Monday, 16 November 2020

A Visit To Bear Town: A Super Fun & Educational Play Town In Devon

Last week, we were invited along to the opening of a brand new play experience here in Devon - and it's fair to say that the excitement levels with my three little ones were high! 

 My children are huge fans of role play experiences, and have visited lots of very high quality play centres along these lines over the years - ranging from immersive role play centres in my home town of Liverpool to the amazing Kidzania in the heart of London - but there has certainly never been anything that compared here in little old Devon!

Could Bear Town live up to their (very high) expectations?! Let's find out!

What Is Bear Town?

Bear Town is an immersive play experience brought to life by the people behind the popular Bear Trail. They wanted to design a play town for children to enjoy that would not only provide plenty of fun role play opportunities but that was also educational and inclusive too.

Each of the individual areas within Bear Town has a QR code on the wall, which parents can scan to read all about which areas of development and education that particular activity is promoting - as well as how to engage with the children in order to encourage them to really get the most out of that play opportunity.

Research has shown that role play is one of the most important ways that children learn and develop, so although it may look like they're just having fun and enjoying themselves (which is brilliant and valid, of course!) - they are actually learning - developing their creativity and problem solving skills, expanding on their communication skills and physical fine and gross motor skills, and increasing their confidence too.

Bear Town also features braille in each area too, and has dedicated play assistants on hand to help engage the children and encourage them to get the most out of the experience.

What The Kids Thought

Well to sum it up in a short and sweet manner - they LOVED it! In fact I couldn't get them to leave until I agreed to book for us to return in a couple of weeks time!

There was so much there to keep them entertained that our 2 hour experience seemed to fly over, and there was still so much left that they hadn't explored...which just means we need to come back!

My eldest son is 7, and I had wondered whether it would be age appropriate for him but I needn't have worried - he absolutely adored it! He has always been determined to be a Police Officer when he grows up, and so he absolutely loved the Police station.
 It was equipped with police costumes for him to wear, there was a reception desk with computer, an area to take a mug shot of the criminals, and a jail cell too - much to his delight the toilet inside the jail cell even moved aside to reveal a hidden escape tunnel!

This level of thought and detail was present in each and every one of the 10 role play areas within Bear Town.
Everything had been carefully thought out and it was clear that no expense had been spared - all of the items looked authentic and high quality, and really encouraged the children's creativity.

My middle child Noa loved the South West End theatre area, with its dress up rails and proper little stage area complete with working stage curtains and audience area. She also loved the hair salon, where she was able to pretend to be a hair dresser - washing her brothers hair before turning her attention to the styling mannequins.

My youngest son loved the supermarket and the family home, embracing the opportunity to really delve into role playing -creating a whole scenario in which he was a Daddy who worked at the post office in the day time, then went to the supermarket to buy the dinner before going home and cooking it. It was lovely to see him so immersed in his game, coming up with different story lines to include the different areas within Bear Town.

All three of the children got something different but equally valuable out of the experience. It was my eldest son who compared Bear Town to our visit to London's Kidzania, and when I asked him which he preferred - he said he liked Bear Town more, as he had the freedom to play as he wanted to without any instruction from adults - moving freely from area to area as he wished.

What The Parents Thought

Jon & I were both very impressed with Bear Town - from the play value for the children, to the cleanliness and attention to detail that had gone into it.

One of the stand out moments for both of us was the close of the session, when a Tidy Up song was played - encouraging the children to help tidy up Bear Town. It was so sweet and was more evidence of how much thought and effort has gone in to creating something really special and unique.

We were also able to try some of the food and drink on offer, and were very impressed! I have to admit to being a bit snobby when it comes to soft play food - I usually avoid it at all costs, I won't even have a hot drink in most places! But Bear Town was different - the food and drink on offer was not your usual frozen chips and cheap coffee, we had smashed avocado on toast and the most delicious Oat & Espresso smoothies - it felt more like a nice breakfast at a trendy little cafe than a children's play area!

Our Verdict

We honestly couldn't fault Bear Town on anything during our visit, and will absolutely return again and again.

There is really nothing else quite like it in the area, and although we live a 45 minute drive away - we think it's well worth the trip for the experience on offer.

The entry price of £9.95 per child with one free adult is really good value in comparison to other play experiences in the area, too.

We can't wait to go back again!

To find out more or book a visit, please visit

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