If you are looking for inspiration of new places to take the kids, here’s a European theme park that you may not have heard of. Lifestyle blogger and mum of three energetic boys, Sara-Jayne Jones from Keep Up With The Jones Family reports on her family trip to Europa Park.
I’ve been invited to some amazing premières – but as the mom of three boys, nothing has been as exciting as the invitation I received last month to visit Germany. In the words of my middle son, it was epic. In June I was one of the first members of the public to pop their bottom onto brand new seats and buckle up to ride the amazing new attraction at Europa-Park: The Voletarium Flying Theatre. The ride is central to the tale of the fictitious Eulenstein Brothers, aviation pioneers with an incredible story which is told throughout the ride’s queuing system and via various video clips and I was completely blown away by it all. I managed to become so emotional that I think I even cried at some point on the ride, it was just that beautiful. For around five minutes, I was flown around and above the landmarks of Europe on the most realistic hang-glider flight; past the European Parliament, the Eiffel Tower, inhaling the floral scents of Holland and feeling the wind rushing past my face.
Europa-Park is the second largest theme park in Europe, yet until the day I walked past the gladiator to step through the lobby doors of the superbly themed Hotel Colosseo to begin the amazing two day press trip ahead of me, I had no idea that Europa-Park even existed. I’ve visited Germany a few times – each time with work – but other than always coming home with fond memories and being of the opinion that it is indeed a beautiful country filled with lovely people, I never considered taking a summer holiday there with the boys.
I was treated to a two hour guided tour of some of the park, during which time I managed to ride front and back seats on 7 of the 13 completely different rollercoasters [one of them a virtual reality coaster for children, which was awesome], have my hair blown into a scarecrow style that I feared I might never recover from, and take as many photographs as humanly possible. I discovered that there’s something for everyone at Europa-Park.
There are magical and whimsical lands such as Ireland and the Minimoys Kingdom featuring the award winning Arthur Rollercoaster that have been created just for the littlest members of your family, along with Grimm’s Enchanted Forest and the Whale Adventure in Iceland – and for those that like their hair blown back as they’re twirled upside down, there’s my personal favourite, the Blue Fire rollercoaster, and a myriad of completely unique rollercoasters to accompany it. On one of the tallest attractions I’ve ever been on, I think I saw half of Germany from a rollercoaster in the Russian area of the park, as I twirled around the top of a a colossal mirrored tower before spinning backwards to the ground. The day after my tour, I may or may not have gotten up at a ridiculous hour to be first in the queue and front of Blue Fire because it was just that good. For the more sensible amongst us, there are water raft rides, flume rides, monorails and land trains, shows and musical theatre….every kind of entertainment you can imagine. All encapsulated inside a perfectly manicured and family owned theme park by the Mack Family.
The park even has the cutest set of mascots, headed by Ed Euro-Maus. There are animal representatives for each area of the park, which is split into countries across the 90 hectares of fun. When I checked into the hotel, signed postcards from the Europa-Park gang were waiting on the children’s bunk beds and when I arrived in the park, I got a huge hug from three of them as they posed for photographs.
As if that wasn’t enough, as I was enjoying a tarte flambé under a gingham parasol in the park, I learned that the construction site which I managed to spy from the car on my way to the park is actually the building which is underway for a 2019 opening of Europa-Park’s all new waterpark – less than a mile from the original park, which given how hot it was when we were there, will be a fabulous addition to the complex, with its own hotel on site.
I had no idea Europa-Park existed – and it’s crazy because it’s AMAZING and I can’t understand how it’s remained such a well kept secret for so long from everyone I’ve asked.
So if you’ve never visited Europa-Park like me, and have a theme park loving family, why not head to Germany this summer? I promise you won’t be sorry!