If you’re the parent of a teen or pre-teen you’ll be familiar with that stage where it gets a little more tricky to find somewhere to keep those active little people busy because they’ve outgrown some of the more traditional play-type venues or a trip to the cinema just doesn’t excite quite so easily.
And, if you’re one of those parents who get to arrange a birthday party in school holidays you might also be familiar with just how tricky it is to get a group of friends together when everybody is heading away at different times.
As a result I found myself lately visiting both GoQuest locations in Finglas and Carrickmines as an extended birthday to ensure we managed to fit in all the friends around holidays.
The boys in question are aged 11 – 13 and when I first mentioned it they were ever so enthusiastic about the idea of the physical challenges and were in no doubt that they’d attack each one and win because they’d be in their view ‘easy’.
Well, they were for in for a bit of a surprise as despite having physical abilities and energy some of us can only dream of, it wasn’t quite as straightforward as it seemed. Also some of what turned out to be their favourite challenges weren’t physical at all – you have the choice to do whatever suits you best.
You have to work for these points and after the first couple the competitive streaks started to really shine through.
Because of their age I got to accompany the boys around GoQuest, I assured them that I’d stand back and let them do it but I found myself getting a bit more stuck in than anticipated too!
Our first visit was to Finglas, ready to beat the day’s top score they set off full of enthusiasm and were a little bewildered when it wasn’t quite as simple as they expected. The time flew by in a whirl of laughter, frustration, shock if they failed (another!) challenge but also good old fashioned fun – and rosy cheeks as they left with big smiles on their faces.
The following week we took on Carrickmines, just the one boy (my son) had been previously and another had a parent who had tried it out – and if it killed him he was going to beat his Dad’s score (he didn’t but we don’t dwell on that!).
A different venue but a whole new set of challenges, not one was the same as the previous trip to GoQuest but the laughs rang out just as loudly as one after another the can-do attitude of enthusiastic young men was challenged in a way that they absolutely loved.
One thing that stood out was that during our days at GoQuest I could hear genuine laughter, cries of frustration and roars of encouragement all mixed together as it dawned on them that they needed to work as a team to win a challenge.
For me, I loved how the boys got to try out the different types of challenges. Despite their initial plan to focus on the physical they realised very quickly that there was a lot to enjoy about the skills based or mental challenges too. It wasn’t so much a whizz of activity as we burst through the challenges, more of a measured approach to where we could potentially score the best points using whatever abilities we needed. And yes, it did become more of a ‘we’ as the day progressed!
The staff at GoQuest in both Finglas and Carrickmines were fantastic, discreetly available if we needed them but allowing the boys to win the challenge for themselves too.
As a parent GoQuest is one of the best spots I’ve visited for some time for a family day out. It’s great value, easy to get to and there’s plenty of parking.
You can leave all of your devices in the free lockers at the reception and from that point there are no distractions other than each other for the whole time you’re there – apart from a regular check-in on the electronic scoreboard to see just how you’re getting on.
Thirsty work that it is, when you get to the end you can enjoy a coffee or an ice-cream before heading off. You can also arrange a pizza to finish off your day or as both venues are in really handy locations if you’re at Carrickmines you’ve got a couple of options in The Park or for Finglas you can stay local or head to nearby Blanchardstown for a wider selection.
Will I go back? Most definitely! I’ve tested it with boys so can see where it fits as a venue for parties, teens or families. Thinking of work colleagues and friends, I can also see us getting very caught up in it too – and loving the time without phones or emails, something we don’t do often enough. It’s genuine downtime with a lot of fun thrown in and I’m delighted we discovered it.