Inflatable family fun totally wipes out mum!


Big fans of Total Wipeout, my kids were dying to have a go on the giant blue inflatable obstacle course which has been floating near the Albert Dock all summer.

There was just one snag – children have to be over the age of eight to go on Adventure Dock and as my youngest is seven, it didn’t feel fair to just take my nine-year-old – there would have been sulks and tantrums galore.

Then we discovered the organisers had introduced new Little Adventure sessions on Saturday mornings for younger children aged six to 12 – so there was no excuse not to have a go…

Hence, we rocked up at 9am on a Saturday morning in August with our cozzies on for a bit of floaty family fun. Based in Dukes Dock, by the Liverpool Wheel, the aqua park is made up of huge inflatable free-fall slides, trampolines, rafts and barriers.

The kids couldn’t wait to get on it and, although I did try to wriggle out of it, the friendly staff informed me that all children have to be accompanied by an adult for the Little Adventure sessions, so there was no escape.

To be fair though, the course looked harmless enough and quite fun in fact. My only concern was whether there would be a big enough wet suit for me (still not lost the ‘baby weight’ even though the eldest turns 10 next week!). But to my relief, they have wet suits for all shapes and sizes and I was able to squeeze my ample frame into an extra large in the beach-hut changing rooms.

Resembling a human snooker ball, I’ve felt sexier, but I swallowed my pride for the sake of the children and styled it out. We were equipped with a life jacket and helmet and made our way to the jetty for a safety brief before being let loose on the 92-metre aqua park. The aim is to race your family and friends around the course. Simples!


Having achieved my 100 meter swimming badge in 1986, I wasn’t overly scared and was looking forward to channelling my inner watery Ninja Warrior. But I soon realised it’s not as easy as it looks for an overweight, middle-aged mum…

Whilst the kids bombed it round the course, it was all I could do to stand up – it was so slippy and with lots of young kids dashing about, very wobbly too.

At one point I just crawled on all fours and had a little sit down until the kids came and found me and dragged me to the big slide. Then I watched amazed as they shinned up the side of the steep ‘Mount Rainier’ inflatable with the speed and agility of mountain gazelles flinging themselves from the top into the water.  Then off they whizzed again flying over the slides, jumps and drops with ease.

There were lots of other adults navigating their way around the course and although, they weren’t as speedy as the youngsters, they seemed to stay upright and out of the water, laughing merrily along the way, whilst I spent most of the time sliding into the water.

The final humiliation came when our time was up. We had to swim from the course to the jetty, but I was so unfit, I couldn’t actually climb out! It took two burly lifeguards to haul me onto dry land, where I just lay like a beached whale while the kids shouted: “That was awesome mummy, can we go round again…?!” It really was a case of ‘Total Wipeout.’

Afterwards, I consoled myself with a much-needed gin in Gusto whilst the kids, hungry after all that swimming, feasted on pizza and raved about their experience.

I definitely need to embark on a bit of a fitness regime before trying the course again but the kids absolutely loved it so it was worth every second (and gulp of salty dock water). Daddy was gutted to miss out on the fun and he is planning to take them next time so let’s see how he fares.

I’m glad I had a go though – it’s one to tell the grandkids and I would definitely recommend it for fitter families seeking some action-packed watery fun!

*Adventure Dock is open until Sunday 28th October 2018. The session lasts an hour in total including a 10 minute dryland safety brief at the start, which means you get 50 minutes of play time.  Don’t forget your swimsuits and towels. Everything else is provided.

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