Saturday, 17 May 2008

National Aquatic Center, Dublin

We brought the kids to the National Aquatic Center in Blanchardstown yesterday to celebrate Daragh's birthday. First of all it should be said that the place is great, we spent about 2.5 hours there and all had a good time with the flumes, pools, lazy river etc.

However I cannot help but to feel ripped-off. It cost €58 for the family...2 adults and 3 children aged 10, 7 and 5. The "standard" family apparently consists of 2 adults and 2 children and costs €46 so with my deviant crew we had to dish out an additional €12.I think that this is an entirely unreasonable amount to pay for a leisure activities like this so I decided to compare with other water parks.

A 90 minute session in the Lagan Valley LeisurePlex in Lisburn would have cost my family £18. They have sessions - which means that they do not assume that families will not opt to spend an entire day in the pool. We were all hungry and tired after 2.5 hours at the NAC. Even if we wanted to the operator does not allow people to go out to the cafe area and then re-enter so you go hungry or eat mars bars if you want to spend the whole day at the NAC. Even if you assume we need to pay for 2 sessions in Lisburn it would cost £36 (€45).

At the Olympic facility in Homebush, Sydney - a fantastic facility which I have visited - a family pass costs $20 AUD (€12) and allows for 2 adults and 3 children.

At WaterWorld2000 in the UK our session would have cost £39 (€49) but we would have gotten a lot more variety for our money as they have many more rides.

Even Dublin zoo which is a place where you could easily spend 4-5 hours costs €47.

Anyway I think they have their pricing all wrong. Clearly it is 20% more expensive than the next most expensive option. It does not have a product which is 20% better. They could go with a system which allows people to stay for a limited time. This would easily be enforced by the pool attendants, particularly those who control access to the slides. If it was costing me €30 a visit - I may go 2-3 times a year. As it is I will not go back for at least 12 months or until the sticker-shock fades - whichever comes first.

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