My summer holidays are around the corner and for the first time in over 10 years I’ll take four weeks off work. Wow. I feel excited and terrified at the same time. The kids’ daycare closed last week and they couldn’t wait to kick off their holidays. They woke up on the first day asking for pancakes (wish granted) and we spent the following day at very special place, Serena waterpark in Espoo. Serena has the biggest waterpark in Scandinavia and it’s open all year round. In the winter, the resort offers skiing activities as well. This was the first time our family visited a waterpark and knowing how much E loves water, I couldn’t wait. I was so worried he would be too excited to sleep that I didn’t break the news until morning.
We were blessed with sunny weather, but it was windy and we were afraid it would be too cold to play outside while wet. A pity, given what the resort offered:
But here comes into play the best side of this place: there’s plenty to do inside as well. For readers who don’t know our family well, we visited with two toddlers aged 3 and 5. The dressing rooms are quite big. Be advised you need a 2 euro coin (which is returned) to use the lockers and store your valuables safely. If you forget, you can still change a small bill at the shop. The rooms are close to the pools and we went back and forth several times with no fuss to leave or get our phones or wallets. The dressing rooms had everything I needed with kids: spacious showers, complimentary shower gel and shampoo, plenty of space to seat and move, few hair-driers. There was a sauna but we didn’t use it. Toilets were very clean. Dressing rooms are accessible with strollers. After getting changed, we were presented with this:
There are 3 main pools, with different depths and temperature. We started from the children’s pool, warmer and provided with a couple of slides suitable for small children.
I found courage to try the wild stream (villivirta) and made the fool decision to keep my prescription glasses on… and I lost them at the first turn. The staff was kind and tried to help me. Luckily a kid and his dad took the matter in their own hands and went scanning the stream for my glasses. I was so grateful! Thinking back, I take full blame for the inconsiderate choice, but I would advise the resort to put very clear and luminescent signs strongly advising people to take glasses off. I hadn’t visited a waterpark in over 15 years and excitement doesn’t play well with common sense. There were nice hangers for glasses near the bigger slides, but I didn’t connect the dots that I may need them for the stream as well. Access to the stream and bigger slides should be restricted (or guarded) in case a lone kid gets strange ideas.
After so much fun we realised time had flew, and went for a late lunch to the resort’s restaurant. I noticed few families were eating their packed lunch in the picnic areas, which is allowed by park’s rules. The food court serves as a cafe (coffee, tea, juice, some buns, sodas, ice creams…) and as a fast food restaurant.
There are 4-5 meals including burger, soda, and fries. Also a small salad buffet was displayed. Choice was a bit limited. On a positive note, the kids could spend time in a play area while we waited for our food.
After eating we were ready to dive back into the water. The kids had grown bold and wanted to try bigger slides and deeper pools. E was completely reckless and swam all around like a fish, refusing any support!
R is usually more cautious, yet she found courage to dare. I was so proud of her! We spent a good half hour with her attempting to swim short distances in the 1,5 m deep pool.I instead realised I’m officially old and have zero tolerance for thrills. If you are better than me, know that the three indoors slides are very exciting. I wish I could travel back in time and had 20 year old me try those.
After over 4 hours, we went to get changed and left the park. Kids protested but they couldn’t stand straight anymore (and later slept 12 hours, win for me). We all agreed we had a fun family day and that it was the perfect way to start summer holidays.
What’s the final verdict?
The good stuff
- plenty of attractions, you can easily fill the whole day and make kids of all ages happy;
- clean and functional dressing rooms and facilities;
- bringing your own food is allowed;
- fun granted with any weather;
- huge parking space,
- kind staff and good customer service.
Could be better
- entrance tickets are pricey (note that kids younger than 4 don’t pay) and there are hidden costs (parking is 5 euros, food is expensive);
- some surfaces are slippery and kids are not the best at listening to “don’t run!”;
- potential danger could be notified better (forbid access to certain areas to younger kids, warn not to wear glasses, …).
This post was fruit of a collaboration with Serena waterpark. Opinions are mine and sincere. Read more about my work and transparency values here.