Schools are out for summer. In actual fact, most schools have been out now for the best part of a month and for some parents and kids alike there is a gathering paucity of things to do, of any form of meaningful stimulation. Boredom and the related crankiness is creeping in on both sides, tempers are fraying and it’s too darned hot.Fear not, in and around Bucharest there are high quality, fun-filled, energy sapping solutions that both kids and parents will love.
By Douglas Williams
So we’re looking at Bucharest and it’s environs and we’ve got half a dozen suggestions for you, each of which would happily occupy a half-day and with a bit of lunch and an ice cream could easily be stretched to the whole day.
So let’s start with suggestions and first off the new kid on the block, Escape Rooms. So this one offers you, the parent, the opportunity to win lots of cool points not only with your own kids and not only with your kids’ friends but also with your kids’ friends’ parents. It’s possible to go with two but you really need a group, six is ideal. So phone around and do your parent friends a favour by taking their kids out from under their feet for the afternoon. With Escape Rooms it’s best if the kids are not too young as there is potential to get a proper fright so probably 8+ is advisable.
This is great fun and it requires team-work, intuition, observation and logic to escape from the room so there’s definitely an educational element built in. Codes need to be broken, messages deciphered and mysteries cracked and all the while the clock is ticking. And there are a few surprises along the way, some good, some less good. This is a really well thought out activity, one that can be found world-wide, with adults enjoying it every bit as much as kids. In Bucharest the Escape Rooms are just off Piata Romana, just off the rather charming Str Caderea Bastiliei on Strada Constantin Daniel. With six kids expect to pay 40 lei each. Visit www.roomsescape.ro for more information.
Next up and again ideal for a rainy day is House of Bounce which, as the name suggests, is all about bouncing up and down. HoB has acres of trampolines, 1,000 sqm to be precise – big ones, small ones, long ones… you get the idea. It’s a whole heap of fun and utterly exhausting at the same time and we parents know how that helps our little cherubs when it comes to falling asleep. Most of us will require a navigation app like Waze in order to find House of Bounce but your kids will be very grateful that you did. It’s on Bulevardul Chișinău 1 and in Waze as House of Bounce but it’s not immediately apparent from the ground, you need to go through a white door in the centre of the block, modest signage, and go upstairs. This is suitable for most ages from around four up to and including adults. Great cardio. See www.houseofbounce.ro for more information.
So now we take a look at the perennially popular and ever growing Divertiland Water Park and this is a full day out for all the family for sure, one to plan for and to enjoy. Added this year is a full 50m pool, the Super Paradise area, which also has two restaurants and a cocktail bar. The Los Petit area will keep the little ones amused with fountains and they’ll love the shallow and always warm Hippo Pool. Sun worshippers are amply catered for with a beautiful sandy beach. Thrill seekers will have a blast on the extensive flumes while those of a more mellow disposition will enjoy gently floating round the “island”. There are shriek inducing splash jet things and a wave beach and just a whole lot of family fun in the sun. As with all of the attractions mentioned here timing is everything but Divertiland is so huge that even peak time Saturday afternoon there’s usually still space to be had. Monday to Friday an adult ticket purchased there is 45 lei, kids over 10 35 lei, under 10 25 lei. Over the weekend it’s 65, 45 and 25 lei respectively. Buying tickets online gives about a 5 lei saving. Divertiland is in the west of the city, see the website for directions and more information: www.divertiland.ro
To another water park, this time Water Park, in Otopeni and you may well have noticed this place as your plane is coming in to land. Again this is a vast place that you literally need a map to navigate and again there’s plenty for the little children, the slightly crazy bigger children, the moody adolescent and mum and dad. Multi-coloured flumes; long, fast slides; a “river” that you can drift round on an inflatable and a lots of deck chairs for sitting soaking up the sun on. And there are food and drink options galore. To find, head north to the airport, come off the DN1 immediately after the exit for the airport and at the round about go round so you rejoin the DN1 this time southbound and then pay close attention for the exit about 200 metres on your right. Monday to Friday Water Park is 30 lei for adults, 15 lei for kids, weekends it’s 50 lei for adults and 25 lei for kids. Under threes are free. See www.waterpark.ro for more information.
Staying in the north of the city we visit the simply wonderful Therme. A world class facility Therme never fails to impress, this is a great place to while a way half a day. If you’ve already been this place needs no introductions and your kids are sure to love it, if you haven’t I envy you, you are in for a most pleasant surprise. That said, timing is everything and that extra effort to get up and get there early – it opens at 08.00 – will pay dividends as will making the smart choice and avoiding weekends – this is understandably a very popular destination. There are three options strictly speaking but it really boils down to two – with kids and without so we’ll focus on the “with” and the simply amazing Galaxy area. Here you will find a number of slides many of which are only available to the bigger kids but there are, lower down, slides for even very small children. There, they will squeal with delight as they hit previously unmatched velocities. There’s a big wave pool, a shallow baby pool and another warm pool with swim up bar. Outside there’s the brand new beach opened in June. There’s a restaurant and café and afore mentioned swim up bar for those smart enough to take a taxi. Four and a half hours costs 54 lei for adults, 38 for children, family package, two adults, two children is 164 lei for 4.5hrs. Find Therme about another five minutes drive north of Otopeni Airport and on the right. See www.en.therme.ro for more information.
And so last, but absolutely not least and probably my favourite, the delectable, delightful Edenland. This is essentially a forest that has been turned into an adventure playground. So first and foremost there’s the ropes courses where participants climb way up high into the trees and then they fly through the air on zip wires, ladders, ropes, swings, more zip wires and sundry other alarming, sometimes scary high wire daring do. But they are carefully and cleverly graded so kids as small as 100cm can still go round a course and have an absolute hoot doing it. There is also the “black” course which is only for extreme thrill seekers, particularly those fit and strong enough to manage. The safety standards and just the general standards all round are exceptional and a real credit to the owners. There is paintball, archery, horse riding, bike riding and a really good play park for little uns and a perfectly respectable pizzeria restaurant place. Get there by going straight to the very top of Pipera Tunari and then going left and right following the signs. Pay attention mind you! See www.edenland.ro for more information.