Walk barefoot through the mudflats of the Wadden Sea National Park, learn new things about the sea and its inhabitants, feel the warm sun on your skin, play mini golf with the salty sea air in your nose or go down exciting water slides - there's all this and much more to discover at Center Parcs Park Nordseeküste. Get inspired and then pack your loved ones and create some memories for life.

"Mia looks like a pirate," exclaims Elias, chuckling and pointing his finger at his one-year-old sister Mia, who is sitting in the sand and rowing her arms so enthusiastically that her white sun hat has slipped in front of her eyes. Even dad Tobias can't help smiling at the sight. One move later, the hat is back where it belongs. Mom Sarah watches the action from the beach shell, where she has made herself comfortable with a book. But she doesn't really get to read. Her eyes constantly wander to the horizon, where the sky meets the blue waters of the North Sea. Seagulls are screeching and the smell of salty seawater is in the air. 

Just then, Elias jumps up once again, grabs his red bucket and runs the short distance to the water that sloshes onto the beach in small waves. The four-year-old expertly fills the bucket, carefully carries it to his sand castle and squeals happily as he dumps the contents into the small moat and it briefly fills with water that seeps back into the white sand far too quickly. Mia, watching her brother anxiously, rubs her eyes. And the rest of the family also senses that a midday nap would probably be just the thing after the eventful morning. 

Experience the Wadden Sea up close

It was only yesterday afternoon that the four arrived at their new home for the next two days - Center Parcs Park Nordseeküste, right on the coast between Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven. After the arrival and the first orientation on the large park area, the first big program item for the next day was quickly clear: a mudflat hike through the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea. So it was off directly after breakfast to the meeting point with the mudflat guide and the rest of the adventurous participants. Wearing rubber boots or barefoot, everyone trudged through the mud together shortly afterwards in search of lugworms, crackling mudflat snails, crabs running sideways and iridescent mussels. Elias and the other children were right at the front like little detectives, always shouting a loud "There! Look!" or "I found something!". After the hike, they set up their beach shells on the Frisian beach and made themselves comfortable in the late summer sun. 

Located on the green peninsula of Butjadingen, the park is only a short distance from the North Sea and thus many small and large adventures on the water. The greatest of all, the still largely untouched Wadden Sea nature. Tidal flats, salt marshes, tideways, sandbanks, dunes and sandy beaches - everything obeys the tides. The Wadden Sea has been protected as a national park in Schleswig-Holstein since 1985 and in Lower Saxony since 1986. Twice a day, the sea retreats and releases what is native to the seabed. It's the perfect environment to explore unique nature, learn new things or really clear your head while gazing at the wide horizon. Sarah takes another deep breath - this air is wonderful. "Let's go, band of robbers," she says as she stands up. "The next adventure awaits. It's called nap time."

Vacation in the middle of nature

With 78 hotel rooms, 423 cottages and apartments, all renovated over the last three years, the vacation park offers a range of great accommodation. Even inside, the proximity to the North Sea can be felt in every corner here. There's a seagull sculpture on the shelf and a wooden lighthouse hanging on the wall, framed by the blue of the walls, light wood and sand-colored furniture. And there was another highlight that made Elias jump for joy when he moved into the small vacation home yesterday: the small private garden. Because in keeping with the motto of the Belgian Center Parcs founder Piet Derksen, each cottage here has its own little garden - for a vacation surrounded by nature. Incidentally, this concept is so successful that Center Parcs is now expanding to Denmark and opening a new vacation park near Sonderburg on the island of Als.

After an hour's nap and refreshments together at the dining table, the backpacks are shouldered for the last activity of the day. We walk single file through the park, past the miniature golf course, where we stop briefly. The little family watches in fascination as the older children let the balls whiz down the lanes. With its wooden elements and surrounded by reeds, the course fits perfectly into the landscape of the North Sea coast. "Elias, come on. We have to keep going," Tobias says. No response. "Then I guess I'll have to test the water slides alone ..." Jerkily, Elias' head turns to his father. "I'm coming!" he says decisively and trudges off in the direction of the large building just a few meters away.

Adventures big and small are waiting here

Aqua Mundo is written in large letters above the entrance. A little later, the four of them enter the bathing paradise in bathing suits and trunks and find themselves under the large glass roof that spans the many water pools and floods the hall with daylight. Real tropical plants frame the turquoise blue water. A wave pool, the 'Crazy River' whitewater ride, a heated outdoor pool and many more slides and water fountains are all part of the experience. And everything is monitored around the clock by lifeguards. Sarah and Mia walk toward the toddler pool, while Tobias and Elias head straight for the water slides. "Have fun, Mom," Elias calls out before he and Tobias disappear among the other children. 

Sarah grins as she watches Mia happily patting the shallow, warm water with her hands. Because she already knows that the children will sleep well and deeply tonight after this exciting day of adventure by the sea. Then she and Tobias will sit on the terrace with a glass of wine, enjoy the peace and quiet, and plan tomorrow. Maybe a trip to the Klimahaus in Bremerhaven to learn even more about nature, climate and weather. Or off to the Jadepark animal and leisure park, where animals from all over the world have a home. One thing is for sure: the time here at Center Parcs Park Nordseeküste will not be boring.

Copyright cover picture: There is a lot to discover at the Wadden Sea © Ton Hurks

More articles from Vacation with the family