Panda Play Cafe Ballsbridge playcentre

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Old Belvedere Rugby Club, 28A Anglesea Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
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Panda Play Cafe is the ultimate playcentre for parents and children under 5 living in south central Dublin. The cafe is located in Ballsbridge and it opened in 2011, as the first play cafe in Dublin. The idea of operating a playcentre that is suitable for kids under 5 only is unique and clever at the same time, as playcentres usually focus on older kids and although most of them have „toddler areas”, they are not too enjoyable for very young babies and kids between 2-4, because they are too old for ball pits and yet too young to play together with kids aged 8-10. Therefore, Panda Play Cafe is a haven for this „neglected” generation and their parents, who are able to sit back, enjoy a coffee or a cake and watch their children play freely. The cafe’s atmosphere is much more relaxed than that of an average playcentre, but it is still stimulating for babies and young children. There are plenty of ride-ons, trikes to run around, a ball pool, play houses, costumes, books, crayons, several dolls, a play kitchen, a Little Tikes castle with a small slide, numerous cars, baby bouncers, walkers, play mats and many-many other toys suitable for kids under 5. From time to time new toys appear in the cafe, the batteries are often charged, there are no broken or dirty toys. The entry fee is reasonable, halved between 3 and 4 o'clock, but otherwise there is no time limit, which is very generous. Kids older than 5 can visit the cafe for free with their younger siblings if they stay at their parents' table and babies under 1 can also enter for free with a paying sibling. Free wifi is available for working (or bored) parents, credit cards are accepted.
In the beginning of 2016, a new room opened for babies and toddlers under 2, so the play area of the cafe nearly doubled, which is great considering the place's popularity .
Unfortunately sometimes the venue has to be closed due to the rugby club’s private events, so it is advisable to follow the play cafe’s Facebook page for the latest updates.

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Bus: 15, 15a, 15b, 49, 49a, 54, 65, 65b
Entry is priced.
You can visit this place even if it rains.
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I have been going to Panda Play Cafe, Ballsbridge with my two kids for over a year now. My 2 year old daughter and 6 year old son (despite him being outside the suggested 0-5 age range) both love it there - as do I! To be able to sit and chat with my sister sipping a cup of tea while our children happily and safely play within view is wonderful. My kids enjoy choosing between the tapas and novelty-shaped sandwiches. For mothers or fathers with tiny babies to have somewhere to go to interact with (or just observe!) others in a similar situation is, quite frankly, priceless. Owner Siobhan and her dedicated staff have created a welcoming place for otherwise frazzled parents and minders to enjoy a quality coffee while their wards play safely with the bright array of age-appropriate toys. The manager, Jenny and assistant manager, Jane, are friendly, helpful and downright lovely. Dressed as Disney princesses or rubber-sword wielding pirates, both girls regularly interact with the delighted and fascinated children. Often armed with a balloon creation crafted by Jane or a colourful face painting from Jenny and proudly displaying a panda stamp on their fists, the now well fed and nicely tired-out little ones leave with their grateful carers. Thank goodness for panda play cafe - 5 stars.

written by Amanda brady on 2013-03-02

Panda Play Cafe is brilliant! I can take my three sons of varying ages and they are all entertained. There are toys for children up to five years of age. My oldest loves to play in the ball pit, my two year old likes the trains table and kitchen and my baby likes the jumperoo. I had my son's birthday party there last year - all the children had a great time and I didn't have to worry about clean up! The girls who work there are lovely! They know the customers' and children's names. The food there is reasonably priced, they serve healthy food and snacks - the soup is delicious! A great place for everyone to enjoy, parents can relax, chat with other parents or read a magazine, savour a coffee and be able to keep an eye on the children while they play.

written by Julie on 2013-02-25

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