Mumbai for kids: Why Kurla's Happy Planet fails to impress
Happy Planet, built as a play area for children up to 12 years of age, also works as a short-time, baby-sitting centre where parents can keep their kids happy as they shop. When we tracked it down a Saturday, we found it nearly empty
Happy Planet Kurla (W)
Happy Planet, built as a play area for children up to 12 years of age, also works as a short-time, baby-sitting centre where parents can keep their kids happy as they shop. When we tracked it down a Saturday, we found it nearly empty.
Happy Planet left us feeling short-changed. Shoot the Ball (Rs 100), (seen at fairs/melas for Rs 10) consisted of a thin shelf with ball-pool balls arranged in a row. A toy gun with foam bullets is handed and the child gets six chances to shoot. Speeding Cars (Rs 100) is a magnetised pathway where toy cars are placed and all the child needs to do is thumb down the control switch. A bored staff member had one joystick and the child the other. The track finished in a minute, and has nothing to do with skill, manoeuvring or alertness.
Fast Bucks (Rs 200 for a minute) was a worse letdown. After all, the hype of it being the super-successful game at Dubai Mall that has been brought to India by Happy Planet, what we found was a transparent telephone-like booth with rumpled silver, rectangular wrapping paper. If you pay to do the session you are locked in the booth with instructions to pick at least 100 of these rectangles within 60 seconds, while a fan swirls it around the booth.
Apparently, if you pick 100 of these rectangles you receive a ‘gift’. What the gift was, we will never know. Both my kids tried it out. I don’t know how many silver strips my son managed to clutch, because the staff who let him out, didn't bother to even count the strips he had in his hand.
Bump Your Way (Rs 100) was not attempted after attempting what Happy Planet calls Skateboarding (Rs 200 for 20 minutes). The ‘skateboard’ is a plastic box and skateboarding is sitting in these uncomfortable boxes, which slide into a shallow ball pool. It is the first time my kids wanted to leave before their slotted time. I sat, as I watched my kids trying to leave the skateboard alley, while the Happy Planet staff, slouching over their phones, refused to let them out.
One attendant told my son, as he got into his ‘skateboard’ with obvious reluctance because his behind was already very sore, “Kal baitega, kya?” (Will you take till tomorrow to get in?). The staff discouraged my daughter from trying out the Arial Adventure/ Rope Course (Rs 200). Zorb All the Way (Rs 100 for two rounds) did not exist, nor did Spider Climbing (Rs 150).
The equipment left a lot to be desired, the rides were barely a minute-long and the staff ought to be more attentive
There is an area marked out with chairs stacked high, to host parties. But it was the first time my kids wanted to leave a premise. I did, without a blink.
Where 1st level, Phoenix Marketcity Mall, LBS Marg, Kurla (W).
Getting there Board a Kurla bound train on Central Railway. An auto will take you there. By road, reach via Bandra Kurla Complex.
Timings Daily, 11 am to 9.30 pm
Charges Each game is charged differently. There are packages too. Unlimited use of the space for two hours costs R999 per head.
Food & water In- house cafeteria offers fries, juices and pizzas. The mall’s food court as well as restaurants offer many options. Carry water.
What’s good Nothing that the kids tried.
What’s not good It’s poorly maintained. Indifferent staff were huddled in groups, constantly on their cellphones or chatted, and paid no attention to kids. Each game is a minute-long (average) and priced too high. Avoidable, as the kids left in a bad mood.