We all know theme parks and water parks are a great way to keep kids entertained during school holidays but what about adults? Does our age exempt us from the enjoyment of a rollercoaster and should we be more worried about our wobbly bits in a swimsuit than having fun on a waterslide?
Setting myself the challenge of finding out whether ‘grown-ups’ can have just as much fun, I recently visited three of Australia’s finest theme parks on the Gold Coast -- Warner Brothers Movie World, Sea World and Wet 'n' Wild.
Expecting to be engulfed in a sea of teenie boppers at every turn, I was pleasantly surprised to find that these parks are a great holiday for the young at heart. And in some cases are even geared towards them.
First up was Movie World where you can go from 0 to 100 km/hr in just two seconds on the Superman Escape roller coaster. Given its extreme nature, most of the passengers were adults. Even then, a lot of the faces were a little green stumbling off this ride (mine included).
We also enjoyed being shot 60 metres into the sky on the Batwing Spaceshot and facing the steepest drop in the Southern Hemisphere on the Green Lantern Coaster. While there was certainly lots of children queuing for these amusements, there was probably a greater number of adults.
It was strangely nostalgic to experience gut-wrenching fear, but even better to feel the pure unadulterated joy when you didn’t die; definitely something I will do again, if only to see grown men scream in terror!
Next up was Wet 'n' Wild. Maybe I’m just getting old but my advice is to arrive early to beat the queues. This will give you the whole day to enjoy everything and you’ll skip the hot midday sun.
While not as intense as Movie World, Wet 'n' Wild was still an incredibly enjoyable experience. It had a huge number of slides to choose from, but I was also tempted by the enormous pool and lounge chairs in the middle of the park.
Unfortunately, I was out to challenge myself and so queued and went on every single slide and tunnel in the park. Luckily, more often than not, the water drowned out my screams and I could pass off my trembles of terror as being cold from coming out of the water.
For my final day, I visited Sea World. While the aquarium theme park is certainly slower paced, it was probably my favourite theme park as I got to get up close and personal with penguins, sharks and dolphins. There are also some rollercoasters and water rides thrown in for good measure but overall, my type of park.
So what did I take away from my experience? I rediscovered the joys fairy floss and churros. I also found out that queuing does not get any easier as you age. But most importantly I learned that you are never too old to enjoy a day at a theme park, even if your heart (and stomach) feel like they are.