AFL Max has been taking Adelaide by storm since opening its doors. The 5,500sqm unique state-of-the-art footy skills and entertainment centre brings together the latest technology and traditional skills development for players and fans of all ages.
by Katrina Gogel
Sharpen up on your kicking, passing and tackling skills, climb, bounce, experience the excitement of a live game in the virtual reality zone, entertain the kids and more!
Designed for the whole community, where the common bond is a love of Aussie rules football, AFL Max is a wonderful place to spend time with the family. Watch a game live on the big screen while the kids play, host your child’s next birthday party here, or sign your little AFL fanatic up to one of the Max development programs. Sporting clubs and schools can also utilise the centre as a training facility- AFL Max aims to cater for all.
James Podsiadly (former Crows and Geelong Player), had the vision to take the Australian footy experience to the next level, and together with co-founders Darren Thomas and Eddie Taylor, the concept has been brought to life after three years of development.
After having a ball at AFL Max’s opening weekend, (read about our first look here) we returned recently for another round of footy fun!
One thing that stood out to us during our time here is how friendly and helpful the AFL Max Team are. At our first visit I noted that there were lots of staff on hand throughout the centre to assist with the children, and I did wonder at the time if this was just because it was opening weekend. Turns out that this is the norm, and AFL Max is run like this each and every day. During our most recent visit there were just as many (if not more!) team members on hand. Each zone is manned by at least one or two staff, and in the busier areas (Max Climb for example) you will find more. It’s fantastic to see the staff get involved and interact with the kids, as it creates a memorable experience for families, and allows peace of mind for parents. You’ll see what I mean in the video below.
There’s one thing that many people are surprised about, and that is – it’s not all about footy here. With so many different activities on offer even those who are not AFL mad will find something fun to do!
We spoke to Venue Manager, Travis Hobbs, and asked him what AFL Max is all about:
AFL Max is a play and development centre designed to provide big and little kids with a safe environment to explore and enjoy everything we have to offer in an unstructured way. We want our customers to have fun – from the little ones running around having the time of their lives, and the parents just wanting to have a kick with their kids, to the serious athlete looking to develop and grow. There is something for everyone.
We can train anyone to climb a wall or kick a ball, but you can’t teach someone to care, and the difference with us is that our staff are hired for their heart and their passion to interact and get in amongst it.
We facilitate and educate our customers on how to be active and explore in a safe and exciting environment; the imagination of our customers will do the rest.
AFL Max is a not like any other indoor entertainment, sports or play centre – it’s the first of its kind, and there is nothing like it anywhere in Australia. What a great South Australian initiative!
Check out our video below to take a look around AFL Max:
With eight specially designed zones on offer throughout the huge indoor facility, here’s what you can expect during a visit to AFL Max.
Max Climb is one of the most popular zones at AFL Max. Both times we have visited, the walls have been filled with children wanting to test their strength and agility on one of the 14 rock climbing challenges and nets. With plenty of fantastic staff on hand here, the waiting times are minimal and there is always help to harness, encourage and support your child. We saw plenty of kids reach new heights with the help of a Max Team Member guiding which move to make, to reach the next level. It’s also fun to go face to face and race a friend up the clear wall too.
Max Aerial is another huge hit at AFL Max. This fun trampoline area is split into three sections, offering: a free style area, dodgeball, and a large soft-fall pillow that you can bounce yourself into. Kids love when a staff member holds out or kicks a footy for them to take a ‘speccy’ and land safely in the pillow!
Max Interactive is a fabulous zone for all ages. Both my boys (aged six and three) worked up a sweat playing games with handballs against the large interactive screens here. Staff members stationed at one of the three screens will select a game for the kids to play (and there are games for big kids too). Like an interactive video game, they can then throw, touch or kick a soft hand ball against images on the interactive screen.
My six year old could kick the ball against the screen in some games, while Master three was able to throw and touch the ball against the screen. One of the Max Team Members was on hand to help guide Master three, and play the game with the boys.
Max Skills is where you’ll find everyone having a kick and catch. This huge zone is sectioned off from the other areas by large nets adorned with goal posts. As well as practising your goal kicking, you can attempt to slot the footy into one of the many holes along the colourful kicking wall. A basketball ring is also attached to this wall and is loads of fun to aim for – Master six was thrilled to kick the ball through the hoop recently! AFL Max staff members join in the fun here too, and are often seen having a kick and catch with the kids, offering advice, helping with techniques, and giving out high fives when they score a goal.
MAX TEST & TACKLE
Max Test and Tackle gives kids the chance to learn and practice tackling in a safe, controlled environment and participate in timed running races. This is another fun zone, and is great to watch kids challenge themselves against others. Max team members are on hand here to help with working on these skills. They keep things super fun for kids by playing games, sometimes to win random prizes.
Max Bump is sure to be another favourite with the kids. Designed by Adelaide Crows star, Rory Sloane, the inflatable obstacle bump course plans to teach proper blocking and tackling techniques, in a safe way, all while having a blast. Alongside the four-lane bump course are inflatable slides, and two exciting bungee runs. The inflatable slides are a hit with kids just enjoying running up to the top and sliding down (which both my 6 year old and 3 year old delighted in doing over and over again).
MAX VIRTUAL REALITY (VR)
Max VR gives you the chance to experience the game of AFL like never before. Pop on a headset and sit in the crowd on AFL Grand Final day. Get a front row seat at the MCG and witness some amazing Grand Final footy moments. Here a Max Team Member welcomed us in to try this experience, and was fantastic even when Master three kept changing his mind about whether he wanted to wear the headset or not. It’s a pretty cool experience which anyone can do and is definitely worth watching. We wish we could show you a peek of what you can see through the screen, but alas, you’ll just have to go and see it for yourself.
Max Rookie is the designated area for children under the age of five, and comprises two slides, a climbing tower and soft play area. The climbing tower is made from an elasticated, trampoline-style netting, which young children need to climb up through to reach the top of the slides. This is a fun and exciting zone which will challenge little ones with their climbing abilities. Read more about this below in our AFL Max for Under 5s review.
AFL MAX CAFE & BAR
Retire to the AFL Max café for a bite to eat and drink.
The licensed café is spacious with plenty of tables and chairs, as well as bar style seating overlooking the playing arena and big screen. It’s a great space for parents of older children (who don’t require constant supervision) to relax and watch from afar, or for parents of kids who are attending a birthday party. Sporting groups doing training will also benefit from this great area as there is plenty of space to catch up together. With comfy seats for small groups, to large tables for gatherings, this café with its fantastic menu and licensed bar caters for everyone. A play centre cafe which serves wine is always a winner. The coffee is great too!
AFL MAX for Under 5’s
Thinking of heading along to AFL Max with your toddler? Here’s what you can expect for children under the age of five.
We recently took our three-year-old along for the first time, and were happy to learn that he wouldn’t be limited to just playing in the Max Rookie zone. Whilst children under the 110-centimetre height requirement cannot participate in the Climb, Aerial, Bump and Tackle zones, they can enjoy a variety of other activities. Master three was able to have a kick and catch on the Max Skills oval with his brother, throw balls into the holes in the wall, as well as play on the inflatable slides, watch some footy at Max VR and join in the exciting game play at Max Interactive (which was by far his favourite zone)!
He also tested out Max Rookie. Normally the adventurous type and not afraid to climb, the tower at AFL Max proved too tall and tricky for him and he was unable to reach the slides…until he discovered that you can enter the top of the structure from the upstairs café. As soon as he realised this, he was off!! While this is a great alternative, please be aware that you’ll need someone down the bottom of the slide to meet your little one if they are likely to wander off to a different zone.
Free Souvenir Photo
Don’t forget to take a free selfie pic in the green photo room before you leave. Just type in your email address to get the photos sent to you.
PLAY & GO TIPS
- Shoes – while some zones and activities require sneakers, others are socks only. Although there are lockers for you to keep bags and valuable things, it’s easier to carry your shoes around with you to each zone, rather than having to go back and forth to the lockers each time you need to take your shoes off. There is plenty of space in each area where you can leave your shoes out of the way. Alternatively, you could do all shoe-wearing activities first, followed by sock only.
- If you have more than one young child, and especially if any are under 5, it’s easier to have one adult per child for supervision. They’ll invariably want to do different things at the same time, depending on their abilities.
Join in the fun at AFL Max!
At AFL Max their mission is “to provide a genuine, exciting and immersive indoor AFL themed experience for all individuals, families, clubs, schools and groups where they can have fun while learning and improving their football skills”. Several of the Play & Go team, with kids of all ages have visited AFL Max at different times since its opening, and we certainly think this state-of-the-art facility and friendly staff, are kicking their goals (pun intended).
For online bookings, birthday party packages and Max Development program information head to the AFL Max website to find out more.
32 Butler Boulevard, Adelaide Airport SA 5950 (off Sir Donald Bradman Drive, just near the Aldi store)
For more information and all enquiries please visit the AFL Max website here or AFL Max facebook page.
What: AFL Max Adelaide
When: See website for opening hours
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 and video by Play & Go Adelaide
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