Wet and wild in Billund…
Billund in Denmark is famous for one thing. Bricks. Lands made out of bricks, rides made out of bricks and model kits made out of…yes you guessed it. But there’s much more to Billund than Lego. After visiting Polar Land to ride the Polarcoaster we went on to test out two more nearby attractions…
It’s not all about the Lego…
One of the world’s most enduring toys was born in Denmark’s Billund. And there’s no indication the stuff is on the wane; there are seventy Lego bricks for every one of the world’s six billion people, and Minifigures form one of the biggest populations on earth. Here in Billund, you can tour the factory, stay in the theme hotel, and buy the T shirt or the Millenium Falcon. And every morning from 10am, the crowds stretch around the block to pick up their tickets for Legoland. The surrounding fields are given over to car parks, and planes start flying people into the airport from early morning.
But if you’re coming to Legoland, it’s worth checking out the variety of things that are on offer nearby, including a public sculpture park, a telephone museum that shows you what life was like before Apple came along, and a buried bronze age girl. There are also two great parks for the family, one wet and the other wild…
It may be one of the largest water parks in Northern Europe but it feels more like Vegas as you enter the Aladdin’s Palace style bazaar and entertainment park that envelopes Lalandia. In this entertainment wonderland you can ski, skate, bowl, eat, drink, or spend your whole day swimming in the Aquadome. Or don’t bother swimming; let the water do the work. The park is a vast network of tipping buckets, sprays, bubble machines, slides, chutes and lazy rivers that will soak you to the skin and give you a ride you wont forget.
The kids rush straight for the most extreme; the water bowl. And take Hannah with them.
“That was awesome,” she says, when she finally comes up for water.
“You liked it?” I ask.
“Would I like it?”
“No.” She pulls on my hand. “But I’ll take you anyway.”
Together we haul a huge raft up several flights of stairs. I climb in like an elephant in a swimming costume, push off too soon, crash through the red light, go down backwards trying to grab at anything as my fingers slip off the handles, scream for it to stop, fly up and down the bowl, and smash into the pool at the end head first.
And then I do it again. And again.
On our tour of Europe over the last few days, we have actually been around the world several times. At Miniatur Wunderland a model railway took us from the USA to central Europe over 13 kilometres of teeny weeny track. At Lego Miniland, we found ourselves beginning at the Statue Of Liberty before progressing through the European countries and ending on Naboo. Not many world tours stop at Naboo, but it’s always worth dropping in to have a drink with the Ewoks. And now in Givskud Zoo, we head out across the Savannah, driving from Asia to Africa via South America.
Cameron has been given a book and a CD and puts himself in charge of ticking off the animals. But first it’s a case of finding out what the animals are. It’s easy with the elephants and the two humped camels, but creatures like the Crab Eating Macaws are harder to identify along with the Capybaras, particularly as the Capybaras hang about underwater. Before visiting Givskud Zoo we are told we won’t be able to drive around the park with the bikes on the roof as the tandems might worry the giraffes and the Thule BackUp Box might attract monkeys.
But the giraffes aren’t the least bit concerned; they find nibbling the trees a much more interesting proposition than our tyres. Givskud is less a traditional zoo and more of a safari park. You drive around most of it with several stops to tour by foot, and often the only thing separating them from you is a river, or the car window; so there’s always that frisson of ‘you can’t catch me.’
Apparently Samson the Silverback gorilla can bend a spoon. The proof is in the gorilla education zone where Cameron examines it carefully for cheating.
“How do we know he did that?” The rest of us can see that he could probably snap Cameron in half if he got his hands on him. Cameron assures us this isn’t going to happen.
“Gorillas can’t swim.”
“What? Even I can do that without armbands,” says Hannah. Samson stares us out in an alpha male kind of way. Minni, one of his harem has a baby clinging to her leg, but she stomps around regardless. They all eat all the time and periodically break out into a spat over nothing.
“It’s exactly like us isn’t it,” says Cameron, ticking off the gorillas in his book.
In the lion enclosure there isn’t a river between us. The lions have a far scarier stare than the gorillas. As they lazily check us out for dinner, the kids check the child locks on their doors. Cameron shuts his book. He’s ticked off as many as he needs to. But he does have one final question.
“Dad, can you bend a spoon?”
This post is part of our 2012 Adventure Islands Season. We spent summer 2012 exploring Iceland and The Faroes, researching what’s on offer for adventure seeking families. We’re grateful to Smyril Line for help with transport, to Berghaus and Thule who helped equip us for the journey. And to Lalandia and Givskud Zoo who provided entry to their park to help us bring you this story. All experiences, views and opinions are however, as ever, our own.
You can see a map of our journey on The Family Adventure Project Punkt! and view some exclusive behind the scenes photos and video of what we got up to.