** THE DISCOVER CENTRE IS CLOSED UNTIL JULY 2016 **
A centre focused on imaginative play and storytelling, Discover is on three levels. Upstairs is a storytelling room and at set times throughout the day you can go and listen to a story. The kids are encouraged to get involved and think about elements of the story, answer questions, etc. It’s a darkened room with a large screen and lots of cushions and benches to sit on.
The basement level holds exhibitions, which change every few months, centred around a particular book/series. The area is transformed into scenes from the book and children are introduced to the story before being able to explore, find, play and interact in the space before hearing the full story at the end.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
This is a fantastic find for all parents! Everything on board is completely geared to children of all ages. There is a family fun trail which gives you fun facts to guide you through the ship including stamps you need to find and there are a whole host of games and interactive activities on all decks. They also have under fives activity backpacks although these weren’t offered to us so you will need to ask for them. They run guided tours which are fun and informative although more geared towards older children and adults. The tour ends up under the hull of the ship by the cafe. The huge space is perfect for little people to run around and explore and they often have family craft activities going on which are great fun for all (adults included!). A great half day trip out!
Address: 383-387 High St, London E15 4QZ.
Playground: Yes, the main floor of this great place is basically one big playground, inside and outside. All centred around children using their imagination. Inside there are different areas to explore with things to push, pull, press and climb on. Outside is a woodchipped garden area for exploring, including a slide, a ship and a spaceship to climb on and hide in.
Cafe: Small cafe selling hot and cold drinks and snacks. No hot food, only pre-packed sandwiches available.
Toilets: Adult and child toilets and baby changing all available.
Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Yes. Step-free access and a lift inside. There is a designated buggy room and lockers so you can dump your worldy belongings and explore baggage free. Buggies are not allowed in the centre so you’ll need to carry your baby around the activities.
Parking: No free parking nearby (that I found anyway!) Nearest car park is in the Stratford Centre although it’s quite expensive (cost me £8 for just over three hours). There is a Morrisons supermarket close by if you wanted to try that.
Train: Stratford approx. 10-minute walk.
DLR: Stratford approx. 10-minute walk.
Tube: Stratford approx. 10-minute walk.
Stratford buses: 25, 86, 108, 425, D8, 257, 308, 104, 238, 241, 262, 158, 473, 276, UL1 and 69.
Phone: 020 8536 5555.
Email: [email protected].
The main level is free play. There are objects to climb on and hide in, a teepee, a slide, musical lights to jump on, mirrors to draw on, dressing up clothes and a puppet theatre. Reading areas and lots of books are scattered around. There is an art and craft area where children can get creative. Outside is a well maintained play area with wooden boat, house, monster slide and a spaceship. The area is completely fenced off and the children can explore in and around the whole garden safely. A member of staff was leading a large game of hide and seek when we visited!
Review by Kelly Avis