PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 13 May, 2012, 12:00am


In times of pouring rain or oppressive heat, when the children are bouncing off the walls, it's always good to know there's a place where they can bounce off someone else's.

Playtown at The Westwood in Kennedy Town, offers hours of fun for a single entry fee. You leave your shoes at the door (remember to take socks), and a coloured wristband means you can come and go as you please until closing time - 7pm on weekdays and 9pm on weekends.

Like most soft play centres, Playtown is full of padded primary colours that take you to the top of slides and through plastic tunnels. There's a separate area for under-threes packed with toys (most without batteries), and a ball pool where they can squirm around without fear of being squashed by an older child.

What sets Playtown apart from standard soft play centres is its ballistics area, a two-storey row of ball shooters that fire foam missiles at anyone brave enough to venture into the territory in between. It's great fun. Collecting the balls in the buckets is quite time consuming, and mock battles can occupy children for hours.

Outside the danger zone is what looks like a dance floor but is really a light box complete with games. Dodgeball seems to be a firm favourite, requiring players to dodge a moving box. If it explodes, you're out. There's also a soccer and basketball enclosure with an electronic scoreboard.

All areas are open to adventurous adults, but if you'd prefer to sit quietly on the sidelines there's an abundance of tables and even a couple of sofas. Newspapers and magazines are available, as is free Wi-fi.

One letdown is the small canteen, which sells a limited range of drinks and sugary snacks but very few savoury options. Large signs make it clear that outside food is not welcome - a problem if you want something vaguely healthy to eat.

Also, there are no toilets in Playtown. Guests must use the ones inside the shopping centre, which is only a short walk away.

Playtown might occupy 10,000 sq ft, but it does get crowded, particularly with weekend parties. And all soft play centres carry the risk of transmissible disease, but that risk must be balanced with the temptation of a few hours of hassle-free fun.

Entry costs HK$120 for children aged three to 12 on weekdays (HK$150 on weekends), and HK$100 for children two and under (HK$120 weekends). The price includes one adult. Each extra adult costs HK$50 (HK$60 weekends).

Verdict: A great option for inside play and fun for all the family, especially if you're willing to scramble through tunnels in your socks.

Shop 121-123, Podium Level 1
The Westwood, 8 Belcher's Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2258 9558