Imagine it, it’s a sunny evening, the light is glistening across Willen Lake, there’s a giant inflatable course on the water, the swans are swimming about in front of the pontoon, and I’m about to go for a swim with them. Yes, you read that right. Last Wednesday I found myself stood at the edge of the pontoon, dressed in a full-body wetsuit, staring out across at the huge inflatable Aqua Parc that has made Willen Lake its home this summer. And so, after a little pep talk, I geared myself up to dive in, swam the 10m across to the inflatable course, and that is when the fun began.
Water parks were a huge part of my childhood. I was never a huge fan of the big slides, but the pools, the rapids and the exotic feel of the aqua parks kept me going back time after time. In fact, water, in general, was a huge part of my childhood. The six-week summer holiday went by in a blur of days that were spent paddling in the river, swimming in the sea, lazing around the pool with friends, or setting up the slip and slide in the garden. Whatever I did during those six weeks off school, you could generally be certain that it would involve water in one way or another.
As I grew up, my love for water didn’t disappear, it simply became ‘less cool’ to do all of those things, so they fell by the wayside. And then, as I became an adult, it just wasn’t deemed acceptable to play in the water as I had once done. Which is why I was so pleased to hear that Aqua Parcs was coming to Milton Keynes. And the even better news was that the huge inflatable water adventure course sat right in the middle of Willen Lake, is designed for kids over eight and, you guessed it, adults alike!
What is Aqua Parcs?
The Willen Lake Aqua Parc opened on the 7th July 2018 and is due to stay for the duration of summer. It’s one of the biggest Aqua Parcs in the UK and despite having seen photos of it online, I was quite surprised by just how big it is in person!
I was invited along to try out the 120 metres long Milton Keynes Aqua Park last week and, as a water lover, I jumped at the chance to go back to being a child for an hour. And, once I had found the confidence to throw myself into the lake, let's just say that there was a lot of splashing and laughing involved as I attempted to tackle the 30+ inflatable obstacles over the course of the next hour.
What should I expect of an Aqua Parcs session?
You start off by diving straight into Willen lake and swimming across from the pontoon to the obstacle course. The water was, refreshing, but thanks to the wetsuit (and the warm weather we’ve had lately) it wasn’t quite as cold as I was expecting it to be and in a matter of minutes I had swum across and pulled myself onto the course.
The Aqua Parcs course on Willen Lake consists of everything you could imagine, including climbing walls, giant slides, a swing, monkey bars, and a figure-of-eight slide that will be certain to have you flying off into the water on either side. There’s plenty to keep you busy but it’s small enough for you to have time to make your way around once, and then back across to some of your favourite obstacles.
Once on the course, I realised just how nervous I was but after having my first fall off an obstacle into the lake (which happened sooner than I want to admit), I realised it wasn’t all that terrifying after all and really got into it. By the end, I was running around, and I even attempted the long jump in the middle of the course!
What is included?
Each session is one hour long and sessions start on the hour from 12pm and 6pm every day. A session on the Milton Keynes Aqua Parcs course costs £20, which includes the hire of a wetsuit. Once you’re dressed and ready to go, you’ll be given a safety brief, provided with a life jacket and then it’s time to get going!
What do you need?
All you need to do is to turn up with a swimsuit, a padlock for a locker (or you can purchase one on site) and be certain that you can swim 25m unaided – everything else will be provided for you! You can wear swim shoes on the inflatables but I went barefoot, which made it all the more entertaining as I was slipping and sliding all over the place!
How to book a session a Willen Lake Aqua Parcs session:
If you’d like to have a go on the Milton Keynes Aqua Parcs inflatable obstacle course, simply visit their website to book your session.
Price: £20 per hour, including wetsuit hire and a free life jacket.
Note: Children aged 8-10 years must be accompanied by a paying adult.
Children aged 10-17 years do not need an adult with them on the water, but they must be signed in at reception by someone over 18.
Disclaimer: I was invited along to the launch of Aqua Parcs MK by Perception PR. Myself and my friend were given free admission but all opinions remain entirely my own.
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