Advantages entrace fee includes Dolphin show
Disadvantages Have to pay deposits for everything
Aquapolis - where is itAquapolis is on the outskirts of a town called La Pineda and Spain's Costa Dorada and is a short bus ride away from the main town centre of Salou. During this years holiday we decided that as Spain was in the middle of a heat wave and the temp was in the region of 38 degrees C which is about 12 degrees above average for the Costa Dorada that we would not visit Port Aventura as planned but go to the water park instead as seem the sensible thing to do on a hot day.
Arriving at Aquapolis - the local busses stop next to the park and a short walk though local market stalls and small shops which form part of the front of the park you arrive at the entrance. The entrance is in the middle of the market stalls but is easy to spot. We arrived at about 11am and where surprised that there we no big queues to get in and where soon in the park itself. I am not going to bore you with the price tariff as it changes anyway so not really useful.When you 1st enter the park you have you map showing where the security boxes are, there is a deposit required for these and there are different types. You can have a locker type which you would find in a local gym or swimming pool or a safety deposit type as you would find in a hotel room, if you require both then you have to pay a deposit for each plus the hire fee, about 6 Euros if my memory is correct for the deposit only. It is definitely worth having a locker at least as this saves you carting everything around the park with you. These are also located just to the left of the main entrance.
Standing just inside the main entrance I was surprised to see how well laid out the park looked as was not all concrete and water rides but was very well planted with trees for natural shade and lots of grassy areas where you could just sit and sun bathe. Now I would recommend that you do not walk around in bare feet as the concreted areas get very hot as you would imagine in the sun and you could burn the bottom of your feet if not careful. Walking through the park we passed a large wave pool, we where checking the map as we walked and looking for a good spot to start form and also where to hire the big yellow doughnut rings that everyone seemed to have.Continuing along there was another pool area which did not look very deep, one of those ones where it is as if you are walking into the sea where the colour and texture of the bottom changes as you walk along. The deepest part of this was just over waist high. On the other side was a normally (drop in from the sides) type of pool with lots of the slides situated around it, will get to them later, and food courts where you could buy snacks and drinks. Here also there was a patio area where you could sit on your hired sun bed (lots of things to pay for in here) and what the world go buy or soak up some rays.
Finally we get to the kiosk where you can hire the rubber rings, and sunbeds though would suggest that you get there early if you want one of the these as they do run out of them during peak times. Again you had to pay a deposit for each ring and as we wanted 4 of them, one for each member of our party this was getting costly, yes you get it back but normally if going to somewhere like this we carry a limited amount of cash and not plastic for obvious reasons as even with a safety deposit box you are not guaranteed security for your belongings. After much debate and discussion and counting of money, would we have enough for drinks etc we went for it as there are only a limited number of rides that these can be used on anyway and the plan was to go on those 1st and return the rings, get the deposit back and then go on the rest of the rides where rings are not required. Just to let you know that the park do have their own blue rings on each of the rides for you to use if you don't hire one or they have run out but be prepared to wait for one of these as they are not plentiful.Now to the 1st ride.
This was called the Boomerang, kids where heading straight for it, decided that didn't look too bad and would join them. Now this ride is strange as looks rather like a half pipe but not as semi-circle in shape and with extremely high sides. As we where climbing up the stairs to the ride as was getting concerned that it look at lot more scary and steeper than it did on the ground. Now it was our turn. The lads went 1st and there where screams of delight as they descended and then shot up the other side of this giant U shaped ride, and back again and up the other side and so on until you end up in what could only be described as the gutter at the bottom and then into the pool with a splash finally.Now for us girlies, not as brave as the lads, I was not beginning to wonder what on earth had possessed to have ago. The attendant at the top holds you ring whilst you climb into it. This rings have grab handles for you to hold onto and oh boy do you need them, believe me when I say that this is far steeper than it looks from the ground. Off I go, shoot down one side of the U at tremendous speed and up the other side, having watched lots of children go before me and forgetting that they are a lot smaller than me a shot a lot further up the other side then I expected to the point I was beginning to wonder whether I would slow down in time before I ran out of ride and shot off the top, but gravity prevailed and saved me - I now know why there was a weight restriction on this ride, did wonder at the time and I am sure that I was a lot further away from the top than I though I was and I must say apart from that small moment of panic I actually really enjoyed it but not enough to get me back on it again.
2nd ride - one for mumThe lazy river.
This was more like it, needed to give my heart a chance to recover. The lazy river itself is not really that long but is very enjoyable. The hardest part is getting on your ring in the water at the beginning of the ride and then getting to the starting point amongst everyone else who is trying to float towards the start. At 1st there is a gently slope/slide down to a pooled area, and this theme continues all the way down to the bottom. There is an attendant in each pooled area who ensure that you keep moving and push you down the next slope/slide bit and splash the kids if the kids splash them. Great fun and very relaxing at the same time, a few more goes on this one was called for.Now not being a great lover of rides in the dark I declined the ride called the black hole as listening to the terrified screams of other riders was enough for me. However, just to tell you a bit about it, you ride in a double ring, like a figure of 8 so two people can go at a time, so you can both be scared witless at the same time, oh joy. Anyway left the kids to do that one and went off for a float around one of the tranquil pools and was designated the task of looking after 4 rubber rings, which is not easy as the keep floating away. For me I was done with the rings and there really was not a lot more to use them on so, they where returned and deposits claimed, drinks bought at the kiosk - prices about what you would expect to pay at any theme park and we opted for a couple of cans of fresh juice to perk us up. We did not buy any food but the pizza seemed popular as there where lots of people ordering this whilst we where in the queue.
Next we set off back towards the entrance to see what time the next dolphin show was and did we have to pay. Pleasantly surprised that the show was actually included in the price of the entrance fee to the park and noted that there was a show at 4pm which would be a nice way to end the day. Off for more rides.There is one ride which can only be described as an aerial runway over water, you hold on and then set off over the pool - extra deep here about 3 meters- the ropes are slightly angled so that you can build up some speed as you travel. About half way across the pool there is a block in on the ropes which you slam into, fall off and land in the water. Now this was great fun both to watch and to do, but the queue was very long. The park had filled up by this point and was very busy. Now as the saying goes the bigger you are the harder you fall is truly correct for this ride and also there is a minimum height you have to be to be able to use it, if you can't get hold of the handles then you are too small basically. A few more goes of this an a few of the slides then off to sit in the sun.
Just so you know that some of the food kiosks have covered seating areas next to them so you can get out of the sun and sit in some shade and we took advantage of this a couple of times during the day along with sitting on the grass under some trees which was very pleasant as you can find lots of places to sit away from the centre of the park where the rides are.We did notice a large pool area for younger children which had some small slides but as my 2 are too big for that we did not inspect too closely but it did not look very deep at all.
There are announcements given fro when the wave pool is about to start and also for when the next dolphin show is about to start, however, I would say that if you are going to watch the dolphin show arrive with plenty of time to spare even if you have to queue outside before they open the gates as you may end up without a seat in the shade.Now the highlight of the day
The Dophin show.The seating itself is sort what I would describe as stone steps and there is some shade depending on the time of day, angle of the sun etc. and comfortable to sit on, the main display pool is completely glass fronted apart form where the glass panels are joined together so you can see the dolphins and sealions swimming under water which is fantastic.
There are 3 dolphins that are resident here and I must say it was a really good show with the sort of tricks you would expect, jumping out of the water, through hoops and also 1 child from the audience gets to participate, they have to sit in a boat, life jacket is provided of course, and the dolphins push the boat from one side of the water to the other. The trainers, as there is more than one, also get in the water with the dolphins and have and obvious close relationship with them.At the end of the show there is an opportunity to have your photo taken with a sea lion, where counting money again at this point, I think it was 10 Euros for a photo, the sea lion really enjoyed this as was fed lots of fish and also 'kissed' everyone in the queue. Yes we did get the photos done. Back in the pools to cool off, everyone was looking a bit pink by this point despite the constant application of sun cream throughout the day and as it was not after 5pm we headed back.
All in all if you ever visit Salou on holiday I would recommend this for a day out as it great fun for all the family and will be going back next year for sure as already booked hol in the Costa Dorada.Other attractions within the park we did not bother with are trampolines, mini-golf and a gift shop.
Sorry it was a long one. J.
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