Daisy, Poppy and Elsie love being in the water! Bath, sea or pool, they would happily swim for hours. So, we decided to have a day out at Coral reef waterworld in Berkshire. Coral reef reopened in 2017 after a £13 million refurbishment, and we had yet to try it out.
We bought our tickets online as it was half term and we expected it to be busy. An adult ticket is £13.70, the price for a junior is £9.65 and under 5s go free. You must select a two-hour time slot when booking online. To book your tickets visit https://www.everyoneactive.com/centre/coral-reef-waterworld/
When we arrived, we overheard a family complaining about the fact the car park was pay and display. Although, the parking ticket is refundable for people visiting Coral reed so remember to take in your car park ticket receipt. Buying tickets online gives you fast track entry into the pool, which saves having to queue and miss any pool time.
Ready for some family fun
The changing rooms were huge, with lots of family rooms, and we were impressed with how clean it was. Especially as we were the last time slot of the day. The shower area is spacious, but the shower water is quite hot. A lovely temperature for me but a bit too hot for the girls.
When we walked into the pool area, the girls didn’t know where to go first. The pool, the pirate ship, the water slides… There is so much to choose from. We started off by getting into the pool so the girls could play on the pirate ship slide. The pool water was warm and around the pool they have heaters, which means you can stand in the shallow water with the little ones without getting cold. Such a great idea!
There’s so much going on in the pool. They have little corals children area, rapids, fountains and an erupting volcano which shoots out jets of water and gusts of wind. I would advise keeping an eye on this as it makes it hard to swim in that area when it erupts. We made sure we held onto Daisy, even though she is confident in the water.
Trying out the water slides
Daisy was desperate to try out one of the water slides. We all went to try out Aqua splash which is suitable for all the family. There was no holding Daisy back who insisted on going down first. Poppy came down on my lap and even Elsie (who’s one year old) had a go with Johnny.
I was expecting a slow slide, but it was fast enough to make it an exciting ride for everyone. Before you go down you can select a theme, you can choose from mermaids, pirates, dolphins… and this will create different colours and sounds. The slide is lit up and there are spots of light you need to try and hit as you go down to score points. Beware, there is a drop down into water at the end of the slide which we didn’t expect. Although the signs do tell you how deep the water is at the end.
There are three water slides that you ride in an inflatable raft. Poppy and Elsie were too small to sit in the raft without falling through, but children under 1.2m can ride on the storm chaser and maelstrom with an adult. Most of the slides you can customise the lights and music, giving you a different experience each time.
The final two rides, Poseidon’s peril (another ride using an inflatable raft) and the cannon ball are for children over eight years of age and over 1.2m tall. The cannon ball is a high-speed thrill ride that records how long it takes you to make it to the bottom. The fastest time of the day is on display, giving you a target to beat!
Adult only relaxation
If you’re looking for a more relaxing experience (or a day out without the kids), there is a spa area for adults only. Here you will find three saunas, a steam room, heated sun loungers, a spa pool and a cool pool. There is also an on-site café and viewing area. The café sells hot drinks, children’s meals, paninis etc. Although we didn’t get to try the food as by the time we were out of the pool it was 9pm and we were all ready for bed!
Would we go back to Coral reef?
When we booked our tickets, I was a bit hesitant whether to go, as the ticket prices are a lot more than an average swimming pool, and we had seen mixed reviews online. I can honestly say now that it was worth every penny. We managed to cram so much into our two-hour time slot, and it has something for everyone.
I would advise picking your time slot carefully, slides are only open during peak times and it can get extremely busy. So, to avoid spending most of your time queuing, try to pick an early morning or late evening slot. Under 5s can only use one of the water slides but there’s plenty for them to do without the slides. I would highly recommend going, as it’s one of the best indoor aqua parks we’ve been to. We can’t wait to go back for another day out, and next time I might even brave the cannonball.
If you’re looking to get some ideas for days out with kids in the UK, take a look at our days out page https://bigworldlittlefootsteps.com/category/ukdaysout/