I must confess that when I’m trying to think of things to do with the kids during any school holiday, a trip to a shopping centre is not usually the top of my list. Dragging my two from store to store with each of them either complaining that they’re bored or pleading with me to buy them whatever shiny thing has just taken their fancy is just not my idea of fun. So it was with a sense of trepidation that I agreed to check out the special Kung Fu Panda themed activities taking place at my local intu shopping centre, The Potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, last week.
When I was planning my day I made the happy discovery that a brand new Cineworld cinema opened at The Potteries last year, and the even happier discovery that during Half Term they were showing Movies for Juniors films every morning. This is a great scheme whereby slightly older movies are shown in the morning with hugely discounted ticket prices. We’d usually pay about £25 for a family ticket to a movie, but with Movies for Juniors all four of us could see Hotel Transylvania 2 for less than £6.50 – bargain!
So our day out was planned. Movie first, then a wander around the shopping centre, a try of the Kung Fu Panda activity for the day, which was a digital spray paint graffiti wall, and then lunch out at one of the restaurants.
The addition of Cineworld to The Potteries is great. There’s a really nice terrace area with a row of restaurants leading up to the cinema entrance. The cinema itself is a good size, with a total of 9 screens ensuring a range of movies. It has a concessions stand, and a cozy seating area with sofas for when you’re waiting. I don’t know how crowded it would get at peak times, as it was pretty quiet for the early morning show with just a few other families around. The only slight issue I found was that the seats are closer to the screen than I’m used to in the larger multiplexes, and the seats I’d picked through the online booking meant I was sitting quite close and looking up for the whole film, where I prefer to be further back and looking forward. Now I’ve discovered that, though, I know which row of seats I’ll be booking for future visits. I also saw a good stack of kids booster seats in the corridor next to the screen entrance, although there was a good rake to the seating and neither of my two felt that they needed one this time.
After the movie we headed into The Potteries shopping centre. The digital graffiti wall was great fun – it was a huge screen running some software which allowed the kids to use a virtual spray can to create anything they liked. The kids could either choose to have a photo taken for this activity, or could start with a blank canvas. My two decided they wanted a picture of Daddy to draw on!
The kids were given a good amount of time to complete their graffiti, and at the end we were given three printed photo copies of their masterpiece – one for each of them, and one for their “model”. For a free activity it was very good, and certainly made a trip to a shopping centre much more fun for the kids. They’re both now looking forward to seeing Kung Fu Panda 3 when it opens in cinemas next month.
After we’d played with the digital graffiti wall we headed upstairs in The Potteries to the customer services desk, where the kids collected their Kids Club bags. This is a another way to keep your kids quiet during your shopping trip – signing up to the kids club means you will receive offers and discounts from intu as well as information about future family events like the Kung Fu Panda 3 ones this half term, and your kids will get a little goodie bag which includes a colouring book and pencils.
After spending some fun time in The Potteries, with no family arguments, and only a few “Mummy can I have this?” questions (beware of Red5 for that, although it’s an awesome shop!), we headed to Frankie & Benny’s for lunch, before heading home. All in all it was a very fun family day out, and I like the extra activities that intu put on for the kids. I shall be looking out for similar events next holiday!
Disclosure: We were invited by intu Potteries to try out their Half Term Kung Fu Panda 3 activities.