Thousand kilometers towards the Sun

How far to the South we need to go to meet summer in the very beginning of May? No, no, i am not speaking about Canarias, there is a place much closer than that – Poland, with summer and +30C!

This trip was a little bit different for us – we were traveling 3 grown-ups and 2 kids (three and half and four and half years old) instead of just our little 3 person family alone. Before the road we didn’t have much of a clue, how smooth it will go and how far we will get, but the target was Krakow and attraction possibilities around it!

To be honest we did almost overthink our trip because of the fact that most cars are not suitable for the kind of company we were. It was clear that both kids have to sit in the same row to be able to communicate on the road, so one of grown-ups had to sit in the extra chair in the back of the car – as you can understand, we needed 7 seat car for 5 people…

Original trip plan was the following:

  1. Road Riga – Warsaw, night in Warsaw;
  2. Road Warsaw – Krakow, Krakow water park, night in Krakow;
  3. Amusement park Energylandia between Krakow and Katowice;
  4. Zatorland dinosaur park, road Krakow – Warsaw;
  5. Shopping in Warsaw, road Warsaw – Riga.

Few days before our departure, we decided to take a risk and book an apartment in Warsaw for the first night. We chose to stay in two-room flats during all the trip, so each family could have their own room and kitchen was useful too. Our smallest travellers got smudged quite a lot, so two out of four nights we were pleased we can use the washing machine. Costs for a night in two-room flat in Poland’s new apartment projects with fresh ikea setting is about 40€. Recieving and giving back the keys are worked out so well that guests don’t even once need to meet the owners. There was a mix-up with kees and room numbers once, though, and something strange with garage remote control for the parking, but we were clever enough to guess what is what and find our apartment and neighbours opened the garage for us. But this was once, in other apartments everything was as it should be either owner was reachable by phone to solve the issue.

It turned out that road with two kids is much easier than with one! They entertain each other periodicaly, sing and talk drivel. It seemed to us that we are able to drive further if kids have company or at least the same amount of road only without mobbing and tantrums. As you can imagine, it is also louder. In fact, a lot lauder! But at this point you just have to get creative and offer to compete who can speak more quietly. Or you just hold on and remember how you would entertain your kid all that long road if you were traveling alone. And when it gets too loud for too long you can bribe them with an ice-cream for those who will talk quietly for a while, ha ha!

In our first day we did succeed our plan to reach Warsaw as planned with few stops on a road. Usually we make the first longest stop in Kaunas (Lithuania) – it is after about three and half hours driving, but this time kids were sleeping, so we had to postpone the stop till Marijampole (still Lithuania) gas station. Here the pause from sitting in a car only option was running in a gas station’s lawn. Kids were happy thought, for them lawn is a lawn, no matter where.

In the next morning we saw what a gorgeous development district in our apartment was! We looked around with joy how Warsaw is growing and developing in front of us. I have to say that Warsw is special somehow – each time we come here, this city has changed. New buildings, new roads… it is never the same! Literaly Warsaw feels alive and you can feel its growing!

After a short car tour through neighbourhood, we hit the road to Krakow, prior booking apartment for next two nights in Krakow. By the road we got into traffic jam and while slowly moving further we noticed Royal Castle in Checiny on the top of the mountain and decided that it was a good time and place for a walk. I haven’t been in other Poland castles to compare, but this was a nice place for a quite long walk with a climb to the tower. Many events, including overnight events, are organised here regularly, but in a usual day entrance for kids up to 5 years is free, for grown-ups 3€.

In the early evening we spent few hours in Krakow water park. It is one of the largest water amusement parks in Poland, but it is special with its bacteriological water treatment only with ozone thereby it doesn’t cause irritation to skin and eyes and is suitable even for babies. In our opinion this water park is different from others with its wide children zone (there are many different slides for all ages and, of course, a pirate ship), integrated classic large swimming pool (and there are huge amount of different swimming aids available, again for all ages) and, last but not least, there is a fun atraction to test your agility skills – Rainbow path, where you have to cross the water by stepping on floating islands only holding to the ropes. Water is warm here as well as the air.

Entrance fee in the Krakow water park for 2 hours cost about 10€ for grown ups and about 0,25€ for children up to 104cm height. It is a little bit unfair that entrance for children over 104m height costs almost 9€ although only kids over 6 years can use big slides and even then accompanied by adult. For those around 5 years visiting water park is quite expensive, but otherwise we really enjoyed Krakow water park and can suggest you to try it!

Next day was THE DAY we went about an hour drive from Krakow in Katovice direction to the amusement park Energylandia – it was our main target in this trip! Energylandia presents itself as high class amusement park for visitors of all ages, highlighting that parents can enjoy the atractions together with their children not only look at their children enjoying atractions. Children zone really is quite large here, full with carousels, tractors, jeeps, planes and many more different atractions. Kids from height of 120cm can enjoy them on their own, but smaller kids from the age of 2 can try children atractions accompanied by adult. Energylandia takes up 26ha large teritory – its quite impressive! We came here around noon so our opinion may not be totally adequate, but we thought that it would be best to spend 2 days in Energylandia to try everything. We left the park only after closing hours. Our little ones beared the whole day without a nap and enjoyed few of their favorite atractions even twice, but as for us grown-ups, we couldn’t manage to even try all of the atractions once. We visited park’s water zone only for a short moment, because we weren’t prepared that there will be a water zone. If you don’t want to economize, you can buy almost everything here – swimsuits, towels, sunglasses, hats and, of course, food and drinks, and ice-cream. After water atractions you can dry up in special cabins for additional cost. Energylandia offer is wide enough, yet there are few new atractions in curreent year plan – very high water slides and new dry superatraction which i am afraid of even think about!

Few years ago we visited Haidepark in Germany, so i guess we can compare these two quite objectively. In our opinion, Poland’s version has wider and more diverse children zone, but the most privilege is the fact, that Poles have thought about shading over waiting lines – either greeneries or sheds, but there is something everywhere.

  

Prices. Ticket for kids up to 3 years (toddlers) costs about 0,25€ (Toms is full 3 y/o and he went for this price), un to 140cm (and pregnant woman with proof of identity) about 15€, but grown-ups about 27€. I have to say it felt like there need to be one grown-up on each child in Energylandia, because one grown-up can take more than one kid only to several carousels. And this means if you don’t come together with bigger tribe, then parents can basically only try children zone atractions for their full ticket price. Again i have to admit that kids of age 4 to 5 are kind of deprived, because for their 15€ they can only try 1 or 2 atractions more than three-year-olds. Special price about 0,25€ is for birthdays and newlyweds.

 

After a long day in amusement park we were sooo tired we only wanted to sleep, we didn’t have any power to go somewhere else.

Next morning was promised rainy and our travel partners were not eager to go to dinosaur park anymore, so we decided to take a little car tour through rainy Krakow and hit the road to Warsaw earlier, where we spent all the late afternoon shopping. And good that we did, because we had forgotten, that in Poland all the stores, even supermarkets are closed on national holidays, and there were two such holidays during our trip.

Anyway, the feeling didn’t left us, that by giving up the dinosaur park we had deprived ourselves and moreover the kids. Thats why we decided to visit the Warsaw Zoo before the road back home. As in national holiday we weren’t far the only visitors – there were even row to the parking! And outside +30C! In general Warsaw Zoo is quite large, but in this kind of swelter many animals were hiding and sleeping. Wood carts were available near the entrance and that was a huge relief – Toms sat in the cart during almost all our time in the Zoo.

 

 

  

Entrance for kids up to 3 years (not including) is free of charge, but starting from age of 3 entrance is about 4€. Grown-ups have to pay a little over 6€ (prices vary according to season). After visiting the Zoo we hit the road back home, now with better feeling about how much we did manage to see.

Thats all about our little tripto Poland – the aim to go somewhere where it is warmer (hotter), was succeeded. We met warm blossom-full Spring and hot Summer! Our joy that few days after coming back home Toms already asked when is our next trip. 🙂

P.S. This time our accomodation in Warsaw was in other days, but if you are there in weekend, then go and see beautiful multimedia fountain show in Warsaw old town!

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