Yesterday I took my kids, Poppy and Marty, to Mattel Play! in Liverpool with their Mum.
We were supposed to take them for Marty’s birthday last Friday but their Mum, Nora, was unwell so we decided to wait until that cleared up and went yesterday instead. It was great fun.
Our review of Mattel Play! (with lots of pictures) is below. Keep scrolling! 🙂
What is Mattel Play!?
For those who don’t know of it, Mattel Play! Liverpool is an interactive play centre with three fully themed zones based around your children’s favourite TV shows and characters. Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam. It’s based at the Albert Dock in Liverpool.
Each zone features multiple popular characters along with lots of interactive, fun and creative activities to keep the kids entertained and happy the entire time. It’s brilliant.
I parked in the pay and display car park next to the Salthouse Dock Boat Ramp off Salthouse Quay, right next to the Carousel which is quite expensive, but parking generally is anywhere in Liverpool and at the Albert Dock. Another option is the family friendly car park, although the cheapest option is the ACC waterfront multi-storey car park when it’s open.
You’ll need at least 3 hours parking for Mattel Play! which will cost you £8.
Tickets and Prices:
Mattel Play! isn’t the cheapest place you’ll ever take your kids for a day out. Adult tickets cost £12 each, and for children it is £3 per ticket. And that’s for a 2-hour slot. So for us that was £30 just to get inside the place, then £8 for parking. And that’s before spending in the cafe or shop.
I got Poppy and Marty a Thomas & Friends stuffed train each. Poppy got Rosie and Marty got Percy. They were £20 EACH, which is ridiculous, but it made them smile so it’s all good.
Best time to go:
As you’d probably imagine places like Mattel Play! will get incredibly busy during school holiday’s and weekends so the best time to go is during the week, for the first or last slot. We went for the last slot of the day and only saw two other families there the entire time. Pretty sweet.
For kids with autism they have autism sessions on the last Wednesday of every month between 4:30 and 6:30 where they limit the number of kids inside and lower the tone which is nice.
Our Mattel Play! Review
I love the walk from the car park to Mattel Play!. The Albert Dock is a beautiful place, and there’s a lovely carousel, old double decker bus diner and old fashioned ice cream van that you walk by to get there. I love it. Mattel Play! is based near where Fred Talbot used to do the weather.
Here’s Poppy, Nora and Marty at the entrance:
The kids were getting really excited now because, as you can see, the windows are plastered with pictures of Thomas & Friends and the other characters. My son LOVES Thomas.
When you enter, the first thing you see is the ticket desk, a cafe and the shop. There’s also a map that shows the layout and areas of each of the themed zones. Thomas & Friends and Bob the Builder are on the first floor, and Fireman Sam is on the ground floor.
Here’s a rundown of what you can find in each zone:
Bob the Builder:
- Bob’s Hub
- Wendy’s Workshop
- Building Site
Thomas & Friends:
- Knapford Station
- Sodor Steamworks
- Rosie’s Meadow
- Sodor Countryside
- Tidmouth Sheds
- Harold at Sea
- Brendam Docks
- Sodor Coal Supply
- Fire Station
- Dily’s Shop
- Ocean Rescue Centre
We decided to head into the Thomas & Friends zone first.
Here’s Marty getting tickets from Poppy at the ticket office for Thomas:
The ticket office is at the very start of the Thomas & Friends zone. There’s a chair and shop till inside the ticket office so the kids can play buy tickets to board Thomas which is very cool.
Here’s Marty in front of Thomas the Tank Engine:
He was so happy bless him. This is the Knapford Station area where you can also find the Fat Controller’s Office, the Control Room and Narrow Gauge Engines.
We then visited Harold the Helicopter in the ball pit:
That was so much fun. Nora and I took our shoes off and jumped in with the kids.
It brought back so many memories of when I was a kid and I used to play at a place in Southport that had all sorts of awesome ball pits, climbs, slides and stuff. The kids could also climb into Harold the Helicopter and there’s a slide out of the back of him going into the balls.
I buried Marty in the ball pit:
I had lots of fun tipping Marty into the balls and then burying him, and afterwards him and Poppy both buried me. I’m not sure who was enjoying it more, me or them haha.
And here’s Daddy stuck in Harold the Helicopter:
You wouldn’t think I was 30 years of age, would you? Hahaha.
I also sat in Rosie with them:
I absolutely love seeing them having so much fun. Seeing their minds run wild with adventure and creativity. And their faces lit up with happiness, joy and and childhood bliss.
Next, we headed over to the miniature train ride next to McColl’s Farm.
Here’s Marty running past Percy:
Before you get to the miniature train ride from Harold the Helicopter you have to pass Percy. All of the engines talk, too, which is awesome.
Here’s Marty taking a ride on the miniature locomotive:
The miniature train ride is really cool. Poppy and Marty were both a little hesitant about it at first but loved it once they got on it. There are handles inside that the kids can hold, they turn them around on a cog to move the train around the track, although the the poor young lady who worked there ended up doing a lot of pushing as the kids kept wanting to go around haha.
Here’s Poppy & Marty sorting fruit and veg:
At McColl’s Farm there’s a fun fruit and veg sorting station that the kids had plenty of fun with. Peppers, Broccoli, Carrots and Corn are just some of the things they have to sort out.
And that concluded our time in the Thomas & Friends zone. I think the highlight for kids in this area will be the ball pit and coal pit where they can jump around and get a bit crazy. Oh, and of course, the miniature train I’m sure is a bit hit. Ride on things are the best.
Next, it was Bob the Builder zone time:
Here’s the kids sitting on Scoop:
And Marty sat in Scoop’s bucket haha:
The Bob the Builder zone was really cool and had a lot more interactive activities than the Thomas & Friends zone. There’s a room where kids can trace Scoop onto paper, and ride around on toys. And my personal favourite, the cranes where you can scoop up sand, move it around and empty it out. The kids weren’t quite strong enough to do that alone, however.
Oh, there was also a wall with pipes that were held to the wall with magnets. You had to move them around and join them together so a ball could pass through them like drainage.
Here’s Marty collecting bricks with his wheelbarrow:
And Poppy collecting stacks of blocks:
I didn’t get a picture, but the kids used these bricks and blocks to fill a hole in a wall behind them by building a wall. That was good fun and they really enjoyed that, it takes quite some time though so about a quarter of the way through Nora knocked it down haha.
And that concluded our time in the Bob the Builder zone. There was a lot more there but I didn’t get as many pictures. Plenty of fun and lots of activities to keep the kids busy.
Finally, it was time for the Fireman Sam zone:
That’s Poppy on Juno the Jet Ski. I tried to get a picture of them both on it together but once Marty sat on the back Poppy jumped up and wanted off so that didn’t quite work haha.
The photo used in my header is obviously the Fire Engine you can climb on. There are buttons on it so you can start up the engine and steer your way to the blaze with the steering wheel. There are levers at the side with green and red lights to operate the water pump and hose, too.
Here’s Poppy filling her shopping trolly in Dilys Shop:
Dilys Shop is very cool. There’s a till and counter where kids can pay for their shopping, and then there are shopping trollies with fruit and veg boxes, and also shelves filled with tinned foods that can be purchased. As you can see, Poppy is taking her shopping very seriously haha.
Finally, here’s Poppy & Marty on Titan:
On Titan the kids can operate the air powered water cannons to put out fires. The blue thing on the end fills with air and looks like water firing out. Awesome!
Nora isn’t going to be pleased if she comes across this picture but the kids will love it when they get older and see it so it has to be published with the rest of them hahaha.
Anyway, that concludes our day at Mattel Play! Liverpool. It was a very cool and fun day. The kids loved it, we enjoyed ourselves and had fun too and if you’re looking for things to do in Liverpool or the Merseyside area with your kids then I would definitely recommend a trip to Mattel Play! at the Albert Dock. We also went on the carousel afterwards, and I’d recommend that too!