Our baby girl Ava turned 3 on August 3rd and we celebrated her birthday at Funky Monkeys in Dundrum. (How the hell do we have a 3 year old!) Funky Monkeys have soft play centres located across Dublin, Northern Ireland and the UK. The Dublin centres are at Dundrum, Citywest and Clarehall. It's geared towards children aged 8 and under.
We chose Funky Monkeys as Ava's party location because it was suitable for a wide range of ages. Many of the other activities we were looking into were very specific about age range (for example it had to be all 3 year olds and older or younger children couldn't participate.) We both come from such large families that it was important to be able to include all our nieces and nephews in the celebrations. We also wanted parents to be able to come and have a cuppa and chat while the kids played. If we had done other activities this may not have been possible. Many places charge extra to allow parents to stay.
Ava had the best time ever. She played hard and partied hard! From her little sweaty face it was clear that she had the time of her life. She was so happy to be surrounded by her family and friends. I hadn't been to Funky Monkeys since before Ava was born, and I was really impressed with the layout and facilities. The layout is really convenient in that it's possible to sit down with a cup of tea and still be able to see your children playing. I've been to centres before where you literally cannot sit down if you have a toddler on the loose as you won't be able to keep your eyes on them. There's also two really lovely spots dedicated to babies and under 3's which is handy for the smaller ones. There are loads of toilets/changing facilities, plenty of space for buggies and a really wide selection of food, drinks and snacks. Being in Dundrum it's a really handy location. You do have to pay for parking but it's only €3 for 3 hours. And if you decide to do your shop in Tesco afterwards you get free parking if you spend €30.
We had the party at 10am on a Sunday morning which worked out perfectly. The kids were able to play for an hour while it was relatively quiet in the play area and then they moved to the party room when it was starting to get busier. If you are the parent of a child under the age of 6, then more than likely you are familiar with the 7th circle of hell that is a soft play centre at peak time on the weekend. Thats why we didn't hold the party in the afternoon. Clever thinking mama.
I have to say that staff were so attentive, going above and beyond to make us comfortable and ensure we had everything we needed. Gillian and the team are so friendly and approachable. We were very impressed with the service and would 100% go back for another party or just to play.
We were very kindly gifted Ava's party. But if you’d like to book a party here the cost is as follows. Per child is €15 at the weekends.
-Playtime through Funky Monkeys
-Private Party Room
-Hot food – pizza and chicken nuggets with chips and ice cream
-Unlimited blackcurrant and orange squash
-Party bags for all children
-VIP return pass for birthday boy/girl
-Invitations (downloadable from our website)
-Your own party host
There are spaces for smaller parties, but we were in the biggest room which very comfortably fit 20 children and 20 adults. Food, drink and party bags are included in the price. All you need to do is bring the cake and candles. There is also the option of booking out the entire centre for your personal use and it's not actually that much more expensive. You do have to get in touch with them by email or phone in order to do this.
Speaking of cake…
We were very kindly given an incredible cake from Camerino Bakery on Capel Street who do the most delicious cakes, cookies and award winning brownies. I’ll be going back there very soon to sample some more of their yummy treats. The cake we got was a gluten free chocolate almond with buttercream frosting. It was gluten free so that Audrey could have some too. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I'm very good at baking- and usually I would make our own cake. But I have to admit this was incredibly yummy. In fact, it was one of the best gluten free cakes I've ever tasted. Here is their website.
Another unexpected treat was that the lovely Grace from Over The Moon Events got in touch with me on Insta to see if we'd like her to decorate the party room for Ava. I said absolutely and so she came along to decorate the party room for us. It added such a special touch to the day. Rainbows and pink! Not only is she one of the kindest people I've met online, she is also incredibly talented. Check out her Instagram page here. She does any event- baby showers, weddings, parties etc. If you have an event, she is the woman to talk to. I'm incredibly grateful for her generosity. Thanks Grace!
Thanks again to everyone who helped to make Ava's 3rd birthday so special. And thanks to all our family and friends who came along to celebrate our very own 'Baba Pineapple.'
To check out the Funky Monkey website please click here. Or to discuss a party booking, you can email Gillian at email@example.com