It’s time to continue exploring Singapore to get some new adventure ideas together for the blog, so figured today I’d do something I’ve been meaning to do for a while – and that is my own personal review of three indoor birthday party venues. The first is Polliwogs on East Coast – a regular in our b’day party itinerary because the boys’ school was on East Coast. The other two are Bambini on Dempsey Hill, and Amazonia in Great World City. All three are great for different reasons, and all three have challenges.
By far the most common b’day party venue over the last two years for our family, this is a great venue for kids’ parties. I love where it’s situated on the beach, it’s set up in a really nice way with an outdoor area for parents to hang and watch the skating/cycling antics, the main party room is huge, but most importantly, the staff are great. The play area is also fantastic and when it’s not raining, the outdoor bouncy castle is definitely a hit with my boys. The only challenge with the outdoor bouncy castle is it’s extremely hot and sunny, plus it’s closed when it rains. I’d love to see them cover this area (and maybe put in some fans) but I like it because it adds a different dimension to one of Singapore’s indoor playrooms. Overall, you can’t go wrong holding a party here, but do try to get the main party room as the second room is very small. Also some of the parties I’ve attended have brought in entertainers, and some have just utilized the staff. Both ideas work as the staff seem to enjoy throwing kids party – which is pretty important in my mind.
- Food – of the three I’d say this place has the worst quality food. Chips, nuggets, pizza, etc.. The kids don’t seem to mind though, but it’s definitely the sort of food I avoid giving my kids whenever possible. They also completely overdo the sweets – a bonus for the kids of course, but I wish there wasn’t so much. The good thing is the New Zealand Ice Creamery next door works in partnership with Polliwogs, so ice-cream treats are always included in the party package. You can guarantee a sugar-high child after a Polliwogs party.
- Party bags – the WORST party bags I have ever seen come out of Polliwogs. Check out the tablet-looking candy we found once! It really is very bad and full of sugar, which of course the kids LOVE, but if you don’t want to give the kids this sort of a party bag, you can bring your own. A great thing included in the party bags is a free ticket for Polliwogs to use in the future.
- Cost – check out this link for the different party options, which cost anything from $528 for up to 10 children and $33/additional child, all the way up to $1,058 for 15 kids and $43/additional child. The birthday party kid also gets free access for a period of time after the birthday and there are additional costs for entertainment and services.
Bambini b’day parties are a very well-oiled machine as they’ve been offering this service since 2007 and claim to have entertained more than 10,000 kids during that time. Designed for three to 11 year olds, the parties are always good, the kids seem to love the venue even though it’s small by comparison to most of the others these days, and everything runs like clockwork. Some of the negative experiences I’ve had are the staff just don’t seem to be too excited about running the parties (it feels like a chore), and while they do an efficient job hosting, I wouldn’t say it’s brilliant. Additionally the parent’s area – which is always set up with great food – is good but try asking for an extra cup of coffee! You have to search for the busy host, get their card, and then you are allowed to order something. Bambini really should make a deal with the party parents that their guests can order whatever they want within reason. Instead I’ve found the staff make it a bit uncomfortable for a parent who just wants a cup of coffee and can’t get one themselves because they don’t have a card to pay for one! A small gripe there obviously. The entertainers at Bambini are excellent and with 10 party packages, there’s definitely something in it for everyone. There are two party rooms, both are a great size and the kids really seem to enjoy themselves – which is what it’s all about.
- Food – Bambini definitely do great food, and while you’ll find the usual suspects of chips, chicken sausages and nuggets, they also have platters of fruit, sandwiches, etc… So this is good – not that the kids eat the healthy stuff!
- Party bags – I can’t comment on the party bags Bambini provide, because the parents have provided the bags at the parties I’ve attended. If anyone has any knowledge, can you add a comment?
- Cost – think link will take you through to the b’day party booking page, where you have cheaper week day options and more expensive weekend options. To give you a feel at the top end of the price range (on weekends), the cheapest weekend party package is $876 for 18 kids and $28/child for additional kids. The most expensive is the super duper party package, where you get the whole place to yourself for two and a half hours (and I’ve been turned away on a rainy day when one such party was going on – not happy Jan) and this is $3,088 for 48 kids, and it has lots of extras.
Amazonia is a beautiful venue in Great World City, with a really fantastic and HUGE indoor playroom. I’ve blogged about it before and my negative comments focused on the expense, because there are so many additional costs if you want to do the extra stuff. But there’s no getting away from the fact that it is a magnificent indoor playroom and my kids love it. The slightly older kids really seem to enjoy it as well. We’ve been to three parties at Amazonia since it opened and they are always successful, but I have two areas of criticism. I think the staff are very uninspiring and don’t seem to know how to get the kids built up into an excited frenzy. Perhaps the owners need to invest in a bit if training with the staff on how to throw a really great party for kids, because that is definitely what I’m paying for when outsourcing a b’day party. The second is the size of the rooms – they’re absolutely tiny and it’s always a squeeze, especially as most of the parties we attend still require hands-on help from parents. It looks like the two party rooms can be opened into one bigger room, so if you’re having a bigger party, it probably won’t feel so tight. Another activity option at Amazonia is mini-golf, which we did at a party recently, and while most of the kids loved it, be warned that some of the little ones actually got a bit freaked out in the dark with luminous dinosaurs appearing around every corner.
- Food – Amazonia by far has the best quality food for both the kids and the parents. The choices are not that different from the other two venues, but the quality is definitely superior, and like Bambini, there are some healthy options in the mix.
- Party bags – they do a party bag with some high quality Amazonia-branded items – like key fobbs – but it looks a bit barren. Also if you attend a few parties here, you tend to get the same items again and again. I’d definitely recommend going with the party bags supplied, but perhaps add a lollipop and a few balloons to liven it up a bit. My boys consider it boring!
- Cost – all the current details can be found here, and there seems to be three (or is it four?) party options ranging in price from 15 kids for $695 + $32.10/additional child, all the way up to 15 kids for $1,016.50 and $48.15/additional child, which includes a round of golf or 20 minutes in the space ball room.
There you go. All are good for different reasons, and they all have their challenges, but if you’re looking for an option for your mini-loves’ birthday, I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these choices. Although you really need to plan to spend more than $1,000 on your kids party – with everything else included – because let’s face it, that’s the going rate in Singapore these days.
I hope this information is useful and please do share any comments or feedback you have on the three above if you feel inclined? I’m sure other parents would appreciate it and you may even disagree – which is always very cool by me. I believe, that as individuals, we assess things from very different points of view, so this blog is just my opinion on the three options.
BTW I’ve got a SingaporeKids365 board on Pinterest if it’s part of your world?