So this half term has been disastrous. I ended up with a cold on the first day so we have hardly done anything…but I was looking forward to going to Kidtropolis on the Tuesday so dragged myself out of bed, took my cold and flu meds to keep me going, and off we went.
I wish I hadn’t bothered…..I just made my cold worse for no reason.
Kidtropolis describes itself as ‘Funtastic Family Day Out’ and was held at London Excel from 26-27th October.
I don’t know about you but when I hear the words ‘fun’ and ‘family day out’ I expect lots of activities for all age ranges and it was hardly a day out when you were only entitled to a 4 hour slot for the amount you pay. Prices were £13.50 beforehand or £15.50 on the door. However the event got ‘sold out’ so no tickets were available on the door on the final 2 days.
The main activities were:
- Minecraft Hub
- Virtual Reality Experience
- Parkour Generations
- Gamers BUs
- My Little Pony Bus
- My Guiness World Records Live
- Climbing wall
- Roller Skating
So what did we do out of these activities?
We attended the Tuesday afternoon session and the place was literally packed. The queues were huge for all the popular activities so we didn’t even attempt to queue as reviews from the morning were saying the queues could be over an hour long and people ended up getting turned away. Oh and not to mention that some of the activities you actually had to book but that was not made clear anywhere….so when you got round to the activity expecting to take part you were told it was already booked up.
In the end we just ended up walking around the countless stalls who were there showcasing their products and some new products trying to drum up support for their campaigns to launch.
No-one on the stalls were pushing to sell their products but I did end up purchasing a few things for the girls just to make up for the disappointment. The main positive of the event was that we did discover some amazing companies and toys; but ultimately that isn’t what we attended for.
We subscribed to First News for my eldest which is the award-winning weekly national newspaper for children aged 7 to 14, with over two million readers every week.
We discovered some fantastic games from CoiledSpring Games. Bee in particular loved their Penguin memory game so decided to purchase it.
Oh and I have to mention Balloon Besties! We purchased 2 balloons and when Bee sat down to do some colouring a child stole it. As I was trying tactfully to get it (the parents were too busy chatting to the stall holders) he was being very rough with it…as the parents realised what was happening it flew off to the ceiling. Not once did the parents apologise or offer to get my child a new one but when we returned to Balloon Besties they kindly gave her another one even though I offered to pay.
Bee was disappointed that she did not get onto the pony bus and was also disappointed that she did not get on to the Play Doh tables even though we tried 3 times to get a space. The only real activity that she got to do was colouring a ‘brick’ on the BigJig toys stand to add to their wall of London. She also managed to get a quick play with their trains. This was probably because it was the first stall we headed to when we entered.
The ultimate highlight for Bee though was seeing paw patrol. But even that was chaos. The characters were barricaded into a circle and Bee waited patiently for 10 minutes for them to come round to where she was standing. As they got closer parents and children pretty much came up and shoved their way in….however thankfully she still managed to get a hug and a high five from both characters.
My eldest only managed to try out the Google Education where they were showing how they can bring lessons to life.
Thankfully we ate before we attended the event. There was a small eating area and the queues to even get a drink were huge. There was rubbish all over the few tables and on the floor.
All in all we were quite disappointed with the event. My husband actually ended up walking out and sitting outside while we walked around the stalls telling me never to bring him to an event like this again. Yes we were expecting queues but to travel 2 hours, pay for parking to simply just buy some products was ridiculous. Apparently some stands were giving out goody bags but we missed those. More than likely because they were the busiest stalls and we ended up avoiding them.
In all fairness some of the reviews on Wednesday and Thursday did improve and it seems like the queues reduced and entertainers were brought in to entertain the children in the queues. So the organisers did try to do their best to improve things.
Would I go again? No, as in all honesty it did feel like a toy trade fair with some activities thrown in. However if you don’t mind queues, and want to meet you tubers and gamers (none of whom I knew about anyway), then you just might enjoy it. But it has made me realise that events like this are not for our family.
Disclosure: We were sent tickets to review Kidtropolis. Although the review is kind of brief considering we didn’t do any of the activities, all thoughts and opinions are our own. We did not enjoy it but some families appear to have had a good time.