Mumbai for kids: A visit to Colaba's indoor play area Go Bonkers
As we head to Colaba to find out what Go Bonkers is all about, we wonder how different this indoor play area will be from so many others that have sprung up in the city and the suburbs
It’s another indoor play area. It’s new. It’s in South Mumbai. As we head to Colaba to find out what Go Bonkers is all about, we wonder how different this indoor play area will be from so many others that have sprung up in the city and the suburbs.
The reception is small and white. We need to fill in my details on an app, and ‘Check In’; the timer starts ticking in as soon as we click ‘Go’. Will we be given notice when the allotted hour that we are charged for is up or asked if we want timing extensions? No. Time checks need to be done by the parent/guardian and any extra time will be charged Rs 200. Gulp.
After removing our shoes and armed with socks, we open the door and are led into a deep chamber where the indoor play activities are. The high ceiling means that there are levels of play that are not even visible to the adult line of vision. There is enough to keep kids of the age group three to 12 years occupied. We spot staff dotting the space to help kids around the sections.
My kids, Vani and Ammol, head for the colourful slides before they test other zones. The toddler’s zone — called the Go Play Zone — is most welcoming, with walk-on giant piano keys that light up and chime in when you step on them and the easy-riding carousel that moves on the press of a button. Vani’s inclination to music makes her walk on the keys but she is told rather curtly by a staffer that she cannot remain here. I believe that people who invest in kids’ spaces need to also invest in child-friendly staff.
The toddler’s zone at Go Bonkers
The big disappointment is the fact that built-up space that was a huge draw for Ammol, is yet to be started. We overhear the manager tell another inquirer that this section would open in the first week of August.
The in-house café, Go Munch, serves a vast spread of junk food, healthy snacks and refreshments. The café stocks books and board games that are stacked on the shelves. A TV screen gives views of the different sections of the play zone. The idea being that parents could catch up with coffee and conversation and also be able to check on what their kids are doing.
Children busy playing one of the indoor activities
The adjacent yoga room, which is also designed for the parent, with the idea that mommies can catch up on a soothing workout while their kids frolicked, was shut when we had dropped by. With socks on, the polished wooden floor was rendered very slippery. I watched kids falling as they moved from one zone to another; in fact, one toddler had banged his head hard while taking a tumble. Before leaving, it was Ammol’s turn. Crash!
Strictly okay. I guess this is for South Mumbaikars who wouldn’t have to travel to Lower Parel anymore to engage in such activities.
Go Bonkers didn’t know we were there. the guide reviews anonymously and pays for its visits.
Where Sidhwa House, NA Sawant Marg, near Colaba Fire Brigade, Colaba.
Train: closest stops are Churchgate (Western Railway), CST (Central, Harbour). Hail a cab and mention Colaba Fire Brigade. In the road adjacent to Colaba Fire Brigade, is Sidhwa House.
Timings 10 am to 8 pm
Charges Rs 450 per hour (Mon-Thurs), Rs 500 per hour (Fri-Sun)
Food & water: Yes
What’s good The different levels within the space are neat and afford lots of room for exploration.
What’s not good The assistants do not make an effort to advise children or show them around. The slippery wooden floorings didn’t help. We hope the Brick For Kids Zone starts soon.
Mumbai for kids: A visit to indoor entertainment centre Smaaash. (Read more)
Mumbai for kids: Millk in Lower Parel. (Read more)