I’m going to open this blog post with an apology for the unacceptable length of time between my first post from my trip to Berlin and this one. August has been a super busy month for me leaving me with the Catch 22 scenario of more-to-blog-about-but-less-time-to-post. But enough of my snivelling and excuses, lets move on! One of the things that kept me busy in August was a trip to Tropical Islands. If you haven’t heard of this place (and pre-German posting, I hadn’t) it’s an indoor tropical rainforest and aquapark located in a giant dome, about 60km out of Berlin in the Spreewald Forest. We actually rounded off our visit to Berlin with a few days here and that worked really well for us, especially for the younger members of the family who only have so much interest in the culture and history of the Capital. On that note, if it’s a cultural experience , history and the like your after, your probably not going to fill your boots here. But if you fancy a splashing good time and a break from the day-to-day then this just might be the place for you.
Allow me to begin with a quick history lesson (I’m a self confessed history geek-indulge me!).Tropical Islands is located on upon the former Brand Briesen airfield. You wont have t look far to see evidence of its former use, if that sort of thing interests you. Following use by the Luftwaffe during WW2 it was taken by the Red Army in 1945 but returned to the Germans in the 90’s following reunification. It was then taken over by a company who intended to construct airships .Stay with me,this is going somewhere. To facilitate that,there was built a rather large dome. Big enough to build and store an airship. Or, if that company was to go bust, big enough to build an indoor water world and tropical rainforest. And when I say rather large , think huge. The structure is one of the worlds largest self-supporting halls, coming in at a whopping 360m in length, 210m in width and some 107m in height. For those who don’t visualise measurements well , like me, think of it like this; you could stand the Statue of Liberty up in there, and lie the Eiffel tower on its side. It actually is as impressive from the outside as it is fun on the inside.
And what will you find in this dome of such impressive proportions? Well, amongst other things, a plethora of plants and tropical blooms, a variety of wildlife- the turtles and flamingos were a firm favourite with us- Germany’s tallest waterslide tower, several indoor and outdoor pools and a small but made with real sand beach . And worry not about the unpredictable European weather as with Tropical Islands comes Tropical weather, the temperature being kept at around 26c. Thanks to some sort of technical wizardry with the material in the roof, you also can get a tan despite being indoors in a completely created and managed environment. Clever,huh?
When you’ve had enough of being in the water and the wrinkly-ness of your hands and feet is telling you to get out, you can head up for a birds eye view. The dome is big enough to allow for hot air balloon rides. If you’d rather keep your feet firmly on the ground , there is a walking trail round the dome taking in various points of interest and information or browse the shops and eating places of the Tropical village. We didn’t shop so much- well, my younger travelling companions loved the sweet shop, predictably- but we all enjoyed the Frozen Yogurt bar. Choose your Fro-Yo, choose your toppings and enjoy. There was a good range from the virtuously healthy to the positively indulgent! Although most of the food and drink offerings are a bit fast food-ish, we enjoyed our meals and didn’t feel it was too pricy. Just remember to take your drinks cups back if you want to be refunded the deposit you pay to use them !
If you want to visit for longer than a day and stay over you’ll find various accommodation options. We went for a Teepee on the nearby campsite. A word of caution- the campsite is great, the facilities are of a good standard and well maintained. The tepees are basic. Really, really basic. Like, almost sleeping under the stars just-call-me-Bear-Grylls basic. Honestly, if I’d have realised just how basic, I might have thought twice. I am not a natural in nature or anything too outdoors-ish ,to be honest. But I decided to be a grown up about it (Outwardly. Inwardly I was unconvinced and plotting ways to ensure something with at least four stars and a spa on our next adventure) and actually we had a pretty good time, if a little chilly first thing in the morning and on the midnight dash to the loo. On our final night, as I sat outside our tent enjoying the night air, listening to the crickets chirping and feeling a sense of calm and contentment as we sat round as a family, talking and laughing (lots!), I managed to get this lovely image of the moon over the camp site. I guess some things you’d miss out on if you did always go for the four-stars-and-a-spa, hey?
If you want to know more about Tropical Islands, heres the link
Until next time, thanks for reading.