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Archery, pedal boating, the Aqua Mundo swimming paradise and many other family adventures await at Center Parcs Bispinger Heide. Here - in the middle of the Lüneburg Heath - children experience nature at first hand; they can climb through trees, sail across the lake together with wild geese or wake up in the tree house between the rustling canopy of leaves. We show you what there is to discover.

"Again! Again," it sounds through the pool, where the turquoise-blue water is still churning after the slide. Cleo and Maila are frolicking in the middle of the waves with big diving goggles on their faces. In the middle, Cleo's father stands like a rock in the surf. "I want to slide again. But now I dare to go alone," the five-year-old shouts and swims with Maila toward the stairs. Cleo's dad can't even look that fast before the two of them are already up the stairs and fidgeting in line. Then the two are allowed to sit down on the wide slide again, push each other off and - whoosh! - down they go at breakneck speed. The happy screech of the two is followed by a loud splash. "Shall we try the white-water ride now?" asks the father. And the two girls' little dance of joy is answer enough. Let's go!

Here you can touch nature

"They're all real!" says Philip Seimer, glancing at the plants stretching toward the sun under the pool's large glass dome as if in a greenhouse. "The Aqua Mundo is our subtropical children's fun pool here in the Bispinger Heide leisure park. We decorate here exclusively with real tropical plants." Seimer is managing director of Center Parcs, which is located in the middle of the Lüneburg Heath in northern Lower Saxony. A family man himself, he knows the benefits the pool has to offer. With smaller children? Off to Drachenfels. The entire area is designed to be child-friendly and safe, and is supervised throughout by a lifeguard. "For the older ones, of course, the slides are the absolute highlight, such as the whitewater course or our new Aqua Racer, where you can roar into the water on a big tire." Suddenly, a loud ship's horn sounds, the signal for the next round in the wave pool - and you see many children's legs dashing toward the pool.

Opened in 1995 as the first park in Germany, Center Parcs Bispinger Heide offers not only a large fun pool but also many other adventurous activities for the whole family: archery, climbing, cycling, bowling, a free-fall tower, and much more. In keeping with the idea of the Dutch Center Parcs founder Piet Derksen, children and families experience "nature you can touch". Because the park is located in the middle of the heath landscape and consists of 90 percent forest and water areas. A nature trail and even a few of the park's own moorland sheep are also part of the park grounds. A concept that is so successful that Center Parcs is now expanding to Denmark and opening a new vacation park near Sonderburg on the island.

In addition to the attractions at Center Parcs Bispinger Heide, guests can also take advantage of the leisure activities from the region around. For example, the Barefoot Park Egestorf, the Snowdome Bispingen, the Bird Park Walsrode, the Wildlife Park Lüneburger Heide or the Serengeti Park. So it will certainly never be boring here in the Lüneburg Heath!

At eye level with the treetops

Eight-year-old Leni has a particularly good view of the green Center Parcs park grounds as she bravely puts one foot in front of the other in the park's high ropes course - secured, of course, and wearing a safety helmet. She looks intently at her feet as they slowly feel their way over the wobbly net that hovers at a dizzy height above the ground. Her sister Lale, two years older, has already mastered the obstacle and gives her little sister tips. 

"You would have given up by now, wouldn't you?" calls Leni to her mother, who watches intently from the ground. "Definitely," Kati says with a laugh, watching her daughters and dad Florian tackle the twelve obstacles one by one - riding through the air on a skateboard, shimmying along a climbing wall and climbing through a net tunnel. "You did a really great job," she says proudly when the three have solid ground under their feet again. As a reward, there is chocolate for the little heroes. 

However, the breather is not long. Because the next challenge is already waiting: the miniature golf course. Well camouflaged between trees and bamboo, the course is modeled on the Lüneburg Heath. "Watch out for the sheep," Lale can be heard shouting as Papa Rolf takes a swing. Several wooden Heidschnucken stand on the track, blocking the view. Between them looms a large shepherd, leaning on his staff, looking across the course to the lake. Leni already has her sights set on the lake. A tour on the swan pedal boat is planned for today, something she has been looking forward to all day. After the last ball has been holed, we walk the few meters to the lake. Several pedal boats are moored at the wooden jetty, each with its own motto: "Police" or "Princess," the swan-shaped one is the girls' favorite. A little maneuvering later and the big white swan glides across the lake with its four passengers. A few wild geese have already taken a rest here and are curiously eyeing the large, stiff bird. 

Fun and games, from morning to night

From the water, there is an excellent view of the climbing tower on the shore and the ZipWire above the water - a zip line where brave guests can whiz across the lake. Leni and Lale can now also take a close look at the houseboats: With their blue wooden facades, round portholes and small terrace, they look very inviting in the light of the afternoon sun. "Wait and see, our forest animal vacation home is really something, too," says Mama Kati promisingly.

750 vacation homes are available for rent at Center Parcs Bispinger Heide. They have all been completely renovated within the last two years. In addition to the houseboats, there are, for example, the tree houses, in which you sleep directly between the treetops: In the morning, you are woken up by the rustling of the leaves and instead of a staircase, you use a tube slide to start the day. Or the forest animal vacation houses, of which Kati and Florian have also rented one for the night. The special thing about the houses: a surprise is hidden in each of the rooms to help the children get to know the animals of the forest. 

When the four adventurers enter the house in the evening, Lale and Leni immediately discover the large birdhouse that stands on stilts in the middle of the living room. But before they climb inside and make themselves comfortable with an audio book, they quickly go on a discovery tour of the rest of the house. "Oh cool!" exclaims Leni shortly afterwards. She has discovered the playroom, which is part of the house like its own little indoor playground. And Kati and Florian realize right away how they will find their two girls before breakfast tomorrow morning: Still in their pajamas and ready for the next adventure.

Copyright cover photo: In the swan boat it goes over the small lake. © Gregor Lengler

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