It seems to me that The Polliwogs is absolutely game on being THE largest chain of indoor playgrounds in Singapore. When they opened their fourth branch at Suntec City few years back, they proudly announced that they had THE MOST branches among all indoor playground operators in Singapore at that time. But before we knew it, we saw the closure of their East Coast and Robertson Walk branches.
However, as they closed branches, they opened new ones. While two of their playgrounds have since closed, another two have opened: First at Eastpoint Mall, and subsequently another at Annex @ Furama. Which makes them once again the largest chain of indoor playgrounds in Singapore.
The choice of location for their latest branch at Annex @ Furama was a bit out of the way for those who travel mostly by MRT. Like me. I suspect the location was chosen to keep them close to Robertson Walk where they had established a customer base during their days there. Since it was so out of the way, it took me a long time before I was motivated enough to bring MF there to check it out. But hey, better late than never right?
Active Play Area
The Polliwogs liked to give a theme to each of their playground. For e.g. the branch at Eastpoint Mall had a space theme. For this playground at Annex @ Furama, they gave it a Safari theme, complete with a fancy name. Waka Waka by The Polliwogs. Not just yet another Polliwogs but ‘Waka Waka by The Polliwogs’ okay?
The Polliwogs’ playgrounds have always been centered around active play. And just like the previous 5 branches of Polliwogs we have visited, Waka Waka, in spite of the fancy name, wasn’t all that different. In fact, the active play area here reminded me a lot of their Suntec City branch.
Putting up safari animal pictures around the playground didn’t exactly change its essence. We saw pretty much the usual tunnels and obstacles you would find at most active play areas.
The active play area wasn’t very tall, but they tried to pack in more levels of play. The result was passages that were extremely short. So if parents wanted to follow their kids around, they would have to crawl on all fours. Which was the same problem I faced at their Suntec City branch.
The slides weren’t very tall nor exciting. I think their Eastpoint Mall branch had better slides. But if it’s big slides you’re after, Amazonia‘s slide holds the title for “BBM Kids’ Favourite Slide”. Even after visiting SO many indoor playgrounds, the kids will always refer back to the Amazonia slide as THE fun slide.
I couldn’t help noticing that the active play area didn’t have ball pit (something that Polliwogs has conveniently done away with since Suntec days) and air blaster zone. Which was a bit disappointing. It seemed to me that The Polliwogs has gone with a strategy of totally removing anything that is remotely difficult to clean up. Nice try. Smart move, really. Almost sneaky. Think I wouldn’t notice.
Okay, let’s move on to what’s good. There were a couple of unique features in the active play area at Waka Waka. While most trampolines at indoor playgrounds tended to be just a tiny one for a single kid, the trampoline here was much bigger. And it had an inclined side where kids could bounce off sideways, which made it more fun than the usual flat trampolines.
Also, MF loved this V-shaped bouncer where he could either stand or sit on it to bounce up and down.
While the slide within the active play area was a tad disappointing, they did have one more area which resembled a volcano. The slide at the volcano was much steeper and faster. Kids could scale up the volcano via two sides. The left side had steps to help them up.
The right side was totally smooth, which made it slightly more difficult to scale up. This was MF’s favourite section in Waka Waka and he kept climbing up and sliding down during our visit.
If you’re wondering where you have seen a similar volcano before, we saw this volcano thingy at Harbor Land when I blogged about our trip to Pattaya last December. The volcano there was MUCH bigger and taller though. Maybe that explains my lukewarm response towards the volcano at Waka Waka.
Toddler Play Area
The Polliwogs has come a long way since their first playground at East Coast Park which didn’t have much for toddlers. Subsequently their playgrounds all had pretty decent dedicated toddler zones. The one here was PACKED with activities. To a point where I felt it was a little bit cramp.
Okay, I know I’m hard to satisfy. Too little toys, I say it’s boring. Too many toys, I say it’s cramp. I was there on a weekday afternoon so it was not too bad. But I imagined if I was here on a crowded (e.g. party) day with many toddlers running around inside, coupled with their parents. I think I would rather not imagine.
Part of the reason why it felt cramp was because there was a giant bouncy castle inside. I remembered when Polliwogs introduced a bouncy castle at their Suntec branch, I was quite happy because my kids loved bouncy castles. But now that the bouncy castle was inside the toddler zone, my kids couldn’t play there coz they were too old. I supposed they did this for safety, because the bouncy castle at Suntec back then was a nightmare with older kids threatening to jump onto younger kids. But if your kids are older and love bouncy castles, good luck explaining to them that they can’t play the bouncy castle here at Waka Waka.
There was an open space beside the toddler play area that I assumed was for events. When I was there, there was nothing on. All that was there were a lion and zebra standing guard at the corners. Which kids kept climbing onto.
Waka Adventure Cove
Similar to eXplorer Kid @ Downtown East, Waka Waka had a rope obstacle course which required an additional fee on top of the usual admission to play. There was a minimum height requirement of 90 cm and age requirement of 4 years old for the rope adventure at Waka Waka.
Other than the rope adventure course, they also had a totem course.
And a rock-climbing course. And I couldn’t help noticing that the belay system for the totem and rock-climbing courses was similar to the ones used at Clip ‘n Climb.
Interestingly, MF didn’t want to try out the adventure courses here. I suspect it looked too kiddish to him. After visiting Clip ‘n Climb quite a number of times, I can imagine why he wouldn’t find the courses here interesting. But yay, because I could save money!
I found their adventure course a little pricey. The rope course was $10 on weekdays / $12 on weekends. The totem and rock climbing courses was $6 on weekdays / $8 on weekends EACH. If you do all three, it would be $16 on weekdays / $22 on weekends. Don’t forget this was ON TOP of admission fee to the playground. So yeah, it was pricey. eXplorer Kid @ Downtown East only charged $5.50 for their rope circuit btw.
Just like all other Polliwogs, there was a cafe within Waka Waka. We tried their three cheese pizza ($11.60 nett) and it was pretty decent. But if food is your thing, you may want to check out Amazonia or Go Go Bambini. They are my two favourite playgrounds when it comes to in-house cafes.
Lockers were available for you to lock your valuables. Each locker cost $1 for a single use. You can’t keep opening and closing it – which I thought was a hassle because when I wanted to order food at the cafe, my wallet was in the locker. Good thing the staff was flexible enough to allow me to order my food first and pay just before I left. But this was during a pretty empty weekday, I’m not sure if they would allow that if the playground was more crowded, making it hard to keep track of the visitors.
This charging for single-use locker thing at indoor playgrounds never fails to rile me. But Polliwogs is definitely not the only playground guilty of this charge. Seriously… If locker situations annoyed me enough, I would just camp out at LOL Playland in future.
Toilets and Nursing Room
On the bright side, Waka Waka had toilets and nursing room WITHIN the playground. Which is a convenience I absolutely loved. I remembered it was quite a hassle when I had to keep bringing the boys to the toilet at playgrounds like *ahem* LOL Playland. Lockers or toilets. Why can’t we have both?? Oh wait. There’s Fidgets World!
If there’s one thing that The Polliwogs does well, it is parties. Their party rooms are spacious and they have a wide range of party packages to cater to various interests and budgets.
And since Polliwogs has an in-house cafe, party food and drinks are naturally provided in their party packages – which takes a load off your party planning.
Admission Fee / Play Rate
I felt that the prices for older children was pretty average, not really cheap but not really expensive, considering the size of the playground. But if you add in the fee for Waka Adventure Cove, I do think it’s a tad expensive.
The admission fee for children below 90 cm felt pretty steep though. $23 for 2 hours on weekends? I’m not sure why there was such a huge discrepancy for the toddler price here compared to their Eastpoint / Suntec branches. Okay, I haven’t been to their Eastpoint and Suntec branches for a long time, not sure how much they charge now. But when they first opened, both only charged $13 for toddlers. $23 was a huge jump! Not too sure if anything justified this $10 increase.
I don’t know whether it’s because we have been to SO many indoor playgrounds, I find it very hard to feel impressed by Waka Waka. But I think I may be biased because we just visited Harbor Land in Pattaya and FanPekka in Johor Bahru, both of which were HUGE and VERY impressive. I know it’s not fair to compare a playground in Singapore to Harbor Land or FanPekka, as they don’t have space constraints like we do here in Singapore. BUT STILL…. It’s just like after eating sushi in Japan, I can’t help feeling that Singapore’s sushi is pretty blah. Get the idea? Maybe if I haven’t been to Harbor Land in Pattaya, I would have been impressed by the volcano at Waka Waka.
Somehow I felt Waka Waka was like a jack of all trades. They have the adventure course, but it was priced out by eXplorer Kid @ Downtown East. They have rock-climbing course, but you won’t even pay attention to it if you have ever been to Clip ‘n Climb. They have a large trampoline, but I would rather go to a trampoline park for trampolines. They didn’t have the best slide. Nor the best cafe.
But jack of all trades can be a good thing. For those who like to try a bit of everything. Furthermore, Waka Waka felt very spacious compared to most other indoor playgrounds in Singapore. So if you’re the kind who likes big playgrounds, and your kids don’t need you to follow them around it (coz really, following MF around the active play area here was a torture for this old auntie), you can give Waka Waka a try!
Information on Waka Waka by The Polliwogs:
Address: 407 Havelock Road, Furama Riverfront, Annex@Furama #05-01
Getting There: Click here for directions on Furama Riverfront Hotel website
- Monday – Friday : 10am to 7.00pm
- Saturday – Sunday / Public Holidays : 9.30am to 8.00pm
Tel: +65 6738 7733
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