Leisure centres, resorts and commercial facilities across the country are reaping the benefits of dedicated water play areas.
With the fun factor at the top of visitor wish lists, it is vital for commercial pool operators to continuously not just meet but exceed demands for safe and fun aquatic play.
“Commercial facilities are always looking for the next best thing and the end users are always looking for that wow factor,” says Simon Smith of World Leisure UK.
“In our experience, venues that invest in their water play offering reap the rewards in terms of added revenue, as the facility becomes attractive to a wider audience.”
He adds: “With regards to refurbishment we have also seen an increase in leisure centres and facilities adding to their current schemes to try and be different to their competitors.”
World Leisure UK has recently completed a new water play area in Northern Ireland’s largest leisure pool, the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex in Lisburn City. This was part of Lisburn City Council’s major renovation works at the facility and World Leisure was contracted to supply a water play area. The facility boasts an Aquadek, which has been created to add interactivity and a kid’s waterslide to the facility, with the structure now dominating the free form family fun pool area and spa pools. In addition, interactive water features like the dancing fountain have been added for children aged up to 12. World Leisure UK removed a lot of the existing walls and turbo seats and installed a new reinforced structure and mass fill.
The pool was then rendered and waterproofed using specialist materials and then tiled. Due to the amount of water required, the team installed two 100% duty 37kw pumps, which were supplied by Armstrong in to the existing under croft. The pumps are connected to a large stainless steel header that distributes the water to the features through the new uPVC pipe work. The site had an existing UV and free chlorine control system which is also used to supply the water play facility. There is an additional boost system which puts a small residual of free chlorine in to the splash pool as and when required. This is controlled through a Siemens Ezytrol system. All the controls and the system are integrated in to the Building Management System.
Simon comments: “The option to offer something that can be themed to suit local heritage or history and make it fun for the children is something we really enjoy doing, and something that is very popular.”
He continues: “When it comes to construction, early coordination between structural engineers and water hydraulic specialists is key to the facility working correctly after completion. We have an advantage at World Leisure UK as all the coordination is carried out under one roof, from structural design and installation right through to finishes, filtration and controls.”
The centrepiece of the newly refurbished Bicester Leisure Centre in Oxfordshire is the Certikin water play gear in the children’s teaching pool. The interactive, colourful features include a frog, rainbow slide and mushroom water fountain.
“Playing with water is a vital part of a child’s development,” says Steve Nelson, commercial manager at Certikin. “Although the primary aim of the equipment is to allow kids to have fun in a safe environment, it allows them at the same time, to learn through play. Kids’ play equipment needs to be strong and durable especially when coupled with the harsh environment of a swimming pool.”
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