Splashdown, Tower Park , Poole, Dorset
Splashdown has nine separate “rides” each with a fear-inducing name such as Dragons Lair and Barons Revenge. By far the fastest is the Screamer, which effectively is a large drop with an angled tube that throws you out like a speeding bullet. Expect to spend many undignified minutes pulling your swimming costume from within your bottom.
Baron’s Revenge, the shortest and darkest, throws you out as you quickly skim across the water like a pebble. The longest queue is for Space Bowl - a slide that opens out into a funnel where you go around and around until gravity takes over and you fall through a tube, usually upside down and head first into a deep pool of cold water!
Naturally age and height restrictions apply.
Everything is tightly packed into a building not much bigger than the average municipal pool. So if you’re used to Center Parcs and foreign aqua parks this lack of space will be a shock. Likewise the changing-rooms and showers offer little in terms of space or privacy.
The biggest drawback however is the sly pricing policy. My family of four went on a day when it had been raining heavily since dawn and was not going to stop. Knowing they would be packed out Splashdown's two-hour limit was in place, which would have meant £30 for two hours.
An all-day ticket is £37. Luckily I phoned and was advised that it would best to come first thing or after 4pm. We did the latter and fortunately the day ticket option was available, and as it doesn’t close until 9pm we had just over four hours for our £37. This was just as well as after two hours we had not gone on all of the rides. It would have been tears before bedtime had we had to leave.
Staffing levels seemed low so although there are lifeguards there is often one member of staff supervising three or more queues and given that safety means you have to wait for the ride to clear before setting off this just leads to a longer and frustrating wait. It also makes them slower at dealing with the unruly element determined to spoil everyone’s fun, which unfortunately was present on our visit.
So all in all a treat for the kids, as long as the parents are patient and can cope with crowds of other people’s hyped-up kids!
For opening times and prices call 01202 716123