Let's Play (Indoors), Thane
If Spiderman were to design a place for kids, this is what he would conjure up. Let's Play, which claims to be India's largest indoor adventure activity centre, should have been christened Let's Climb. You'll see why.
My 12-year-old daughter Vani, her friend Bianca and I travel to Thane, zooming over one flyover after another to reach Big Shopping Center. We walk into Let's Play to be greeted by a bored staff member, who chooses to stare at her screen and pretend we are invisible for a long time before attending to us.
When we finally get in through impressive automated gateways that will let you in only if you swipe your Let's Play card — it's immaterial that the gates did not open and we had to be rescued by a staffer — the kids are made to watch an audio-visual. It's a safety protocol but the instructions are barely audible because the background music is loud enough to cause tremors on the floor. The kids stare at the screen while I desperately try to lip-read.
Socks are mandatory and the kids are fitted with special shoes and gear… and then it's time to climb. The entire area is a giant climbing zone. The walls are divided into different kinds of climbing sections and the spacious play area has been converted into slick, theme-based structures that encourage you to ascend. The good part is that there is no rappelling involved.
At the end is an innocuous-looking obstacle path, up in the air. Once you are on the safety path of this course, the only way to get out is to finish it.
The USP is Jump-in-the-Air for which you have to pay separately. It entails climbing a tower and lunging to grab a punching bag kind of apparatus, hugging it for however long you wish to swing in the air and then jumping down. Bianca can't get enough of it.
Let's Play has also been designed to be a venue for birthday parties. At the back is a lit-up dance floor and the cafeteria on the mezzanine floor offers a range of food. As kids grow up, it gets harder to please them on their birthdays.
If I can organise a bus, this is where I would host a birthday party for a pre-adolescent.
Where: 1st Floor, Unit 111, Big Shopping Center, Ghodbunder Road, Kasarvadawali, Sai Nagar, Anand Nagar, Thane
Best for: Boys and girls from six years and above
How to reach: Take a train to Thane and hop into an auto
Timings: 11 am to 9 pm (open all days)
Budget: `375 per hour (Monday to Thursday); `475 per hour (Friday to Sunday). The rates reduce if you spend more time.
Food: Available (no outside food allowed)
Rest Room facilities: Yes
Where else to go: Big Shopping Center has an outdoor park and several indoor spaces that you can explore with kids.
Parent Poll: Great place to get kids to exercise. VFM.
Kids' Poll: Loved the obstacle course and
What's Good: Great place for parents and children to do something together.
What's Not So Good: Grip gloves were missing.
The gear and the harness seemed safe. The staff tells you to raise your hands when you need help or when you are ready to descend. If kids follow this rule, they should be safe.