Tonight Aaron and I went on a 'hot date' to the new Launceston Aquatic gala opening. For the last 20 months or so we have been waiting in anticipation as we have watched it being constructed. Every time we drive past it on the way to town the boys ask 'is it finished yet!?'. A couple of months ago we got a council newsletter in the mailbox which had an entry form on the back for free swim tickets for the opening weekend and also to win an invitation to the gala opening. I really wanted to win swim tickets to take the boys, so I filled out the entry form and also ticked I would like to win tickets to the gala opening. You had to put a reason why, so I put that we were interested in seeing the facilities for people with disabilities as our son was disabled. It obviously worked as I didn't think anymore of it, until a couple of weeks ago when I got a phone call to say I had won tickets to the gala opening! When the invite came in the mail I realised it was a pretty big deal as the dress code meant that we had to dress up a little. We weren't sure how it would be as we knew we wouldn't know anyone, but were excited to go and check it out. The outside of it is the old Windmill Hill entrance still, so it still looks exactly the same (except for the strobe lights outside, for the gala opening!). It seemed funny as we then walked into this amazing place that was totally different to the old pools.
As soon as we walked in we knew that the boys are going to LOVE it!!
They have a kids adventure playground which is very similar to the one at Wet n Wild on the Gold Coast, with the tipping bucket, water fountains, and slides.
There are three shallow pools indoors for the kids.
Also in the same area is a hydrotherapy pool with wheelchair access (they have wheelchairs that can be wheeled straight into the pool to use), which also has a spa at the end of the pool.
All night we were given free drinks (soft drinks for us of course!) and finger food.
The drinks were in special glasses which had the Launceston Aquatic logo on it, which we were able to take home. Near the hydrotherapy pool is another spa right near the huge windows which overlooks the city. It was really pretty seeing all the lights outside.
The place was full of politicians, business people, and 'big wig's' so Aaron was trying to pretend he was fitting in by looking smooth! Not sure if it really worked! ;)
We did see a few people we knew and we kept getting the question 'how did you get tickets!?'. I did get asked twice if I was a photographer! Aaron replied 'she wishes!'. During the night they showed old footage of the old Windmill Hill pool and then footage that was filmed by a time delay camera as it was constructed. It was interesting watching it all come together.
After a few drinks and nibblies we were asked to move into the competition pool area for the offical opening. It is a 50 metre pool which can be split into two 25 metre pools. After lots of speeches by the mayor and different politicians and an Aboriginal elder, the lights went out and they had facts about the construction of the centre projected on the walls as music started playing. Some people then jumped in the pool while the lights were out and swam around with under water torches. It looked great. The lights then came up and lots of dancers were on the edge of the pool and danced for about 15 minutes - first off out of the pool, and then they stripped off to their bathers and jumped in the pool and did lots of different choreography in the pool. The official cutting of the ribbon was done in the middle of the 50 metre pool at the end of the dancing.
After the cutting of the ribbon we got to go outside to see the outdoor pools and slide and also the changerooms. The slide is very small - not half as long as the old one, but I'm sure the boys will still love it.
It also has a function area upstairs, and a cafe which has indoor and alfresco dining.
It was a really fun night and exciting to see it all, especially on it's offical opening night. On the way out we were given Launceston Aquatic bag with another glass in it and pamphlets. Aaron is looking very excited about his bag!! We can't wait to take the boys there tomorrow afternoon. We know they will love it and know it will be somewhere we will be going regularly.