Make a splash by taking the kids to Marineland
There is only so long you can spend relaxing on the beach before the children’s energy levels reach bursting point. In the heat of a summer holiday water parks are the obvious destinations where the family (and the children in particular) can have fun and use up some of that excess energy. If you are holidaying on the Costa Brava the first choice for water park thrills and spills has to be Marineland Catalonia. Less than an hour’s drive away from Barcelona, Marineland Catalonia will not disappoint.
Two parks in one
Marineland Catalonia advertises itself as ‘two parks in one’. Aqualand is the place to find all the rides from mild mannered toddler friendly attractions to fast and furious grown-up drenchers. The Children’s Paradise area is designed specifically with the little ones in mind and this mini park has more than enough slides and colourful watery attractions to keep them happy for hours. Marineland places safety as highly as having fun so not only will you see that the rides are well maintained but you will see plenty of qualified lifeguards on hand. The swimming pools also have shallow areas for the little ones so that you can relax poolside whilst they continue to splash around and have fun.
The main family rides include the 20 metre long Anaconda the dizzying Twister three track Crazy Race (designed to bring out your competitive edge) and the Super Slalom. If these are still too tame for you the Black Hole Tornado and ultimately the Boomerang will definitely give you that extra thrill you are looking for.
The second of the two parks is the Marine Zoo which incorporates a dolphinarium. A dolphin show takes place twice a day once at 12:30 and again at 17:00 and really is worth going to see. These beautiful creatures deliver spectacularly with jump after jump and you are unlikely to have seen a better dolphin show anywhere else. The sea lions at Marineland are not to be outdone though rather less elegant they may be but they are incredibly acrobatic and full of character – their shows start at 12:00 and 16:30. The aviary is home to a collection of larger birds many of which are at home near rivers and estuaries. They have plenty of space here to show off their plumage to you and whilst they can’t really perform feeding time is always entertaining especially at the penguin habitat.
If your children fall in love with the dolphins and want to know more about them the park runs special ‘Dolphin Encounter’ sessions. These last for about an hour and the time is split between classroom based learning and poolside interaction with the dolphins under the tuition of the keepers. These sessions are a real treat and run separately to general admission to the park. Check out the website in advance for full details costs and special prices for families.
Marineland Catalonia is open daily from May through to the end of September. Opening times in July and August are from 10:00 to 19:00 (although Aqualand opens half an hour later and closes half an hour earlier than the rest of the park) and 10:30 to 17:30 for the rest of the season. Tickets cost more at the gates than if you book them in advance online – visit the website for the latest ticket prices where you should also consider whether the ‘Family Pack’ offer makes sense for your family. Child ticket prices vary according to height rather than age and children who are less than 90cm tall are allowed in for free.
Holiday apartments in Barcelona and Costa Brava are ideally located for you to enjoy days out to Marineland Catalonia. Parking is fairly limited for the size of the park but there are free bus services to the park from nearby towns including: Tossa Lloret Blanes Calella Pineda Malgrat and Santa Susanna.