Thessaloniki is renowned for being a buzzing, cultural, twenty four hour City. It's far different from Athens and does not rely upon the numbers of tourists visiting each summer. The exception to this is perhaps the independent traveller simply passing through. For this reason, many of the travel books skim the surface of Thessaloniki and bypass some pleasurable things to do.
Waterland is a great day out especially if you have kids in tow. The complex offers 150 acres of water pools and gardens. It is situated a few kilometres from the airport in Tagarades. There is ample parking space or a free shuttle service offering return rides from Aristotelous Square in the City Centre.
Once the initial entrance fee has been paid, wave pools and water slides beckon one's audacity. A high wooden DJ tower makes a good landmark for the centre of the park. The summer sun and the exotic theme bar exude authenticy, ensuring that it's easy to forget that you are in a City altogether. There is a fair sized children's pool with water slides at each end. Sun beds and parasols line the outer edge and there are numerous venues on site to sustain any hunger pangs. Life guards are on hand at each water attraction. The changing facilities are clean and lockers are also available.
If the water pools aren't enough, there are basketball and tennis courts available or perhaps you may prefer to try your hand at volley ball. There are children's play areas dotted around, and younger kids will love the animal farm. It's ideal to wander through before leaving the park. Rabbits and peacocks roam around the duck pond whilst deer, goats and emus are safely tucked into their pens.
Waterland is open daily from May - September 10.00 a.m. until 6.00 p.m. although closing times are extended during the height of summer. Entrance fees are € 9 for 5-14 years, € 12.50 for adults.
Thessaloniki Zoo is situated at the top of Kedrinou Hill within the man-made Forest of Seih-Sou, also known as Hilia Dentra, the forest of a thousand trees. The zoo is open Sunday - Thursday until 4.00 p.m. The entrance is free. Kedrinou Hill and the zoological gardens are well worth a visit for the spectacular view alone. The whole City can be seen from here and there are places to stop and enjoy a refreshing drink amidst awe inspiring scenery. This is not a day trip, however, transport is recommended as the hill is no mean feat.
There are a variety of animals within the zoo from bears to wolves, various species of birds, goats and a reptile house. The crazy paving of the zoo's walkways is often carpeted with freshly dropped pine needles making a slippery surface for the strongest of walkers. Shoes with a good grip are a must and sadly, this venue may be unsuitable for the less mobile visitor. The paths lead up some steep gradients and therefore, may prove hazardous.
Magic Park is an evening fairground attraction. The amusement park comes to life at night and is ideal for families. The rides are included in the entrance fee and there is plenty to keep children and teenagers occupied. this small park houses a log flume, waltzers, bumper cars and roller coasters to suit height restrictions.
Magic Park can be located opposite the Diavaikaniko Centre approximately 12 kilometres from the airport. It is open from 6.00 p.m. until 10.00 p.m. although closing times are subject to change during the summer months. Entrance usually costs around 9 - 15 €uros.