Hullie was never my favorite place to take my kids. I know that everyone has different tastes and that just because I don’t like a place doesn’t mean that it isn’t someone else’s favorite. Not that I don’t like Hullie, but to be fair it was never my favorite. We had year passes there for the longest time when my son was super little but as soon as Ballorig opened up we ditched them for Ballorig. In all fairness Ballorig is ten minutes away and Hullie is closer to 30. The other main reason for my dislike of Hullie wasn’t their fault, my kids were to little. At the time the had a super small little kid play area that didn’t keep Logan entertained for very long and that left me having to help him struggle through the big kid area.
I don’t know why I decided to go back a few weeks ago, honestly. The kids had a study day (teacher in service as we would say in the US) and on those days we generally do something pretty grand. Why not take advantage of a sneaky day in the middle of the week when everything isn’t so crowded? I considered The Keukenhof (did you read my post about it? Well, I decided not to go) but the day before was crazy hectic and I really didn’t want that grand. But I did want to do something a little special on their study day and we haven’t been to Hullie in a while so that felt like a good choice.
The first change I noticed was the addition of a cool kids pool outside. There are fountains and slides and such. Of course the water wasn’t on because it is still to cold so I will have to go back during the summer and check it out again. Beyond that I didn’t notice many changes at first. The main room you walk into first is the same. Tables to the left and a snack counter running the length if the wall. The other two main rooms are also unchanged. The super small little kids area, the big soft play and, in the second room, another giant soft play. There are tables in both rooms so there is still plenty of seating.
These two big rooms are great. I don’t want to give the impression that because they are unchanged they aren’t fun. Trust me, they are plenty to keep any kid entertained for an afternoon.
The biggest changes are the little back rooms. There is a hall running the length of the building at the back. This hall led to a bunch of different rooms all with a different play bit inside. I didn’t like this at all. If I lost track of my little one it could take ages to find him in those rooms. Like I said, nothing really negative about Hullie just that my kids felt a bit to young to be wondering around unsupervised. Now instead of many rooms there are three. It is a huge improvement!
One room is a super big little kid play area! It even has more seating! I really wish it was there when the kids were little. The second room is a nice craft area. Kids can paint or color and can make the “craft of the day” with the help of a staff member stationed inside the room. This is especially great for kids like my son who can get overwhelmed with to much stimulation. He went in and made a craft, he was able to focus on a task in a quiet area and came out ready for more play time instead of getting tired and wanting to go home. Of course it’s not just for kids with sensory issues, my daughter loves crafting and spent a great deal of time there as well. The third room has around a million (just a rough estimate) big plastic legos. I thought Ballorig had a good supply of these cherished blocks but it’s nothing compared to Hullie. No chance of kids fighting over them here!
There is also a nice outside play area with loads to do. Play grounds and even a race track will keep the kids active on nice summer days.
I’m mixed about the menu. There is nothing vegan but there are around 6 vegetarian options including the notorious Goat Cheese salad. You can always find a goat cheese salad on any menu in the Netherlands. In the past this was the one and only vegetarian option. It was a running joke between my vegetarian friends and I. “Is there anything I can eat on the menu? Besides the goat cheese salad, of course.” In that respect the menu is standard Dutch fare. But I will say that they do the food right. It is certainly a cut above a most other play places. I did have the goat cheese salad (I strive for 100% vegan but sometimes I have to give myself permission to bend a bit) and it was really good. The pizza sets them apart, though. They do a pretty damned good pizza. With an actual pizza oven and everything. I should have gotten a cheese pizza but I had had pizza the day before and was graving greens. Oh well, lesson learned. If you think you should have the pizza go with your gut and order the pizza. This time a server actually came to the table. I’m not sure if that’s new or if it was because they weren’t very busy. But whatever the reason, it was nice not to have to stand in line at the counter to order. It made the afternoon feel more like taking the kids out for a meal at a place with a play area and not like suffering through a soft play and spending a fortune for the privilege.
So that’s Hullie (Updated). I considered rewriting my original post but I thought this would be easier and I’m nothing if not lazy. I’m not sure how often we will be going back, honestly. If the kids ask for it I have no problem taking them back, though. After all, my main issues with the place have been resolved. I would appreciate a few vegan options on the menu. I mean how hard is it to keep some veggie patties in the freezer so a veggie burger can be on offer?
Head over to Hullie and let me know what you think of the upgrades. I will probably write a part 3 then the weather gets nice and focus on the outside. I think it’s cool enough to warrant it’s own post.
Do you need a refresher on what it looked like before? Check out my original post!
Do you know of any other places I need to check out? Please leave a comment and let me know!