Oh the excitement. What a fabulous place - it was like a climbing Cave of Wonders. The tether ropes are counter-weighted, so they actually help pull the kids up, and coming down is half the fun.
There are so many different climbing walls, inventive and colourful. Not what I'd expected at all... way better! So much to do. So much to try. You could spend all afternoon there (if you didn't have a twitchy two-year-old).
I strapped Miss Fab into her harness while the Hubby buckled up Dash and juggled the Scrag (who just wanted to get climbing too).
The first wall the kids attempted was colourful backlit bricks. Dash scurried up and swung down grinning. Miss Fab (a regular spider monkey) bounced excitedly on the spot waiting for her turn.
As she climbed up, we stood below cheering her on, until we realised that she was... sobbing??! But still... climbing???!! She was about 3/4 of the way up the wall, terrified but still keeping on going.
"Come back, honey, let go, just come down..." I called. She returned to earth and crumpled in a tearful heap. I unclipped my baby girl and cuddled her while she sobbed, "I don't want to do this anymore, I want to go home..."
The floor manager saw our plight and hurried over offering a jar of sweeties. He spoke to her about just climbing as high as she felt comfortable and then coming back down... (great staff!!)
She wiped off her tears but was still unconvinced. I suggested that we just have a walk around and see if there was anything that took her fancy to have a go at, which she relucantly agreed to.
We explored the place, with Miss Fab rejecting plenty of colourful and imaginative climbing options... until she spotted a rope ladder. This one looked do-able. She climbed a few rungs, looking back to me for reassurance. A couple more, then she dropped back to earth, smiling. "That was easy," she said.
And tried again. And again. And again. Going a little higher each time, she regained her confidence so much that before long she made it all the way to the top.
This time when she landed, she hugged me and hugged me, laughing, "This is so fun mama! I love it! Let's try something else!"
And that was that. For the rest of our time she used that strategy: Climbing as far as she was comfortable, then come back to safety. Try again and go a little further. Keep going and eventually reach the top.
Before we left she even surpassed her big brother and made it all the way to the top of the green pillars - inspiring him to go again and climb higher too.
What a great way to spend a rainy afternoon!
I totally recommend Clip'n'Climb as a family activity for kids anywhere beyond Toddlerhood. But book ahead on a Saturday as it gets really really busy. A big THUMBS UP from me!