At the start of February, we finally packed up our swimming gear and headed out to Reda to visit one of 2016’s most popular new attractions. The Aqua Park at Reda.
Opened at the end of July 2016, initial reports we received were of a very impressive new water park which was struggling with teething problems. Sections were reported unfinished while the huge interest from the public meant that they were struggling to cope with visitor numbers. Queuing was said to be a major problem. So, with other attractions to keep us busy, we put off a visit in the hope that the extra time would give the people running the show a chance to fix some of the issues.
We finally headed up to Reda on a Sunday arriving just after 1pm. Despite being 15km north of the northern-most of the three cities, Gdynia, it was easy enough to get to by car in under 30 minutes from Sopot. The local commuter train, the SKM, also stops 800m from the park at Reda station. More on public transport in Gdynia.
Set in a new residential area which is still in mid-construction, the Aqua Park’s knot of waterslides, clearly visible as you approach it, got the three children we had in tow very excited. Having quickly found a parking space this enthusiasm was severely dampened once we headed inside. Walking past a series of still to be filled retail units, we found ourselves at the end of a snaking line of people waiting, not to pay to get in, but to be allowed upstairs in order to get into the queue to pay to get in. They bucked up when I said we’d wait (all in the pursuit of accuracy) and we spent the next 70 minutes chatting with others in the queue until we finally got upstairs and through the entrance.
We quickly negotiated the communal, unisex changing rooms, despite the attempts of temperamental lockers to delay us further and finally made it out into the pool area. The first reaction of the kids was wow, as they came face to face with a mock castle in the middle of what is called the Castle Pool and the shrieking of other children on one of the nearby slides. My first reaction was wow too – except in my case it was at the sheer numbers of people already inside, the noise and the fact that everyone had appeared to have dumped their flip-flops immediately on leaving the changing rooms. There’s something about communal bathing inside with this many people that makes me feel rather icky.
Still. Onwards and forwards. The two eldest children (boys aged 13 and 11) quickly disappeared to try out the 5 waterslides found around the complex. More on those in a moment. My four-year-old daughter and I made a beeline for the children’s pool (Pirate’s Bay) and she was beside herself immediately. Featuring a mock pirate ship with 6 slides spurting out of it, my daughter was having a wonderful time with the dozens of other small children and would, if not for me, have probably stayed there until next morning. There were a lot of families a fact that is hardly surprising considering it was minus 4 degrees outside. Most had camped down nearby next to the food and drink bar and many were far more relaxed that I was and laid out on the poolside sun loungers.
When the boys eventually reappeared gushing about the water slides (one of which drops you so steeply at the beginning that once you stop falling it gives you the sense that you’re going up apparently) we headed off as a family again to check out the rest of the park. The long and undulating slide (Family Slide) was really good fun although the excess demand for one of the large rubber rings required to ride it meant you had to wait once again to get your ring before joining the queue to ride. Once you had a ring though the advice was to hold onto it so you could then enjoy, what we’ll call, the lazy river (River Expedition) which took on a gentle ride around the complex (and which my 4-year-old nearly nodded off on). The ring was also required for what is probably Aqua Park Reda’s signature attraction – the Shark Slide. You travel down a dark tunnel, lit by bright strip lighting before landing at the bottom and floating through a clear tube which passes through a shark pool. It is a pretty impressive, if short-lived sight. I travelled down the slide with my daughter and we were both quite surprised at how fast we went, although my daughter immediately wanted to do it again.
The aforementioned sharks can also be viewed by swimming across a small but deep pool (Big Blue) to gaze at them through a window – note here that non-swimmers are not permitted to enter this pool. There’s plenty more, including a large jacuzzi, with spouting geyser (volcano); a wave pool (rings needed again) and a couple of small conventional pools for swimming in.
The fact that we used nearly every minute of the three hours the family ticket allowed us (a family is defined as one adult and three children or two adults and two children) should demonstrate both the wealth of options we had to enjoy and the time it took to get onto slides and find a rubber ring. This type of ticket is one of the major things in its favour as it offers a considerable saving over the ticket prices for a family in Sopot (a 3-hour ticket for a family of 4 is nearly twice as expensive in Sopot at the weekend).
The place is unquestionably impressive and we suggest has been heavily influenced by the far larger and superior Tropical Islands resort just outside of Berlin. That said, Aqua Park Reda is about five and a half hours closer to Sopot by road so we’ll let that one slide. The final word should go to the three children who came along for the ride. When asked if they’d prefer to come to Aqua Park Reda than Aqua Park Sopot, a mere 5 minutes’ drive from home, their answer was pretty clear – if we have to wait two hours from leaving home to get into the pool then Sopot every time – the slides are cool there too. If they could be guaranteed to walk in without queuing, resulting in a door to pool time of under an hour, they’d choose Aqua Park Reda. With the family ticket offering such good value we hope that Aqua Park Reda’s novelty and popularity wear off quickly.
To find out all the ticket prices and the Aqua Park’s opening hours, take a look at Gdynia In Your Pocket.