Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Water Cube Water Park

You remember the Water Cube, that crazy, innovative piece of Olympic architecture where Michael Phelps won all of those gold medals. Well, come on down to the Water Cube and have some fun yourself, not breaking world records, but frolicking and splashing in one of the coolest, weirdest water parks you'll ever visit.

The Water Cube's water park features a huge wading and swimming pool that turns into a wave pool once every hour. There are also water slides, a lazy river, and plenty of other fun attractions for family members of all ages.

The wave pool is quite an experience, apart from the fun waves themselves. The whole wave period is livened up by an entertainment program. There is a stage at the head of the pool, and at first we wondered what use the stage might have. Well, cue up load, throbbing techno music, and bring out an emcee in a dapper hat. Our emcee's job was to get the crowd really into it, spurring us on to splash each other, wave our arms in the air, and scream on command.

Then out came the dance troupe, young women dressed in provocative clothing, gyrating to the beat. Wholesome family fun!

There was also a clown who threw balloons out into the crowd, as well as a dashing young male singer for the females in attendance.

What a scene! And it repeated every hour, with costume changes and different performances, including a belly dance at one point.

And we were just getting our day started. The Water Cube water park features a host of water slides. We had two favorites in particular.

The first was a four-person raft that wings down an enclosed tube, eventually plummeting down a short, straight drop and into a funnel, where the raft goes back and forth until it eventually disappears into the bottom of the funnel and splashes down in a pool at the bottom. Click here to see a picture of the funnel.

We also really enjoyed the red tube that is visible in two of the adjoining pictures. For this slide, a single person enters into an enclosed capsule way up at the top. There is an ominous countdown..."three...two...one..." Then the floor of the capsule suddenly opens and the rider is sent plummeting straight down in an almost free fall. The tube then slopes upward, as the slider has enough momentum from the drop to be carried against gravity. Then there is a turn and a splashdown at the very bottom. A unique (for us) experience, with the added benefit of the line for the ride being very short. Not a very risk-taking group, the patrons of the Water Cube water park.

At 200 kuai per person, the Water Cube water park is not cheap by Chinese standards. Yet it was rather crowded, with a full pool and lines for the major attractions. And we didn't even go on a weekend...

~Steve

PS: Check out the jellyfish hanging from the ceiling...

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