“ Address: 59-700 Bolesławiec ul. Pl. Ks. J. Popiełuszki 1 „
**Orka Aqua Park, Boleslawiec**
Orka Aqua Park is a swimming centre I visited one Saturday morning back in the summer of 2012, in the small city of Boleslawiec in the West of Poland. We chose to go here as we were visiting my partners family and this seemed like a fun place to go and escape the heat for a while.
Orka Aqua Park is located very close to the city centre of Boleslawiec on pl. Ksiedza Jerzego Popieluszki 1 (I'm not even going to attempt to pronounce that one!) and can be reached by the city's buses or very easily by car although there is no specific car park so you will have to use the on the street parking areas nearby.
As you walk through the entrance of Orka you will pass the huge dolphin sign above the main window near the door. The reception area is quite small and at the time of our visit there was no queue so we paid a walked straight through.
When you have paid for your entrance you will be given an electronic wristband which activates your locker and also times how long you have been at the pool. My wristband had a partly broken strap so I was a bit concerned I might loose it but once I had fastened it, it seemed more secure.
When you pay your admission you will need to choose how long you want to spend in the pool as the sessions are timed, you can choose sessions in blocks of 1 or 2 hours and if you go over the time limit then you will be charged for each additional minute you are there and also your time includes the time you need to get changed. I personally hate this method, but it seems to be universal wherever we go swimming in Poland.
Before you can enter the changing area you must change from your outdoor shoes into flip flops, I was told that you have to have flip flops and cannot go in bare footed, however I did see quite a few people ignoring this rule and simply taking their shoes off and walking in their socks or bare feet.
The changing area seems to be communal as we all went through the same door and there were guys in the same locker area as the girls. At first I thought this might just be the locker area but it did actually turn out to be the changing area too. Luckily they do have a few cubicles so I nipped into one of these for some privacy! The changing area is a good size with many rows of lockers. You will need to open your locker using the electronic wrist band you were given at reception, the number of your locker is written on the wristband and you simply need to hold it against the locker to lock or unlock it.
There is a toilet and shower area which was very clean and smelt very strongly of chlorine!
There are lots of mirrors and plenty of hair dryers which are free to use but remember you are being timed so you need to be as quick as possible to avoid being charged extra for time!
**Swim or Slide?**
Upon entering the pool area I could see a large pool in front of me divided into lanes. Personally I am not really a fan of simply swimming up and down and after dipping my foot in the water I decided it was way too cold for this time in the morning and headed for the other pool which contained various sprayers, water jets, bubbles and a mini rapids area. In my experience these areas are always slightly warmer and again this was true. I spent around 20 minutes floating aimlessly around the mini rapids and although the current wasn't that strong I would still only recommend this to competent swimmers, just in case!
After spending 20 minutes simply chilling out... come on, it was just after 9 in the morning on a Saturday! I can't do too mush exercise this early! I decided to head for the slides. Orka has two slides, one yellow and one red. After climbing the spiral staircase I decided to go on the yellow one, simply because there was no one waiting for this one and the safety advice boards told me the yellow one was slightly steeper than the red one, although at 30 meters long it was 20 meters shorter than the red. The slides have no lifeguard sitting at the top telling you when it is safe to slide, instead they have a traffic light system with a green or red light telling you when you can slide. From what I could see the light seemed to flick on and off as it pleased so I waited a couple of moments and on the 3rd time of seeing the green light I held the metal bar above my head and swung myself into the mouth of the slide. In the past I have found that the water flow in slides in water parks can often be too slow and I end up stopping, this was the reason I swung myself off the bar, however this wasn't actually needed as I was soon building up speed and flying down the slide, it was quite steep and very fast, after a few random twists and turns I flew out of the bottom into a small splash pool! It all happened so fast that my eyes went blurry from a contact lens being dislodged before I could shut my eyes!
After fixing my contact lens I decided that was awesomely cool and I needed to go on it again! After a few more speedy trips down the yellow slide I decided I really needed to try the red one as for some reason this seemed more popular, so on my next trip to the top of the stairs I stood in the queue for the red slide, the queue moved pretty quickly and then it was my turn. I waited for the green light and off I went. It was immediately obvious that this slide wasn't as steep as the yellow one, however it was still very fast and you could certainly feel those extra 20 meters. This slide went round and round and at one point it even went pitch black! This was actually kind of scary yet cool! Eventually I landed in the splash pool, this time with no contact lens issues and headed straight for the stairs to do it all again! I have to admit I am a big kid when it comes to water slides and the speed of these was too exciting to resist!
After wearing myself out on the slides I decided to head for one of the jacuzzi's located along the back wall of the pool area. The jacuzzi's lovely and warm and very bubbly, I found I could only stay in here for a short while though as the intensity of the bubbles was making me kind of itchy, so I headed back to the pool with the mini rapid area for a bit before heading for the changing room!
The prices at Orka are pretty decent for an adult it will cost you between 7 and 12.50zl (zloty) depending on what time you visit, a child is between 5 and 10.50zl.
The Orka Aqua Park is open from 6:30am until 10pm Monday to Friday and 8am until 10pm Saturdays and Sundays.
The current exchange rate is 4.8zl for every £1 meaning that this Aqua Park is excellent value for money!
Overall I really enjoyed our morning at Orka, it certainly woke me up and I would recommend it to you if you ever find yourself in Boleslawiec! I'm going to award it 4 out of 5 stars with one star being lost for the changing areas being mixed for men and women together as I really didn't feel comfortable getting changed, even when I was hidden away in the cubicle!
Thanks for reading :)