Are you ready? Less than 50 days remain until Ottawa’s hottest summer ticket opens: the Calypso Water Park east of Ottawa near Limoges. We’ve been waiting (im)patiently for more than two years for this park to open — did you know it will be Canada’s largest water park? And on a warm day late in April, I got a special sneak peek of the park to share with you!
I was excited when I heard a new water park was coming, but honestly? I had no idea it would be this awesome. It’s not just a couple of waterslides — it’s really a giant water theme park, with more than 35 waterslides, separate toddler and kiddie play areas, Canada’s largest wave pool, a whole bunch of places to eat — it’s truly amazing.
From a recent Citizen article:
When the park opens, visitors will find 80-foot long extreme-style waterslides, a half-kilometre jungle river winding past a 52,000-square-foot wave pool, a beach, restaurants, shops, splash pads and pools for toddlers, and enough picnic tables and green space for 12,000 visitors a day. Calypso’s millions of litres of water will be kept at a constant 27 C and filtered every 90 minutes — every 30 minutes in toddler areas.
Calypso is located to the east of the city right off the 417, in the town of Limoges. It was a little less than an hour’s drive from Barrhaven. This is the front entrance, just getting its last touches of paint before the grand opening in six weeks.
The park is enormous. The parking lot alone has capacity for 3,000 cars, and if I remember correctly, the park itself has a capacity for something like 15,000 people. You enter through a lovely little “main street” type area with a few different types of restaurants (from a cafeteria to an ice cream shop to a more formal sit-down dinner kind of place) and a souvenir shop. The water attractions are arrayed in well-spaced clusters around the grounds, with vast amounts of green space and picnic tables in between.
Moving clockwise through the park, the first cluster of slides is the Zoomerang, the Black Hole and Turbulence. “Thrilling rides with steep chutes, 360 degree curves in total darkness!” promises the park flyer.
Next is this giant water playground, the Pirate’s Aquaplay. It has tamer slides for smaller riders, and fun things like water cannons. The giant bucket at the top fills and dumps every few minutes. Perfect for the 5 to 10 year old crowd, I’d say.
And for the littlest park visitors, there is a toddler park called the Zoo Lagoon.
This will give you an idea of the scope of the park. I’ve just stepped away from the Zoo Lagoon, and turned my camera to the next cluster of slides. You can see the steep drop of the Fast Track on the left, the Boomerango and the White Water Extreme in the far middle, the Jungle Run river-raft ride in the foreground and the Turbo Lab at the far right. Behind me is the Pirate Aquaplay area for the kiddies, and the super-giant Calypso Palace wave pool is beside the Turbo Lab, with the entrance and "main street" bistro and restaurant area off camera to my right.
I’m sure there is a perfectly good reason they’ve named this cluster of slides the Fast Track, Adrenaline and Vertigo. Not for the faint of heart! I think they should have called that skinny one with the near-freefall vertical drop “the Wedgie”. Yikes!
This one of the Boomerango and the White Water Extreme is a shade out of focus (sorry about that!) but I wanted to show you what looks like a wicked-fun ending to the slide. You come flying out of the yellow Boomerango slide and it flings you up the blue and yellow striped wall until gravity yanks you back down again. Wheeeeeee!
And yes, that’s a motorized lift, but only for the rafts. Your quads will get a workout when you visit the Calypso water park with all those stairs to climb!!
I didn’t get a good picture of the giant Calypso Palace wave pool, but it’s the size of three NHL rinks. There’s nothing rinky-dink about this park! Apparently it will be Canada’s largest wave pool (appropriate, considering this will be Canada’s largest water park!) and will have five different types of waves. And it’s good for all ages, as the depth starts at nothing and slopes gradually down.
I was impressed by every single facet of this park. From small details to big thrills, they’ve got a lot to offer. There’s a really neat biometric payment system described in the Citizen article:
One innovation […] will allow visitors to make purchases at restaurants or other facilities without having to carry money or cards. All they need is their fingerprint. If they choose, a person can put funds into an account at the park, either with cash, credit card, or debit card, and then have a fingerprint recorded electronically. Then, all that is needed to make any type of purchase in the park is to have the fingerprint scanned again to access the account.
Isn’t that brilliant? So you don’t have to carry your purse or wallet around with you or have someone watching it at all times. Hmmm, wonder if they could do that with my camera equipment?! And, you can bring your own picnic basket and blankets into the park, as long as you don’t bring any glass containers. I love that!
So the sneak peek was a lot of fun for me — thank you to the media relations director at Calypso for making me feel like a respectable journalist. And guess what? I’ve got two free day passes to give away to you! I was going to give them away as a pair, but I think I’ll split them up to spread the love around. (Actually, I was thinking of making you take me if you’re the winner! Am I allowed to enter my own draw?!)
Edited to add: sorry, the draw has ended, but if you’re looking for more ideas on great places to visit and things to do in Ottawa, check my “Ottawa Family Fun” archives! Or, you can read about our first visit to Calypso water park the very week it opened — so much fun!!
And if you’re wondering what’s up with the pictures with the black frame and the distortion — that’s “through the viewfinder” photography. The images are taken with my digital SLR camera, but through the viewfinder (ttv) of a 50-year-old Kodak Duaflex camera. Interested in knowing more? Check out this TtV tutorial!
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