Not Your Momma's Bathhouse

When our friends invited us to join them and their holiday child for a visit to a water park in the dead of winter, I was a bit hesitant. Under normal circumstances, I'm all for using a four-year-old as an excuse to have a little kid-like fun. Still, I couldn't get it out of my head that all the water parks I've ever known have been designed for summertime use, that is all slides and pools are completely outdoors. But if you are Switzerland and your summer doesn't last six months or more like Southern California summers, you build indoor water parks. So, last Friday, Isaiah and I played hooky from work and moseyed on down to Alpamare, an indoor water park in Pfäffikon SZ.

Now, truth be told, not everything is completely indoors. There are 10 water slides, all of which begin and end indoors. Most of them are tube slides, so you are completely covered during the entire ride. On the other hand, one slide (the bob sled one) is uncovered for the entire duration of the ride, another (Tornado) leads you outside and you spin like a tornado until you fall into the hole that takes you back inside, and a few others briefly feature open tubes. In addition to the slides, you can swim in the indoor wave pool (seen in the photo) and three outdoor pools, or baths. My favorite is Rio Mare (heated to 30° C) because at fifteen minute intervals the "river" surrounding the pool releases some sort of jet propulsion that launches you down river. There's no need for a flotation device. Just do a little "doggy-paddle" and soon you'll get caught up in the river's current. I hasten to point out that there is only one thermal-style bath available, which is the Iodine Brine Bath (the only one of its kind in all of Switzerland - yes, oooh, aaah) heated to 36° C. In fact, none of the baths are naturally heated. The other outdoor bath is heated to 33° C and features underwater music. Also, if you're feeling adventurous, you can jump into the almost freezing cold pool and then jump back into the hot pool for an invigorating tingly feeling. Actually, it does make the warm water feel so much warmer, but I must admit that I am not so brave to go in on my own. Had I not been pushed in, I probably would never have voluntarily entered the cold pool.

All in all, I really enjoyed feeling like a kid again and relaxing in the baths, surrounded by a snowy landscape, with the Zürichsee for a backdrop.

Recommendations: If you're looking for some fun during the winter, I think you should definitely check out Alpamare. Please know that activities for small children are quite limited during the winter. (I believe there is more to do during the summer.) The four-year-old with us only wanted to go in the wave pool and the other warmer pool because it was a bit chilly for her in the Rio Mare. The iodine brine bath is not recommended for children. Plus, she was too small to ride on most of the slides. If you are looking for hot springs, this is not the park for you.

1 comment

  1. OMG this is AWESOME. I am so planning what day I want to cut work and go... thanks for sharing! ;)


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