Those 40,000 balls in the ball pit will keep you on your toes for sure.
(Video shot on iPhone and GoPro HERO6 Black)
By now, you must have heard of the infamous “drowning” incident at City Square Mall’s Airzone playground, Singapore’s first indoor suspended net playground created by Ultimate Entertainments Group.
In case you haven’t, here’s a recap: On February 3, blogger Vivien Low posted on Facebook about the fright she got when she fell into the playground’s ball pit and was unable to stand up. The video of her being submerged in the ball pit with flailing arms has gone viral, with close to 700,000 views and more than 7,300 shares to date.
Is the ball pit as scary as it looks?
The Shape team visited Airzone to test it out, and try our hand at the other play areas. Here’s the verdict.
Airzone level 3: Ball pit
The first attraction when you enter Airzone? The ball pit. There are 40,000 balls threatening to swallow you – but only if you let them.
The ball pit is located on level 3 of the mall. Looking down through the net made my legs quiver. Honestly, it took a while to psych myself up. I wasn’t sure if I could make it out of the engulfing balls, which reminded me of choppy waves.
On the other hand, intern writers Jillian and Claudia were fearless. They dived into the ball pit without hesitation. Eventually I joined them – with lots of screaming involved.
As expected, the balls covered me right to the top of my head. For some reason, I found the situation super hilarious, and couldn’t stop laughing. I waved my arms, too, to let the others know where I was. Thanks to my jelly legs and uncontrollable laughing, it got pretty challenging to stand up. Jillian and Claudia came around to pull me to my feet. Definitely visit the Airzone with friends!
Before long, the ball pit felt like home. We learnt how to find our footing (lots of balance and core activation required!), and started ball fights for fun, and throwing the balls as high as we could to see where they would end up. I felt like a kid again.
Note: Those with long hair might wish to tie your hair with a secure hair tie before entering the ball pit. Things can get rough and you might lose your hair tie in the midst of the balls! That’s also why customers are advised against bringing their phones and cameras into the playground. If you really must, stow them in a safety pouch and hang over your neck.
Airzone level 4: Zorb balls
Located one level up from the ball pit, this area had just three balls. But man, they are huge. Steve Wood, technical director of Ultimate Entertainments Group which operates Airzone, shared that kids like to play poison ball in this area, where they try to dodge the balls to avoid getting hit.
Just thinking about the game makes me tired. It’s much harder to run on the net than on ground, as the net is super bouncy. I also didn’t want to risk falling down as I have wonky ankles. So I decided to take slow, big strides, while Jillian and Claudia had no qualms running around. With the rebounding effect of the net, they looked like astronauts in space!
Honestly, it’s impossible to ignore the zorb balls, as they will roll towards the centre of gravity, which is where you stand. To avoid getting hit, we had to keep pushing and kicking the balls away. It was quite a workout! (Of course, you can hold on to the ball’s handle to stop the ball from rolling, but where’s the fun?)
Within minutes, I broke into a sweat. Although I consider myself relatively fit cardio-wise, I was panting quite a bit after playing with these balls. And my abs hurt from laughing and all the ninja movements.
Airzone level 5: The maze
Compared to the other levels, this area on level 5 looks the tamest. There are no intimidating balls to throw you off your feet. Okay, there are a few balls in the maze to hinder your crawling, but those are nothing to fear.
The maze is spacious enough for adults to climb through. My only gripe: The net is quite hard and rough against the knees, even though I wore full-length leggings. I tried to do the bear crawl, to minimise contact with the net.
By the time I completed the maze, I was wiped out. I felt like I had gone through a mini obstacle course race without training for it.
But it wasn’t the end yet. Situated on level 6 is a slide that will take you down to level 5 – and I was not going to miss it for anything.
Actually, levels 5 and 4 have slides too, but it feels good to take the level 6 slide since that’s the highest point of the playground. #Goals.
Airzone level 6: Giant slide
There is a safe and recommended way to take the slide: Lean back, cross your ankles with legs straightened, and cross your arms in front of your chest as you zoom down.
Due to some friction between my leggings and the slide, I had to use my legs to move myself down the slide. Yes, the fabric of your bottom makes a difference! Jillian, who wore satin shorts, zipped down the fastest and most smoothly.
The length of the slide might look intimidating; after all, every level is 5m to 6m apart. But once you’ve experienced the exhilaration of gliding down, you’ll want more.
Would we go back to Airzone again? The short answer is, yes, if we can gather a group of three or more. In a free play area like this, everything is more fun in numbers. It’s a safe place to overcome your fear of heights, plus you get to sweat, burn calories and tone up in the process.
Just remember to avoid wearing skirts or dresses (covered bottoms, please), as well as heels. Your best bet: Activewear with socks and shoes. Airzone lets you wear shoes into the playground, which I’d highly recommend for a better grip and hygiene reasons. Lockers are available to store your belongings.
We’ll also try to avoid going on weekends, when the playground usually runs at full capacity of 60 pax (20 per level), and sessions are limited to 30 minutes.
Airzone at City Square Mall
Address: Level 2 (North Atrium) of City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Road Singapore 208539
Nearest MRT station: Farrer Park MRT
Tickets: $20 per session, available online or onsite. (In lieu of their recent opening, tickets are currently going at a special price of $18.)
More info: www.airzone.sg