Posted by: Paul | July 10, 2010

Splash!

In an attempt to avoid the local village music festival today (average act: wanabee goth rockers with try-hard pub-quality girl singer. Average attendee: skinny 17 year old boy, bare chested, cigarette tucked behind ear. A deeply odd and disturbing mix), we went to a new ‘Splash Park’ in nearby Maldon, built where an old freshwater lido used to be.

I was very impressed – both with the facility itself and the level of organisation. Imagine if you will a large open rectangular playground. In the centre is a large area, shaped a bit like a letter K in bubble type, which is coated in non slip rubber, the sort you find on an athletics track. There’s a border about 18 inches wide coloured yellow, and the rest is royal blue. Dotted around the blue section are various devices which spout water – think broken New York fire hydrant writ large. There are big jets, little jets, jets which move, jets which stop and restart. There are showers, there are waterfalls, there are sprinklers and sprays of all kinds. Best of all, there’s a sort of Loch Ness monster, whose tongue spouts a forked blast, and whose humps are rings which spray inwards like a car wash onto anyone who ventures through the middle. If you stay on the yellow area you’re safe, if you venture into the blue no area stays dry and you can get ‘got’ without warning!

The kids were in their element of course. Sesssions last half an hour – which is plenty – and then it’s a case of ‘everyone out, next session in’. You buy a timed ticket – for a great value £1 per child – and supervising parents go in free. You can also buy a 3-session wristband for £2 and make the fun last pretty much a whole day, the kids hopping in and out as they please.

We had a fun afternoon, and escaped the crowds and car parking chaos at home. As we left, Adam pronounced one of his latest phrases, which I take as his seal of approval and desire to return to the Splash Park: “It’s a lovely day!”

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