Happy memories of Monster Mania

Until earlier this year, Lesley had a rather lovely fake white Christmas tree. It ended up in a skip...               (Shutterstock)

LESLEY KEATING: To fake or not to fake, that is the question

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Throughout my childhood and teenage years, there were a few places in Portsmouth where you would have found me when I wasn’t at home.

One was Landport adventure playground, where I’d either be playing tag on the huge wooden castle and the magnificent wooden boat or in the animal pen feeding the ducks or watching Casper the goat.

It’s great to see that, just like when I was a child, there are still so many fun things for children to do in Portsmouth and for parents like me to watch and reminisce about our own childhoods.

The News columunist Warren Hayden

Much of my pre-teenage years were spent there and I often drive past the playground and remember all the fun times I had with my friends there.

Another place you would find me, especially on a Saturday, was at The Pyramids in Southsea.

My friend William and I would walk from Bransbury Park to the swimming centre just as it was opening and we wouldn’t leave until it closed. We’d just spend the whole day racing on the blue and green slides, zooming down the sidewinder and rushing to the main pool when the klaxon sounded, meaning that the wave machine was about to start again.

Another favourite hang-out of mine could be found in that concrete jungle known as The Tricorn.

Most children who grew up in Portsmouth in the 1990s will remember Monster Mania.

It was a children’s soft play area that was full of ball pools, slides, swings, ladders, rope bridges, net and tubes.

It was a great opportunity to be a child, act your age and enjoy some rough and tumble without getting a graze on your knees in the process.

Just last week, I had a few flashbacks to my time at Monster Mania when I took my two daughters to something very similar – Krazy Kaves at the Pompey Centre.

As soon as we paid and walked through the gates, they lost no time in whipping their shoes off and making their way to where the fun was happening.

To be honest, I would loved to have joined them, but of course I’m now the grown-up, so I just sat and drank my coffee, included in the ticket price.

I enjoyed watching them make their way down the huge slide and land in the ball pit, then make their way back to the peak to do it all over again.

Another lovely thing to witness was seeing them make friends with other children who they had never seen before.

I used to do the same at Monster Mania. You’d make a new friend for a few hours and then you’d never see them ever again.

They had so much fun and, as you’d imagine, they slept very well that night.

It’s great to see that, just like when I was a child, there are still so many fun things for children to do in Portsmouth and for parents like me to watch and reminisce about our own childhoods.