Falkirk Wheel water park makes a splash

Easter Carmuirs PS pupils enjoy trying out the new Falkirk Wheel water play area
Easter Carmuirs PS pupils enjoy trying out the new Falkirk Wheel water play area

Water lovers of all ages can enjoy the latest attraction opened at The Falkirk Wheel, now one of Scotland’s top tourist destinations.

The £430,000 funding for the water play park came from the Landfill Communities Fund.

Scottish Waterways Trust secured grants from Avondale Environmental (£300,000), The Veolia Environmental Trust (£65,000) and WREN (£65,000) who all operate the fund set up to benefit communities living near landfill sites.

The play park boasts two pools with everything from a giant stone map of Scotland complete with miniature canals and working lock gates, to water cannons and model boats.

There will also be hydrozorbs, which resemble giant, floating hamster balls, and water dodgems later in the year.

Phase one of the play park opened in 2011 and with its mini canal, outdoor classroom and an array of contraptions designed to help children learn more about the waterways, has proved popular.

Welcoming the latest attraction, Provost Pat Reid said: “This is another step towards the reshaping of the Falkirk area as a ‘must visit’ destination for visitors, as well as a welcome additional attraction for local children and adults.

“Scottish Waterways Trust, Scottish Canals and their funding partners are to be congratulated for their bold, exciting initiative.”

Falkirk’s First Citizen was helped by pupils from nearby Easter Carmuirs Primary School to turn on the taps at the water play park for the first time before the youngsters put the new equipment to the test.

In 2014 more than 500,000 visitors took a trip to the Wheel, marking its most successful year ever, and confirming it as Scotland’s busiest tourist attraction outside a city.

The new addition is designed to encourage visitors to learn more about the history, geography and changing role of Scotland’s canals.

Karen Moore, Scottish Waterways Trust chief executive, said: “We wanted to create something special for the local communities and schools as well as visiting tourists and the water play area has been a phenomenal success.

“This second phase will give visitors the chance to play and learn on the water and it will be a fantastic amenity for the spring and summer months.”

To date Avondale Environmental Ltd has awarded £4 million to 62 projects in the Falkirk Council area and over £23 million to over 500 projects throughout Scotland.