Mattel Play! will not be reopening following coronavirus closure
It was popular with youngsters who loved children’s favourites Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder.
But now Mattel Play! on the Royal Albert Dock has closed for good.
The adventure play centre at the Albert Dock launched in 2016 and was the first of its kind in Europe.
It was split into three themed areas dedicated to the iconic characters.
The Heritage Great Britain attraction closed in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus but has now revealed that it will not reopen.
Harold the Helicopter’s ball pool
A spokesperson said: “Following five wonderful years at the Albert Dock, we have taken the difficult decision to close Mattel Play! Liverpool.
“As the focus of the Albert Dock continued to be more bars and restaurants, we have therefore, following a discussion with the landlord, agreed to exit our lease earlier than planned.
“We would have very much liked to have remained at the Albert Dock throughout the summer months but the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and the consequences which are likely to be felt for many months, made this ambition untenable.”
This website reviewed Mattel Play! and thought it was great for younger children who were fans of Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder and Thomas.
Fans of Thomas & Friends would also love Drayton Manor Park, reviewed here: Thomas the Tank Engine proves just the ticket for a boy’s birthday break at Drayton Manor hotel and theme park
Is Mattel Play! in Liverpool as perfect for young children as it sounds – we review it.
Mattel Play! has closed since this review was written. It closed in March 2020 along with other businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic but the decision was made not to reopen, full story here.
What is it?
An indoor children’s adventure play centre split into three themed areas, Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam.
Where is it?
It is located at the iconic Albert Dock in Liverpool near to where This Morning used to be filmed.
What did we think?
It was done very well, it is not huge but all of a high standard and staff work hard to keep it tidy and clean and fresh so that nobody finds a section in a mess. Fans of Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder or Thomas the Tank Engine will be thrilled to visit. Our two children love Fireman Sam so this final section was their favourite.
Thomas & Friends
Start at Knapford Station and meet characters including Thomas, Rosie and Percy. My children’s favourite was Harold the Helicopter’s ball pool, where they could climb aboard Harold on a sea of balls. And my daughter enjoyed a ride on a miniature locomotive.
Harold the Helicopter’s ball pool
Bob the Builder
The children donned safety gear from Bob’s mobile office, before getting to work in this section of Mattel Play! The four of us spent quite a lot of time building a wall of bricks. There is also a creative part where you can do light box sketching.
Scoop the digger
This is the smallest section but has lots to entertain children who like Fireman Sam. They can climb aboard Jupiter, go to sea on Titan and Juno and put out pretend fires. There is even a Dilys’ grocery store.
Part of the Fireman Sam area
There are regular appearances by Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the Fat Controller.
Meeting Fireman Sam
Interactive photo experience
Next to the shop is a camera with a screen that you can operate. You pose for a photograph and are then shown pictures of yourself amid four different backdrops related to the characters at Mattel Play! You can buy the pictures if you like them. There was no queue when we were there so my daughter, who loved this, posed a few times to see the results!
Some seven-year-olds might be too old for this, but ours still likes Fireman Sam so got quite a lot out of it. And our four-year-old daughter loved it, especially meeting the characters.
Our top tips
*Those who like it quieter should visit at 9.20am when it opens.
*Book in advance to guarantee entry.
*It normally operates timed entry slots.
*It is an autism-friendly venue and offers special autism sessions on the last Wednesday of each month between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.
Mattel Play! information
Food: There is a cafe, picnics are not allowed.
Opening hours: 9.20am until the last pre-booked admission, which varies each day.
Cost: £12 per child (aged one to 12), £3 per accompanying adult. Babies (0-12 months) £6 when accompanied by a paying adult and free when with a paying child and paying adult.
Best for: Younger children, aged two to six.
Time needed: Two hours
Access and restrictions: There is full access for disabled visitors.
Address: If you’re using sat nav, use the postcode L3 4AA. It has not got its own car park, use one of the nearby car parks.