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Detailed Review of Royce Kids Gym
I have heard many fantastic reviews about Royce Kids Gym and many parents vouch that it is THE best indoor playground in Singapore. However, I have never gotten past the exorbitant entrance fee (
$25 $26 for a 1-hour trial), especially when there were so many other indoor playgrounds in Singapore that offered free entry for babies below 1. But after I saw my friend’s recent photographs of Royce Gym and it looked so fun, I decided to part with my $25 to let MF go in to play.
I was there at 4.30pm on a Friday and the gym was pretty crowded for a weekday!
Royce Gym provides lockers for parents to leave their valuables. It was free (well, I expect it to be, considering it cost a bomb to enter) unlike Go Go Bambini’s where you needed to pay $2 (if I remember correctly) to use the locker.
The first thing that struck me was how different Royce Gym was from other indoor playgrounds! It was brimming with toys! The other indoor playgrounds I’ve been to were mainly focused on large climbing structures (active play), but Royce Gym was focused on the variety of small toys to keep the kids entertained forever (pretend play)! Really, the amount of toys there, I didn’t think MF could finish playing with all of them in his lifetime. What you see in the photos below was just a fraction of what they had.
They also had a reading corner with cute sofas and books, but I skipped it entirely. If I wanted MF to read, I would bring him to the community library right across the road from my house which is free. Let’s not waste time.. Time is precious here!
Moving on.. The swings section. The last time I tried putting MF into a swing at the JWT gym trial, he hated it and cried like crazy. But it’s been almost 2 months and MF has grown so much in the past 2 months, I figured it was time to try it out again. Oh well, he was still not a fan.
Next was the Kitchen Area. You know how kids all love to pretend to cook? Royce Gym had a number of kitchen toy sets and tons of utensils for the kids. And after dozens of kids have played there, the place pretty much resembled Hell Kitchen. I did not envy the staff here.
While MF was busy popping fake fruits into his mouth, there was an announcement to bring the kids to the centre of the gym for an activity session. Now that was unexpected, didn’t know they had activity sessions! I grabbed MF to join the other kids at the area where they had laid down a giant parachute. The session consisted of 3 activities: Sing-along to Barney’s ‘If you’re happy and you know it’, jumping under the giant parachute and shooting bubbles with bubble guns. Well, MF couldn’t participate in any, so he just watched from the side while I snapped a few pictures of the jubilant older kids.
Okay, back to play. Other than kitchen sets, they also had toy houses, which they used soft toys from Sesame Street and Barney to create a theme for each house.
They also had too-many-to-count ride-on vehicles if your little bub wants to go for a ride. I let MF test out the smallest one available. Not bad, he could actually take a few steps on it! Look how smug that made him.
Now, it’s time for some serious exercise. They had 4 of these stairs / slides ‘tree houses’ of varying heights and a large train structure around if your kids want to climb.
What if you bub doesn’t want to climb? No problem. They even had television to watch and computer games to play!
By now, you’re probably wondering.. How did I manage to explore so many things in a one-hour trial? Well, I caved in.. Signed up for the membership and coupon which allowed MF to play for 2.5 hours instead of 1.. I will talk more about it later.
There was no way I could finish covering all the things they had, such as the roller coasters (wavy ramps where kids could ride a car along), Thomas the train miniature track and little shopping carts filled with tons of toys that kids were pushing all around.
And not forgetting MF’s favourite.. Ball pit!
They even had a feeding tent for Mummies! But I’m not sure I want to feed my baby in there. There was netting at the sides so people can look right in. And with so many kids around, it’s only a matter of time before a curious kid pokes his or her head in, or open the curtain wide open for the whole wide world to look inside. If you need to nurse, Liang Court has a fantastic nursing room in Basement 1.
How they managed to pack so much stuff into one small area is beyond me.
As for the coupon I mentioned earlier, here’s how it works: You need to sign up for their membership (currently it’s $55 for one year). Then, you can buy a coupon which entitles you to 10 visits of 2.5 hours each for
$140 $150. The 2.5 hours can be split into 1.5 hour + 1 hour within the same day, which is good, because you and your kid can take a break in between.
So how does this compare to the other indoor playgrounds in Singapore? If your child is below 2, it is still on the expensive side, but comparable with what other playgrounds charge for children above 2. But unlike other playgrounds, there is no super-large play structures for older children here. Also, most other playgrounds offer unlimited play time on weekdays, but the coupon only entitles you to 2.5 hours. But considering the endless number of things that can keep young kids occupied here, I still think it’s worth the money, and your child will be playing with something different every time you visit.
Also, Royce Gym is pretty particular about hygiene and cleanliness, as they have air purifiers all over the gym, and they actually close for half an hour in the afternoon (12.30 to 1pm) for cleaning. 🙂
On the downside, Royce Gym does not have a cafe where you can sit and eat while watching your kids play, something that still makes Fidgets my favourite playground to spend a lazy afternoon. (At Royce Gym, I feel so tired myself after the whole session.. Because I needed to follow MF around full-time.)
Second Visit to Royce Kids Gym (3 Oct 2011)
This visit, I was a bit more experienced and headed straight to the little lockers to lock up my valuables first. Then I noticed there was a diaper-changing table next to the lockers! How convenient! Wonder why I didn’t see it the last time.. hmmm….
This visit, MF spent quite a bit of time at the Thomas section. There were sooooo many Thomas themed toys there!
While MF was engrossed with the Thomas toys, I hopped over to the swings section nearby to snap more photos.
I wasn’t intending to let MF play with the swings, because he hates swings. But as I was hanging around the swing section taking photos, I saw the staff installing a new sailboat swing. Couldn’t resist popping MF into it for a shot. Well… He still hates swings, and he managed to climb out of this one! Pretty dangerous… Reminder to self: STOP attempting to put MF into swings!
At the swing section, I noticed some little bumpy pads that I didn’t notice in my first visit.. I have no idea what they are for, they remind me of foot reflexology (like those rocks in senior citizen corners)..
Moving on, I gave the ball pit a miss this time and headed to the kitchen area to take photos of stuff I missed out previously.. Here’s the princess sofas and the rack of fake food / utensils that MF can’t stop rummaging through…
On to the toys section… This time I decided to take a closer look at the toys on the racks.. And I noticed there is a whole rack of my favourite kind of doll houses! This is my childhood dream come true!! But too bad, MF doesn’t share my childhood dream and he was not the least bit interested in playing with them, no matter how much I tried to convince him that they are fun… He very much preferred to do some slam dunks.
Beside the toy racks, there is a tool table that I totally didn’t notice during my first visit.. MF loved the little bolts and tools, but at 9 months, he was mostly interested in trying to stick them into his mouth than using them to develop his psycho-motor skills.
It got too tiring for me to try to stop MF from eating up those little bolts, so I moved him away and let him crawl to whatever interests him… And he ended up at this carpark toy. This reminds me of ‘Hot Wheels’ from my own childhood.. I think I had a toy like this.. It’s a carpark with ramps and lift and a little car wash!
Not far from the carpark toy is a fire station toy.. My nephew would have loved this, he loves firemen and firetrucks and is always parading around in his fireman hat. MF didn’t share his cousin’s love that much.. He went there, grabbed two wooden ladders and crawled off.. I had to chase after him to put the ladder back in place… Bringing MF to Royce is really tiring for me!
Around the toy section, there are also a computer game station, block-building tables, puppet show theatre and a board with tessallation / jigsaw puzzle-like stuff.
There are also musical instruments (organ and drums) and MF absolutely loved hitting on the drums.. He basically loves hitting anything that makes loud noises.. At home, he would keep knocking his toys on the floor, and I have to keep stopping him before the neighbours complain.. But over here, he can knock all he wants!
Out of nowhere, MF found a doll of a baby… I have NO idea where that doll popped out from.. It’s creepy!
While MF was busy trying to resuscitate the baby doll, I took some photos of the ‘roller coasters’ (ramps for kids to ride cars along) and the cars / walkers available:
Then I spotted a rack with all barbie doll related toys… Barbie dolls! Such a classic.. Indeed, a playground like this wouldn’t be complete without Barbie dolls! It is sandwiched between the toy houses, I was too excited to let MF play in the toy houses the last time that I totally didn’t see this rack before…
I thought I had seen it all by now… Then I noticed a baby crawling out from under the tree house… I bent down to see where she crawled out from.. Lo and Behold! There is a tunnel for babies to crawl! I put MF in one end and quickly ran to the other end to take a photo of him crawling out.. Thankfully he is brave enough to crawl right through and didn’t stop halfway! (Imagine having to crawl into the tunnel to rescue him if he did..)
After all these strenuous workout, I decided it’s time to give the library a chance… While MF was busy ransacking the book shelves, I noticed there are some stacking toys in the library! And there is also this box-in-a-box toy which follows the concept of Russian Dolls (you know, those wooden dolls that get smaller and smaller? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this wikipedia link)
Anyway, the library here has stuff that you will not be able to find in community libraries: Books that can read to you! I tried playing with this dictionary thingy.. By right, if you point the pen to a word, it will read out the word.. But I think I played it wrongly, coz it kept reading out the wrong word to me.. Oh well…
As I was resting against the cushions in the library, there was someone rolling a boy around inside this blue thingy.. MF got totally excited at the sight of it! I contemplated putting MF inside and rolling him… But decided against it, I don’t think this activity is meant for babies.. I just put it stationary and let MF crawl through the little hole.. which he did happily.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something.. There is a rock-climbing wall hidden behind the train structure! Unbelievable.. A rock-climbing wall! And I never noticed it all these while!
I’m amazed that there are so many things that I didn’t notice during my first visit.. Every time I turned a corner, I will spot something and ask myself, “Hey, why didn’t I notice this before?”.. Like I said previously, there are soooo many toys here that MF would never be able to finish playing with all of them in his lifetime! And I would never be able to finish taking photos of all of them.. Pop down to Royce Gym to see it for yourself! I’m sure your kid will have loads of fun here.. It is worth every cent of the (not-very-cheap) entrance fee!
Oh, there is also a DVD corner with tons of Barney DVDs (plus some other titles, but I only noticed Barney coz it’s MF’s favourite).. Forgot to take photo of that!
Update on Royce Kids Gym (14 April 2012)
Royce Kids Gym changes their toys from time to time. One of the most significant change is this Princess / Barbie doll corner that has been growing and growing. Not that it benefits MF, he skips it totally every time we’re there (THANK GOODNESS!), but the girls will probably love it. Just to jog your memory, this is what the barbie corner used to look like. But look at it now:
They also have this really pretty Disney Princess themed stove in the kitchen pretend-play area.
And here’s a close-up of a matching Disney Princess make-up table.
Even the cushions and gym ball gotta have Disney Princesses.
Princess jigsaw puzzle, anyone?
And just look at all these toys on the toy rack!
If you haven’t already done so, bring your little princess down to Royce, I’m sure she’ll love it. Note that they have recently increased their play rate. Membership still costs $55 a year, but each visit it now $15 for 1 hour, $16 for 1.5 hour (up from $14/$15), and the package for 10 visits of 2.5 hours is $150 (up from $140).
In the meantime, MF is much more interested in the Cars video game… Boys.
Update on Royce Kids Gym (14 April 2012)
Royce Kids Gym recently added a REALLY cool Happy Land corner!
I’m a big fan of ELC’s Happy Land.. If not for the fact that they cost a bomb, my house would be filled with them! If you never heard of Happy Land, there is a small notice that tells you a bit about it here:
Before this, the Happy Land toys were placed on an inconspicuous shelf in the furthest corner.. I didn’t even notice it during my first visit. Now that it’s taken out and placed nicely on play mats, it’s so much easier to play with them.
Other than the Happy Land corner, the Lego land corner has also seen improvement! Last time, it was just empty tables with the bricks kept in baskets below.. But now, there are ready-made Lego structures for the kids to play with (and perhaps inspire their creativity).
The fire station toy that MF loved playing with now has neighbours: a carpark and a space station!
And how about teaching your kiddos how to shop with this? I think it’s kinda cool.
Sadly, MF’s favourite wooden tool bench has been replaced with a plastic version. MF used to play with the wooden tool bench all the time, but he shows zero interest for this plastic one.. I guess he’s like me, I have always preferred wooden toys to plastics ones.
They have also removed the small roller coaster.. Too hazardous maybe? The big extreme coaster is still around, but MF can’t play with that independently yet.. Oh well, he can still play with the roller coaster at Hokey Pokey.
Royce Kids Gym Admission Fee / Play Rate
Address: Liang Court, 177 River Valley Road, #02-20/21, Singapore 179030
Tel: 6720 1111
Opening Hours: 10am to 6.30pm (Mon – Fri) / 10am- 7pm (Sat and Sun)
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