Our first visit to Shay Kinsella’s Dreamland in Limerick was when my twins were three. We have since returned twice, even getting to meet Santa in the ‘sensory cave’ which was a truly magical experience.
On one occasion my eight year old nephew came along and whilst it does cater for up to the age of nine, I feel the best age group is slightly younger. However, that being said, he also gave it the thumbs up and would go again.
Dreamland is Ireland’s first all-inclusive play centre for children to play together regardless of their ability or disability. Dreamland is the vision of the Share A Dream Foundation.
This place is different to your typical soft play-centre. I would describe it more as a role-play wonderland. As you turn the corner of the wide-ramp entrance a bright colourful village waits for you.
The first thing you notice on the way down the ramp is a window into the inside of an airplane, and as you enter Dreamland you duck under the plane’s nose! To the right is a castle with a climbing frame and a big shiny slide to escape down.
You get to visit the post office, do your grocery shopping in the on-site supermarket and experience a computerised floor light game which had both adults and kids enthralled!
Little boys and girls alike had great fun dressing up as fire officers in the fire station before heading over to the construction site or games room, finishing off with a dance in the disco cave.
When noise levels got too high we paid a brief visit to the sensory room which is a calm room with bubble lights, textured cloths and lit carpets.
No visit would be complete without visiting the dress up parlour where your smallie could run around Dreamworld as a princess, a knight or a fireman. Then if they were undecided whether vetinary, hairdressing or medicine was for them, there were opportunities to play at all of these in the hospital, hairdresser and vetinary offices.
Donald Duck went down a treat with the twins, and it was great that he happily posed for photos with each and every child at the throne.
Parents sit upstairs and have tea or coffee if they want, but to be honest it was so much fun playing and interacting with the twins and the other kids that we spent the entire time slot in Dreamworld too!
The shiny, red slide is a big attraction which meant we spent a lot of time travelling up and down this area (strict height/age restrictions apply to sliding solo) but it was a good excuse for us to enjoy the slide!
There have been debates over the price, and it would be remiss of me not to mention it. Yes, I think compared to a soft play-centre it is priced higher as the adults are also charged, but this is an experience the whole family will truly enjoy.
The charge for adults helps to subsidise the cost for sick and disabled children to visit for free.
I am happy to pay that little bit more to one place where all children can play together on equal playing ground. For two adults and three children we paid €40.
We left Dreamland with memories of great family fun, flying planes, buying all the croissants in the supermarket, manning the fire station and sliding down the slide. We will certainly be back again to make some new memories with the twins!
You can find out more on www.dreamland.ie