Our group 4 adults and 4 children (6,7,8 and 8) visited today for a swim which included the inflatables (as it is half term), lunch at Aspen and then a skate.
The changing area is in need of some investment. It is tired and feels "grubby". The cubicles are cramped for one adult and one child to share. The lockers are not generous so you may need 2 if you have lots of bags or coats. They are 20p each which is non refundable (on each opening)
Poolside, the water temperature was reasonable and the session was popular but didn't feel over crowded. The life guards were actively managing the pool areas which made for a safe swimming environment. The end of the large inflatable is a slide to 2m deep water. However a lifeguard is on duty with rescue pole and floats if required. All of our children attempted and enjoyed the large inflatable although the youngest of our party perhaps found it more of a a struggle with so many older/teenage children also using the inflatable.
The flume was good fun and safely managed by the lifeguards. I was pleased that it exits in a "trough" of water rather than a deep pool, this made it much easier and possibly safer for the children. You need to be1.2m to ride the flume and no children in laps ( which is not really an issue with the shallow exit)
The shower facilities were too few! The water was warm however there were 5 (or may be 6) in the ladies changing room. Considering that sessions start and end in time slots, this is too few to cope with a mass exodus.....leaving the pool a few mins early may be a good idea.
There are only 2 hairdryers in the ladies changing area. This is ridiculous!!!!! Many customers are likely to be moving on to skate or snow related activities with children. The least the snowdome can do is to provide customers with adequate facilities to ensure hair can be dried before spending some considerable time in a cold environment.
The restaurant Aspen overlooks the main ski slope. It is a reasonable pub type restaurant. The food is also of reasonable quality and is priced at what you might expect for a concession within an attraction. Kids meals are £4.50 but do not include a drink or dessert. The children all enjoyed their meals as did the adults. Beware it does get busy and there may be a delay before your food arrives. Soft drinks are expensive at £1.95 for 250ml ( of draft diet coke). After our first round we went to the vending machine just outside the door to Aspen and spent £1.20 on 500ml of chilled bottled diet coke!!!
The ice skating was very busy! However the kids and adults all had a good time. Initial access on to the ice is poor. It can be crowded and the ice a little uneven....so take extra care here especially with younger kids. There is an initial "practice area" which was busy and an outer ring with another less busy practice area. The penguin skate aids used by some of the kids gave then great confidence but rental is £3 for 25 mins and kids usually want to skate longer than this. It is possible to skate the vast majority of all the ice areas holding or within reach of a hand rail. However there is about a 6 foot gap where there is no hand rail and some skaters pass through this gap at speed. At busy times such as today, it would have been helpful to see more ice wardens around to keep n eye on things.
In summary we all had a great day, but feel that the Snowdome needs some TLC before it becomes outdated and not worth the cost of the activities or the 2 hour round trip.
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