An early summer morning we decided to go to Centre Parcs Eperheide Belgium to the tropical water paradise. No, this wasn’t a hop over from England, we were already in the neighbourhood, just over the border in The Netherlands. We braced ourselves for the cost, but because of a promotion we got a 30% discount on our entry fee and for 3 adults, a 4 year old and a 2 year old we paid just under 50 euros. Hurray!
Entry to the swimming complex is through a jungle themed shopping and entertainment arcade, interspersed with different restaurants and snack bars. There are ample changing rooms, but there aren’t that many of the family changing rooms which have a changing table. The lockers are on the tight side, but we managed to squeeze our things into 2.
Going through a cave with showers you enter in to the tropical water paradise. Just by the entrance are life jackets which are recommended for all children who cannot swim. These are pretty good, though could do with a crotch strap so they don’t ride up.
We found a seat by the toddler pool, which included 2 slides, a waterfall feature and 2 large sand pits in the middle. There were plenty of chairs and tables (and plastic play pens too for those with even younger ones.)
… and off we went exploring:
The circular jungle river was our first pool of call. This has a current taking you around with by different jets and waterfalls. No chance of keeping you hair dry here. The kids were piggy backing on us, as it was deep...and the giggles kicked off.
Then the waves were coming in the big pool in the centre… hurry! The children ran into the water over the beach-like shore, loving being lifted by the tumble of water.
Next came the slides. To warm up we went down the “little” slide, a c 10m long , wide, open slide, a couple of times.
Next was the 37m slide. We both, me and the Other Half, took a child each in our laps. We did this a couple of times. Then, as we were all walking up the stairs, Little Man ran ahead laughing away …and launched himself onto the 37m slide all on his own before anyone could catch him. The Other Half ran up the stairs after him and dived in, following a couple of seconds behind. People just looked in amazement! “He’s a bit of a daredevil” I explained.
There was a wild river slide too, which tosses and twirls you around. It makes you work hard at trying to steer yourself as you accelerate down some of the rapids. The Littlins, despite being bruised and battered as they came down this one, wanted to go on it again and again. I had swallowed so much water and I could see Little Man’s tummy filling up too … not that he was bothered.
Little Miss’ favourite was the 84m slide.
After a while we adults got tired and one of us stood by the landing pool, one at the top of the slide and the Littlins ran up, got launched and landed to repeat this till exhaustion … or so we thought.
We checked the outdoor pool a bit then headed back to the toddler pool where we sat, while they played. Grandma in the meantime enjoyed a bit of time in the solarium and Jacuzzi.
Sitting by the pool and watching the children play I was amazed by the plethora of languages being spoke, and by my daughter trying to figure out which of her 3 to use to engage some playmate. The Dutch and English usually worked. 🙂
The other thing that struck me is that it seemed the glamorous people had stayed home: Why do I say that? Well, I feel rather uncomfortable in my swimming cosy usually, but here I was totally comfortable. I didn’t feel the slightest bit judged, no one was eying up the other. People were all shapes and sizes, mostly families with children 0 to 12. And everyone seemed comfortable, distracted from any worries by this engaging environment. All generally here to have a good time- as evidenced by the laughter and giggles that reverberated through the complex. (I don’t remember hearing a child even cry, and we were there about 6 hours.)
The staff’s friendliness and helpfulness just added to the happy atmosphere: My ears got blocked with water and one of the lifeguards got me an ear plug. No BS about not being able to do it because of H&S.
At one point Little Man snuck off –happily playing in the sand one moment, gone the next- and was about to throw himself into the Jungle River, as we caught up with him. There were 2 lifeguards already stepping up to him. Phew! … I did say we have to teach him to swim, didn’t I?
It was such a relaxed day with loads of fun. Just wish we had a waterproof camera to capture some of the fun. We very much look forward to next time we go. Thanks Center Parcs for creating such great family places! (…just wish your food prices were just a little bit less. 😉 )
Have you been to a place of unadulterated fun recently with the children? Where did you go?
Look forward to hearing your suggestions