The summer has really started to sizzle. Alas, just like myself, the twenties are now a distant memory. We’re basking in the mid to late thirties and dreading the forties that lurk just around the corner.
Enthusiasm for days out has dwindled with the kids – they just want to hang by the pool. For them, any time spent away from the house must involve water in one form or another – either the beach, a lake, a friend’s pool, or if JJ had his way we would spend all our days at the kid heaven that is Aquavelis.
We went there on a day trip with the school in the middle of June and he hasn’t stopped talking (and dreaming, he tells me) about it since.
Personally, and I probably speak for most adults, I would prefer a day at the beach, but if you’re looking for something different to do and you’re willing to part with a wad of cash then this isn’t a bad option. And for sure the children will love it.
As water parks go – I’ve only been to one other – I think Aquavelis is pretty nice. It’s not too big, so if (or inevitably, when) someone goes missing, it’s doable to scour the area. And it’s very Spanish. Velez Malaga is in the less touristy part of the Costa del Sol, so the clientele are mostly local. It’s got nice gardens and picnic areas with umbrellas and loungers, a restaurant, clean loos and of course most importantly…
Brilliant water slides
In terms of slides, they have a good range for all ages, from little elephants whose trunks you slither gently down in to the shallow kiddy pool to all sorts of bigger scarier ones: straight ones, loopy ones, one called the “rapid river” and presumably the scariest of all, the Kamikaze. Also this year they have a new spiral slide and Aqua splash castle.
The wave pool
I had great fun in the wave pool. It’s the biggest pool there and it doesn’t have a regular edge with a drop but rather tapers gently down from ground level to mimic the beach.
We were lounging on our loungers at the kiddy pool when an announcement sounded over the speakers – the wave pool was about to start rolling. One of JJ’s older friends immediately appeared and literally dragged our lazy loungey bodies over to “the beach”. It was almost empty but there were streams of people pouring in by the second.
Within a minute it was jam-packed. The noise levels and excitement were at fever pitch and then the waves started to roll. And it was such a laugh! The kids were squealing with delight and I have to say I really enjoyed it. The waves were very authentic – well maybe a wee bit too regular and gentle – but it was nice. A totally fake experience but fun nonetheless.
Our school go to Aquavelis every summer so I can look forward to more fun in the wave pool next year. This year was my (and my children’s) first time but we benefitted from some wise advice from some of the other mothers who are seasoned Aquavelisers. Take note, the tips below will make or break a good day out in Aquavelis (or probably any water park).
Top tips from the pros
1. Arrive early, at 10:30am at the latest. Get everything and everyone out of the car and in to the queue before the doors burst open at 11am and everyone rushes to secure a lounger to drag to their chosen spot.
2. Be strategic. Know where to run for. Study the map in advance and pick your spot carefully. Our combined gang of 7 children were aged 10 years old down to 4, so we HQed at the kiddies pool (also close to the toilets). From there we could keep a constant eye on the smallies that can’t swim while the older ones zipped off to the various slides and came back sporadically to drip all over us before shooting off again.
3. Bring a cooler of food and drinks. It’s a pain dragging it in but, besides saving money, it’s nice to be lazy and have your own stuff at hand and not have to make trips to the restaurant and deal with the queues.
If you have a few kids it can be a pretty expensive day out though. Pricing is by height:
Adult: (more than 1.4m) €22.50
Junior: (1.1 – 1.4m) €16.50
Mini: (0.9 – 1.1m) €12
Senior: (65 years or older) €16.50
There are discounts for groups (of a minimum of 25 people) and also for half days: after 3pm in June and September and after 4pm in July and August. It’s worth keeping a look out in the local supermarkets (particularly Eroski in El Ingenio) and gas stations for discount vouchers, they hand them out more frequently as the summer progresses.
Opening hours are 11am-6pm in June and September and 11am-7pm in July and August.
The only other water park I’ve been to is Aquatropic in Almunecar. It’s probably nicer as it’s dramatically positioned right by the sea with great views from the tops of the slides and it’s got a gorgeous salt water wave pool. However it’s a lot bigger than Aquavelis which for me, with 3 small kids, is a disadvantage.