Fast becoming one of the most popular play centres in Bahrain, Yellow Submarine owner, Lara Wehbe Bokhowa, tells us how it all started Discuss this article
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Tell us a little bit about yourself and how Yellow Submarine came to be
Two years ago, when the idea for the Yellow Submarine came to me, my children were two and three years old, and I was struggling to find places to take them to play. So I thought, I should just open a place myself! I wanted something indoors, where the kids could run and burn all of their energy, and from where they would come home exhausted and ready to collapse in bed!
As for the name - my family and I were sitting around, and my son asked to see pictures of submarines. So we picked up a laptop, and as we were scrolling through pictures I started humming the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine song. Then I just looked up at my husband and said: Wouldn’t the name “Yellow Submarine” be nice? And that was that!
What’s on offer for parents and their little ones at Yellow Submarine?
First and foremost, a safe and clean place for children to run around! But also, a giant climbing frame, lots of great soft play and toys, which we try to add to from time to time. We just recently added an ‘Air Top’, a sort of inflatable see-saw, which based on the squeals we hear from the children riding it, has become a firm favourite.
I can’t talk about the Yellow Submarine without mentioning the staff, of course. Although they are not responsible for the children (children must be supervised by a guardian or parent at all times) they know many of the kids by name, and always give them a warm welcome! Parents and children alike can approach them and they go out of their way to ensure everyone has a great time.
What age range do you cater to?
We cater for ages zero to 12. We have a toddler area dedicated for ages zero to three, and the rest of the Yellow Submarine play area is open to all, up to and including 12 years old.
Do you offer classes and other scheduled activities? Are there any specific parent/child activities?
On Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9.30am to 11.30am we run a mums and tots group for ages zero to 4. We bring out a whole lot of toddler toys (which we reserve for those days), and the children can enjoy them along with the play area. About halfway through, the toddlers and their mums and dads make their way to our party room to have their snack (and coffee for the adults), and then we return to the play area for some songs (dancing is optional!).
On Friday mornings from 9am to 10am, we also bring out the same toddler toys for the early risers to enjoy. Usually the children enjoy the toys so much that we remove them a little later than 10am, so even if you are a little late, I encourage you to bring your toddlers. They will love the extra toys!
From time to time we will have ‘themed parties’. Right now we are planning our Christmas party, which will be held before the start of the school break. We will publish the day and times closer to the date on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Can kids have their birthday parties at Yellow Submarine?
Yes, of course. We have a very large and bright party room. Our birthday parties include time to play in the Yellow Submarine play area, followed by birthday cake and food in the party hall. Our customers are given the option of spending extra time in the play area, or playing games in the party room before the food is served. Our staff decorate the party hall with balloons, and should the parents want anything else, they can bring it to us in advance and we will hang it!
What has the feedback been like from Bahrain parents so far?
We have had great feedback from parents - they love the cleanliness of our play area, and feel that it is safe. Many of our new customers ask us to please make sure it remains this clean after a few months, not realising that we have been open over a year already! Parents also love how bright our play area and party hall are, and how helpful our staff are, which is always great to hear.
What are the entry fees and timings?
Yellow Submarine is open every day. From Saturday to Wednesday we are open from 9am to 9pm. On Thursdays and Fridays we are open from 9am to 11pm. Our entry fees are age-dependent: for one hour (not valid on Friday, Saturday, and Public Holidays) it’s free for kids under 12 months old, if they are accompanied by a sibling. Otherwise it’s BD1.5 per hour. BD2 for kids aged 12 months to two years and BD4 for kids aged three and above.
Yellow Submarine, 1st floor, Saar Mall, Avenue 13, Block 525, Saar, www.facebook.com/yellowsubmarinebahrain (17000037).
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