Enjoy our series, Out & About, focusing on accessibility and suitability of various public places in Auckland for babies and small children.
Home to the lovely Bruce Mason Theatre (side fact: where my first ever graduation ceremony was held) and a host of gorgeous boutiques, Takapuna is a gorgeous wee suburb that serves as a gateway to many of the northern bays and the Devonport Peninsula. It’s also home to the Shore City Shopping Centre. There is heaps to explore every day of the week, as well as a vibrant Saturday market opposite the mall that is definitely worth taking in. Situated on the corner of Lake Rd and Como St, it’s easily accessible from Auckland’s Northern Motorway. I have to admit that I hadn’t really explored the mall that much before becoming a mum. I think that I may have shot in there once to quickly grab something from Farmers department store before heading further afield to visit friends. It was a great opportunity to view the place with fresh eyes and explore what it had to offer for families.
Parking can be somewhat interesting if you are unfamiliar with the area. I entered the parking structure from Anzac St placing me in in the open air carpark. On a wet day, I’d definitely recommend entering from Como St so that you and your little ones can stay under cover. There are parents with prams car parks near the mall entrance levels but elevators make access pretty simple from wherever you park.
I met my friend in the food court, easy to find and centrally located. I was impressed at the number of high chairs that they had, very sensibly located near the internal playground. My friend and I discussed how great it was to have a playground option that wasn’t tied to a fast food joint. We both have active little ones (hers is a bit older than mine) and it’s good to have options where they can thrash out a bit of energy, while we can provide them with some healthier meal options from some of the food court vendors. There is also apparently a small playhouse usually located at the other end of the lower level, however this may have been moved at the time of our visit due to the Art Of Cake competition.
One of the parent-friendly features of the mall I like most is a ramp between the two shopping levels. So often in multilevel shopping centres, you are relegated to using elevators to get your strollers between levels. Not only does a ramp relieve the “stroller congestion” around these lifts, but it allows this mama to burn a few more incidental calories – something I am definitely in favor of! There are also elevators available if you don’t quite have the energy that day!
I was impressed by the location of the parent rooms on each floor; the one on the ground floor was down in the food court end, most useful for the bathroom trips during and after lunch. The parents’ room on the upper floor are centrally located and easy to find. The parent rooms are slightly smaller in comparison to other shopping malls but I would imagine that this would be due to the age of the facility (40 years compared to the comparatively youthful Sylvia Park and Botany Downs), although this old dame certainly holds her own! My only niggle would be that the parent and child toilets in both parent rooms are a bit hard to negotiate with a pram. Other than this, they are well-equipped with change stations (with disposable liners, big fan!), feeding cubicles and televisions that are able to be switched on to entertain wee children if necessary. The ground floor parent room has some entertainment for other children within the feeding cubicles, the upper level parent room has a secure play area within the parent room.
Shore City is a great jump-off point for families wanting to access the shops and restaurants in the area but is also a good destination in its own right, even if you aren’t wanting to spend up large at the shops. It’s particularly ideal on a rainy day when you want to let your wee ones work off a bit of steam while you sit and down a coffee and a pack of sushi! It’s definitely worth checking out this little gem if you are in the area.