Strapped for ideas on what to do with the children today? Head to the Mall Bangkhae on Petchkasem Road in Thonburi, across the river from Bangkok, and enjoy a (very full) day of play!
The mall officially opens at 11am, but Level 4, which houses Kidzoona, a huge indoor playspace; and Fantasia Lagoon, an outdoor rooftop water park, opens at 10.30am. There is an entrance via the car park with lifts that afford direct access to this floor. On weekday mornings, you’re likely to have the whole floor to yourself.
Kidzoona is well suited for babies and younger kids. There’s an area equipped with small wooden toys and giant stackable blocks that is dedicated for children up to two years old. Also, a faux town offers role-playing fun, including costumes, hats and accessories for the operation of a supermarket, sushi bar, hamburger joint, cake shop, ice cream parlour, flower stand, doctors’ surgery, pizza shop and post office. The latter, featuring postman bags with postcards bearing pictures of the various shops, was a definite highlight. The kids loved sorting and delivering the letters to each store’s letterbox, practicing their critical thinking skills.
Additionally, Kidzoona provides two large playgrounds; one boasts a slide and basic climbing frame for toddlers, while the other is for toddlers and older kids, with more complex climbing equipment, such as a spider’s web, bridges, slides and monkey bars, in the middle of a giant ball pit. Children will generally love to race around the expansive area, playing on three inflatable slides, including two very tall ones, as well as explore a sand play area with “magic” sand that can be squeezed and moulded; a separate area with educational toys, such as plastic puzzles and shapes, a toy train set, doll houses and small musical instruments; two giant blow up tubes that they can jump inside and roll back and forth (lots of laughs to be had!); and a 20-metre inflatable running track that doubles as a trampoline.
Parents and guardians are welcome to join the fun, or lounge in a sitting area with magazines and drinks. Other facilities include lockers and toilets (within the playcentre!). Outside Kidzoona, vendors sell a range of goods, including toys and clothing. There are also inexpensive food stalls, arcade games and SF Cinema City.
For some fantastic water play, Fantasia Lagoon offers water slides, large pools, a lazy river, and play areas fitted with waterfalls and whirlpools. The facilities are well kept, clean and safe — children over 90 centimetres tall will be able to stand in the pools with ease. While there are some height restrictions on the larger slides, smaller slides are available for the younger set.
For a full day of fun, bring socks for the entire family (a requirement at Kidzoona); and swimsuits, sunscreen and a swimming cap (a must for everyone entering Fantasia Lagoon). Towels, lockers, inner tubes and swimming caps are available for hire at the water park. Both Kidzoona and Fantasy Lagoon can be re-entered liberally.
To refuel, the Mall Bangkhae conveniently offers all the major chain eateries; our favourite is Ootoya Japanese, which serves a range of quality Japanese dishes, including kids’ meals, in booth-style dining or on low, Japanese-style tables.