Nope, I haven’t gone all Rap on you. This is the name of one of Switzerland’s biggest (albeit not saying much) shopping centres. It is really easy to find, just off the ring road of Bern (our capital city), and only 40 minutes drive from Neuchâtel!
It was our first trip to Bernaqua, as M has been too small really up until now, but we had a brilliant time. Apparently they have 18 different indoor and outdoor pools but I think we only went in half of them and we managed to spend about 2 hours there which was plenty for the kids. All the pools are all different temperatures with different attractions and suitable for varying ages.
Our highlights were the kid’s pool area which included a shallow pool (The Jungle) with 2 small slides and various jets and showers and a Pirate ship (Takatiki) complete with cannons that you could use to shoot water at each other. And the raspberry pool (as E termed it) where jets shot up from the floor making raspberry-esque bubbles.
There was also a cinema-style pool (Solaqua) which was filled with salt water and soft lighting showing nature documentaries or cartoons. I love swimming outside when its cold like in a lot of the thermal baths you find in Switzerland. Here they had their “Fresh Water Pool” which you got into in the warmth inside but it lead you outside where they had bubble seats and benches, hot tub, waterfall, stream channel, various massage jets.
We didn’t try out the steam room or the 18°C plunge pool with the kids but we did take it in turns to go down the Canyon D’eaux Vives waterslide! It really threw you about which was good fun and you could collect rubber rings or boats to take down it from the bottom. I can’t wait for the kids to be old enough but we have a few more years yet. They have 3 more waterslides that we didn’t see, one of which you can take kids down accompanied from 4 years, but I expect it is only open in warmer weather. I think we had plenty enough to keep us busy though.
I really enjoyed the fact that the whole place was cash free including the lockers. You paid your entry and then were given a wristband and you simply had to pay the balance on leaving. This made the whole experience at the café, and dealing with any supplementary hours, so much easier.
I should probably mention that the place is not only a water park but also a Spa and a Gym. They also run Aqua fitness classes, baby and children’s swimming classes. I would really like to go back and test their Roman-Irish baths in the Spa and maybe get one of their “Wellness Formulas”.
Wishful thinking? It does seem possible for a mum though (funds permitting) as they have a crèche service in partneship with Kinderland just opposite. Kinderland is an indoor play area consisting of 300m2 of fun: from climbing to building or even painting. They take 0 to 8 year olds for a maximum of 4 hours at 3 francs an hour.
I will be back at some point that’s for sure. It’s a great activity for any time of year and guess what the Westside centre has its own Holiday Inn so if you are popping through your could stay there on route to wherever you are headed.