Zoomarine is probably best described as a nature park, with various animal exhibits and shows mixed in with a small selection of amusement rides. Coaster enthusiasts should be aware that the powered Buffalo only operates during the afternoons, and one cannot reasonably describe this ride as being worth waiting for. The rest of the park is pretty nice though; from the top of the giant wheel we could see a medium sized wave pool area, as well as various arenas for shows that we might have caught given more available time.
Aquashow Family Park
11th July 2010
Aquashow Family Park is a particularly nice facility located a few kilometers away from Faro airport in the Algarve. Though nominally split into two parks, a water park and a theme park, this distinction is tenuous at best given that two of the three rides in the supposed dry section involve water. The star attraction is Montanha Russa (#1537), a Mack-built water coaster that is a direct clone of Poseidon, albeit with a significantly smaller number of boats. Despite the lower capacity this didn't prove a problem today, as the wait time never exceeded five minutes. The ride itself was just as good as I'd hoped it would be, with a particular highlight being the major vertical drop at the end of the course. This featured a superb head-chopper effect that had almost all of those on board ducking, despite there being absolutely no need to do so. After a few circuits I decided to go stand in the path of the splashdown, which was arguably even more fun than the coaster; being hit by a wall of cool water was oddly refreshing, especially since the sun had me completely dry again within minutes.
The biggest issue with the park today was ambient heat, an occupational hazard in this part of the world that the designers may not have considered when they elected to build unshaded concrete paths. These had temperatures ranging from the mildly uncomfortable to the actively painful, and while sandals might have helped they cannot realistically be worn in a water park where guests are moving between tube slides. It was for this reason that I ended up abandoning the water area after trying the two largest slides, and even that brief time left me with burnt feet.
With time to spare I decided to try the two remaining dry rides despite neither looking particularly appealing. The Aqua Fly ride (pictured below) is a Technical Park design that at first glance looks like a powered coaster, but it's much too slow for that. Guests sit in individual airplane-themed cars equipped with water guns, albeit with a drastically limited field of fire that left me unable to hit anything except the bad tempered ride operator in the station who wasn't amused at all; one might have thought she'd have learned from experience to stand out of the way! With that done, I had a brief spin on the Top Swing frisbee ride, which, though enjoyable, was totally not worth the walk across the hot metal floor to get there!
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