Distancing themselves from plastic-jungle kids centres, Nubo’s beautiful clean lines and muted colour palette feel like a nod to the function and simplicity of the Scandinavian design style. An abundance of play opportunities are elegantly laid out in a way that invites children to participate, without resorting to loud music or flashing lights. Educators are on hand for “facilitated play” with natural light drenching the venue throughout, thanks to floor to ceiling windows. With innovative, child centred design elements, such as the entry slide and reading nooks, Nubo is a delight to explore, for adults and children alike.
Play areas are thoughtfully divided. For example, the quiet ‘library’ is located in the furthest corner from the busy ball pit area. You will immediately notice the large rope structure towering above the other play areas, with two large slides accessible to over 4’s.
The library is decked out with cosy book nooks, seating and a hot air balloon feature for a reading session with a birds eye view.
The art space is laid out with several creative activities, unless a workshop is on, and an educator is usually present to help guide the craft. Workshops change daily and can be anything from introductory robotics to dance to cooking. Check the schedule here for workshop times (they are included in your entry fee but can fill up fast)
The next room boasts wall to wall magnets and blue foam building pieces. In front of the cafe area is a beautifully designed ball pit, slide and obstacle section with clear panels to assist with supervision.
A sweet play space for babies and crawlers sits to the side of this area, all within view of the cafe seating. Upstairs you will find a ‘home corner’ room, decked out with cooking equipment, appliances and market style toy food.
A facilitated play room rotates through new activities and resources depending on the weekly schedule. Both rooms overlook the rest of the centre and the low windows are fantastic for babies to observe the action below.
Food and Drink
Nubo’s cafe advocates healthy options including fresh fruit, salads and yoghurt-based smoothies. Vegans rejoice, with cookies and muffins catering to lactose intolerance, egg allergy and dietary choices (including raw dishes). The menu is in an all day breakfast format and hot drinks have the option of regular, soy or almond milk. The menu was labelled “temporary menu” when we went, so updates may be in the works.
Even the loveliest of places often leave design at the door when it comes to bathrooms. Not here. With toilets so groovy that little ones may think they are still in the play area, Nubo makes an impression. Attention to detail is apparent around every turn, with child sized stalls, sinks and soaps. Baby change areas are available, as are comfortable feeding spaces, and all facilities are impressively well kept. I have always felt very comfortable breastfeeding throughout the centre. In fact, I have featured pictures at Nubo in our Breastfeeding in Public guide.
What’s the catch?
- Parking is pay and display unless you are lucky enough to nab a spot marked “Nubo”. There are only a handful of these and they are not located particularly close to the building.
- The entry fee can add up, especially you have more than one child. Access is charged by the hour. Nubo is for children aged 0-10, although under 1’s are FREE with a paying sibling.
All things considered, Nubo was a breath of fresh air in a world of otherwise plastic play. Not only does the atmosphere bring a sense of space and calmness but it delivers on substance, as well as style. Play is encouraged, not directed and spaces are inviting, not contrived. Furthermore, workshops are innovative and honour the potential of little ones to thrive on new and exciting concepts and ideas. Nubo is a truly unique and adventure-worthy play destination for Sydney families.
Where is Nubo?
If you’re out of area, next time you drop someone off at the airport, pop into Nubo. It is just around the corner from Sydney Airport and within walking distance of The Grounds of Alexandria.