fun, I stroll around admiring the thought that went into choosing the furniture and accessories. The air-conditioned space plays happy music. The pastel shades are pleasing; the flooring is lined (wall-to-wall) with crash mats and every corner of Hop n Bop — including the merry-go-round — is soft and rounded. The waterbed for the toddlers — created to seem like a baby pool — gets full approval from the kids. The punching bag zone and the ball pool, wall toys, soft bridges and wall climbing earn brownie points.
The clock is ticking as I check my watch for one hour, while I order juice, water and fries. The bill at the end of the hour is enough to get me all panicky. Yet, by the time we leave, HnB is full of young mothers and their brats — set for hours of luxurious fun.
Where: 444, The Corporate Lounge, Second floor, Plot no 347, CTS no E/444, Linking Road, Khar (W).
How to reach
Train: closest stop: Bandra or Khar (W) on Western Railway. Landmark: Opposite Khatwari Darbar.
Timings: Daily, 11 am to 7.30 pm
Charges: Rs 450 per child (+ taxes). You can also become a quarterly, six-monthly or yearly member.
Rating: * * *1/2 (3.5/5)
Best for: 6 months to 8-year-olds
Best time: All year. Ideal during monsoon, when outdoor options are less.
What can you eat: HnB offers veg and non-veg burgers, smileys, French fries, juices, diet coke, green tea, cupcakes and chicken nuggets.
It’s open to: Kids and parents.
Restroom facilities: Yes
What’s not good: HnB is meant for the well-heeled. If you drop by aware of this, the rest is a breeze.
Patwardhan Park, Linking Road.
Joggers Park, Carter Road.
Rajesh Khanna Park, Santacruz.
Gymboree, Santacruz (W).
Lil Munchkins, Khar.