Summer Bay is Ireland’s first indoor beach, complete with an eclectic collection of adventurous activities for beach bums, crazy kids and adrenaline junkies to enjoy.
The new centre, which is located at Mahon Point Shopping Centre, gives people the opportunity to enjoy a day at the beach without watching the weather, worrying about water safety and eating sandwiches that have been slowly baked in tinfoil.
The fact you can go shopping or see a movie after is a nice bonus.
The 30 x 50m marquee is equipped with Zorb balls, which are like human hamster balls, a sprint track, an adventure trail, several bouncy castles, crazy golf, coconut climbing trees, bungee trampolines, zip wire, and a segway track.
The beach oasis also has a special under-fives play area, a relaxing deck area, complete with hammocks, palm trees and sundeck loungers, and a beach volley ball court for a friendly game.
Amidst the controlled chaos of the beach adventure utopia, The Beach Hut and Hawaiian Shave Ice Stand will be serving tea, coffee and minerals, along with a few scones and muffins to nibble on, or hot chicken options if you fancy something more.
The dynamic centre is the brainchild of Orla O’Neill who has been running Cork on Ice for the past six years.
“The idea came to me back in January when I was looking for a summer event to run. I have two sons, Robert, 9, and Andrew, 11, and I wanted something fun and active that they would enjoy.”
Orla said she is hoping Summer Bay will be a hit with all ages.
“I think it is something that everyone can enjoy, from two years to the elderly. The mammies and daddies can head out onto the sundeck and relax while the kids play, but we are hoping everyone will try some of the games.”
The complicated amalgamation of activities and 100 tonnes of sand opened last week and will run until Sept 1. The marquee can hold between 200-400 people and admission is €5 for under fives, and €10 for everyone else.
Admission includes tokens which are used to play on the activities. “Some of the amusements are free, like the beach volley ball court, sun deck, kids sand area and the sprinter track. The segways are five tokens, the adventure trail is three and the bouncy castles are one,” Orla explained. Extra tokens are €1 each.
During July, Summer Bay will be running summer camps for children (aged 4-14).
The camps will include a variety of educational and physical activities, including computer programming, science experiments, art and plenty of beach adventure fun, plus juggling, and hula hooping.
The camps will run from 9-2pm and the children will be separated by age categories. The shopping centre beach will remain open to the public while camps are running.
Of course, no Summer Bay is complete without a ‘Braxton’ and Cork’s beach haven will have hunky Home and Away actor Dan Ewing who plays bad bay Heath at their launch on Jul 8.
Event manager Louise Cremin said the county has been going wild since they announced the soap star was coming to Cork.
“The people of Cork are looking forward to meeting him. We have been getting so many Facebook messages and emails. People had to register online by Jul 1 in order to get a chance to meet him and I had a phone call from an 80-year-old woman telling me how much she wanted to meet Heath but she could barely use a mobile, never mind use the internet!”
Cork’s Summer Bay at Mahon Point will be open every day over the next nine weeks, matching the hours of the shopping centre.
“We have already organised for Volleyball Ireland to come and teach for a day, and we are hoping to run a few more things like that, maybe even one or two barbeques out on the deck,” said Louise.
* See Summerbay.ie, (0818 919 807), ‘summerbaycork’ on Facebook or @summerbaycork on Twitter