Most of our travel year means ‘living’ in the places we are visiting. We spend a lot of time together doing food shopping, going for walks, watching TV, doing school work – just in new locations and with new food. But every now and then we do something that feels like being on a holiday! ESCAPE in Penang, Malaysia was a must visit for us. It is an adventure and water park, focusing on self-directed outdoor play with friends and family. There are thrills, but not the mechanical, rollercoaster kind: ESCAPE is all about ‘low-tech, hi-fun’, being in nature and having fun! Even tickets are priced as Future Kid, Junior Kid, Big Kid and Super Kid – no grumpy adults allowed!
The park is split into Adventureplay, Gravityplay and Waterplay. We decided to hit Adventure and Gravity in the morning, stop for lunch and then do Waterplay in the afternoon (when it’s hot and so we could just head home after getting all wet). Armed with our maps and ridiculously excited, we marched across the bridge and into the jungle setting of Adventure and Gravityplay. The first thing we saw was a tree climb and Eirlys jumped at the chance to head up. It was absolutely awesome just watching her put aside any fear and push herself to reach the top. Tom and I tried to climb the tree without the climbing posts, which was extremely embarrassing as it basically felt like a greasy pole competition. I don’t think either of us made it more than a metre off the ground!
There were also activities that even Bertie could get involved with, like the Discovery Dig, where each child could pan for gold. Bertie mostly just enjoyed splashing around with the water. Once they had found ten pieces of gold they were guided through using a machine to ‘make’ a gold medal. Another highlight for little ones are the chickens, geese and the giant turkey (read terrifying turkey) wandering around under the trees.
There are plenty of amazing high wire and obstacle courses. Tom had a go at the Flying Lemur, a high wire obstacle course leading to an amazing zip wire above the trees. For Arthur and Eirlys (they would have let Bertie, but he point blank refused to have the harness on) there was Monkey School. They were so proud of themselves completing the beamwalks and zipwires. Watching children, and grown ups, be brave and strong like this has got to be one of the best parts about ESCAPE.
By lunchtime we were all getting pretty hungry and sweaty so we were ready to stop for a breather! ESCAPE doesn’t allow outside food and drink onto the premises, but their food courts are fab and brilliant value, so it didn’t feel like a problem at all. Refuelled and ready for some more fun, we headed for Waterplay!
Then came what has got to be the highlight of our trip, for me anyway. They have a slide called Banana Flip and the idea is you drop down the chute, get flipped up and then do a fun pose mid-air. Well Tom was very brave, he doesn’t really like heights and this was high, and he got ready to slide. There was a rumble as he started down the chute and then all of a sudden he just went shooting right across the pool feet first. It was like he was being fired out of a cannon. I thought he was going to hit the diving boards at the other end! I couldn’t stop laughing for a good five minutes and the kids went WILD!
As our three are still fairly small, there obviously were a couple of slides that they couldn’t go on, but most of Waterplay was really accessible. They could go on the big waterslides and the lazy river, in tubes with Tom or I, the wave pool was fun for all of us and the massive water Play House was a huge hit.
By the end of the day, we were absolutely exhausted and definitely all played out. Any reservations we had about our lot being too young to enjoy it were completely wrong. The way ESCAPE is set up means that there is loads to do for all ages and even Bertie was happy just exploring among the trees or splashing about. We cannot recommend this enough! Best Day Ever!
Watch our video here!
More info and tickets here!
We were given press tickets by ESCAPE as part of a blog and social media collaboration. All opinions and words are our own.