AFL Max – A unique Adelaide AFL experience like no other!
by Katrina Gogel
AFL Max opened its doors for the first time and my six-year-old Auskicker and I went along to experience the fun and excitement.
The brainchild of former Crows player James Podsiadly, AFL Max is the nation’s first immersive footy skills and entertainment centre. The huge 5,500sqm state-of-the-art facility brings together the latest technology and traditional skills development for players and fans of all ages. Being indoors, you can have an AFL experience all year round without getting wet in Winter, or burnt in Summer.
There are eight different AFL Max zones on offer to do jumping, climbing, kicking and catching all around the centre. Read on to find out what you can expect from each zone.
Comprising a soft play space as well as a large climbing tower with two slides, this is the designated play area for under-fives. We didn’t realise the age limit at the time of our visit, so I allowed Master six to go up the climbing tower and down the slides, which he absolutely loved (sorry, AFL Max)! While this is a wonderful and fun space, some younger children may find the tower and fast slides quite challenging and scary.
With 14 rock climbing walls ranging from beginner through to the more experienced, this is a great zone to test your hand, feet and eye coordination. There were plenty of helpful AFL Max team members on standby in this area to harness and support the little ones.
Max Aerial has been declared by my Auskicker as his favourite zone. There are three AFL themed trampoline sections to choose from, to have a high-flying good time here.
This zone offers large interactive screens which combine light, sound, video and gameplay to engage the body, mind and senses in an immersive experience. We had a blast moving about and throwing soft hand balls at the images on the interactive screens.
The huge indoor AFL Max oval gives kids and adults the chance to improve their kicking and hand passing skills. Have a kick and catch, then try your hand (or rather feet) at kicking the ball through one of the many colourful kicking wall holes. A basketball ring attached to the wall also makes for a very entertaining challenge.
Max Test and Tackle
Work through the AFL draft testing facility and practice your tackling in this zone. And if like us you enjoy a running race, make sure to line up at the sprint station. Here you can race solo or alongside another person, and have your sprint timed.
The inflatable Max Bump course has been designed to teach kids proper blocking and tackling techniques in a safe way. Master six enjoyed working his way through the obstacles, going down the giant slides, and testing his ability on the bungee run.
Max Virtual Reality
Enter the final zone, Virtual Reality, and pop on a headset to encounter aspects of the game from perspectives never seen before. This fascinating experience had us in our seats watching the 2018 Grand Final for a lot longer than I expected.
But wait, there’s more!
After exploring for nearly two hours it was time to pay a visit to the large upstairs café and licensed bar for a drink and snack. I was really impressed by the large range of delicious-looking options on offer here. With plenty of tables, and bar-style seating overlooking the playing arena and big screen, it’s the perfect place to wind down.
AFL Max also offers hosted kids parties and AFL Max programs. If your little one is an AFL fanatic this would be the perfect place to throw their next birthday party, or enrol them in a development program. We walked past the four ground-level party suites and saw two in action, and it looked like everyone was having a great time!
Before heading home don’t forget to pay a visit to the green room to have your free souvenir photo taken. This is another fun experience and a wonderful keepsake of your time at AFL Max.
Did we enjoy our time at AFL Max?
Well, if having to drag a pleading six-year-old away at the end of the day is any indication, then yes, we most certainly did! With a fun and exciting atmosphere, friendly, helpful staff and a huge range of activities on offer (that will keep you well and truly busy), AFL Max receives a big thumbs up from us and is a wonderful addition to Adelaide.
Some tips for your visit
♥ Arrive early! You want to make the most of your 1-hour session, so plan ahead and get to the venue at least fifteen minutes prior to your scheduled time to arrange tickets, socks, a toilet stop and a locker.
♥ Purchase grip socks. These are required for the Bump (inflatable) and Aerial (trampoline) zones and can be purchased along with your tickets for $3 per pair.
♥ Lockers. These are free and fantastic for stashing your bag and shoes in. Located in the Max Rookie Zone, simply follow the instructions listed on the nearby wall and know your possessions are safe and sound while you’re off having fun. If the locker area is full, there is also open cube storage located along the wall near the party suites that can be utilised.
♥ Sessions run for one hour, on the hour. If you don’t want to be rushing from zone to zone, I’d recommend booking the two-hour session. This will allow plenty of time to cover all areas and go back to some of your favourites.
♥ If you have younger children consider having one adult per child attend. Children under the age of five are only permitted in the soft play area (Max Rookie zone), and are allowed a kick and catch on the AFL field with an adult. Children OVER the age of five have free reign on ALL Max zones, but require adult supervision if under twelve years of age. This can make for a challenging (and stressful) time if you go along solo with two or more kids.
♥ You don’t have to be a huge fan of AFL to have fun here! With trampolines, rock climbing walls, inflatables, interactive games, running races, and more, there will be plenty to keep you entertained. You may even find yourself out on the oval having a kick and a catch!
For more information and all enquiries please visit the AFL Max website.
What: AFL Max
When: See their website for opening times
Where: 32 Butler Boulevard, Adelaide Airport
Who: AFL Fans of all ages
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
Image Source: All photos by Katrina Gogel 2019
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