When I was a kid sometimes my parents would take us to Aquasplash, an indoor water park in Hemel Hempstead. (Britain has very few outdoor water parks for obvious reasons.) Aquasplash was a disgusting unhygienic poorly put together deathtrap of a place, by which I mean it was the best thing EVER.
Here’s one of the few pics of the pool which seem to exist. Imagine it packed full with hundreds of screaming kids, and you’ve about got the flavour of it.
It was all inside this building, the Jarman Park Leisure World. I remember there was a cinema next to it. I have this really clear memory of standing in the queue to get into Aquasplash, and on one side of me there was the window which showed you what was going on in the pool, and on the other side there was the Lord of the Rings Argonath poster all lit up to entice you into the movie. That little scene could sum up the whole of 2001 for me really.
I was OBSESSED with this place. I think I have a whole bunch of journal entries from my childhood where I just talked about how awesome Aquasplash was. It was up there with Disneyworld for me. Braving the Space Bowl (the green water slide you can see up there, it deposited you into a sort of massive bowl) was legit one of the proudest moments of my childhood.
Man, not a single photo of the Space Bowl in its prime was ever taken I guess. You can just about make it out in this picture I found, it’s the big green, well, bowly thing.
See where all those people are sitting? Those are seats from the Burger King which was on the side of the water park! You could climb out of the pool overstimulated and drenched and HAVE A BURGER!
I loved that so much as well, even though my parents wouldn’t allow me back in the pool for half an hour after I’d eaten in case I died.
Here’s what it looked like at the very top, complete with netting that wouldn’t stop a rubber beach ball falling down, let alone a child. “The Abyss” is about right. Also I can’t remember which ride “The Abyss” was, but one of the three rides at the top was literally never open/always broken, maybe it was that one.
LOOK! Look how grimy yet wonderful it all is!
Anyway today I found these old photos on my hard drive. I didn’t take them (didn’t take any of the pics in this post) and even though I saved the link I got them from, it’s a dead link now alas. It’s pics of the place being demolished back in 2014ish.
I was FUCKING DEVASTATED. I still am a little bit, in a way, someone could have bought the pool and (hopefully) sorted it out a bit. Made a new generation of kids deliriously happy and maybe at times actually delirious! But it never happened…
This picture is the worst for me because I used to stand in that exact spot, waiting to get a rubber ring and experience a five-second slide across the pool. It was always freezing cos the emergency exit was right next to it.
This is the end point of the rapids ride, I think. That one was my favourite.
And this I believe is the earthly remains of both the Space Bowl (I think) and another ride I don’t remember the name of, but do remember you were guaranteed a massive wedgie if you rode it.
Fun fact, if you type Aquasplash’s name into Google, in the UK at least, the first result it suggests is ‘Aquasplash child death.” (NO no-one actually died there.) God I miss it.