The Romagna Riviera is also known as the Riviera of Parks due to its large concentration of fun parks. Some of the most famous ones in Italy can all be found within a 100-kilometre radius and thousands of tourists flock to these each year when holidaying on the coast.
The Cattolica Aquarium is one of the largest in Italy and second only to the one in Genoa.
Situated in the northern part of Cattolica (a few metres from Hotel Negresco), it stands on the site of an ex-Summer camp that dates back to the 1930s. The park was originally called “Parco Le Navi” due to the fact that its original shape was like a naval fleet. This shape was preserved when the aquarium buildings were redeveloped.
There are four parts to the aquarium in four separate buildings. This allows the visitor to leave each building once they have visited one particular section and take a short break in the large outdoor park, where there are benches, children’s games, a tea kiosk and a pond. The park is public and entrance is free.
1) The blue trail. Lasting approximately two hours, the blue house is without doubt the most beautiful and the most impressive, a journey through an underwater kingdom where you can admire thousands of species of fish and marine plants from all over the world.
The highlight of the blue trail is of course the large shark tank, where you can get face to face with huge white sharks and hammerhead sharks.
The more daring visitor has the chance to actually enter the tank inside a special cage with the aquarium’s fully-qualified staff.
2) The yellow trail. Opened in 2011, it contains a reconstruction of the habitat of caimans and otters. A visit to the yellow house lasts around half an hour and is the second most favourite house for young visitors, who are particularly intrigued by the tenderness of the playful little creatures that are often known to get right up to the glass as if they wanted to be touched. If you are lucky, you might even be around to see otter feeding time, when the baby otters will scuffle with each other and try to steal each other’s food.
3) The green trail. A visit to the green house lasts about half an hour and allows the visitor to see snakes, frogs, geckoes and iguanas.
4) The purple trail. It takes about forty-five minutes to visit the purple house and visitors can press interactive buttons to listen to the sounds of the ocean depths and read explanations about where these sounds come from.
The park is situated approximately 200 metres from Hotel Negresco and throughout 2013 there is a special agreement between the hotel and the aquarium which allows hotel guests to get discounts on tickets (€ 14.00 instead of € 19.00).
Riccione Aquafan is Europe’s most famous water park.
It covers an area of approximately 150,000 square metres and is dotted with water slides, water games, grassy areas and places to grab a bite to eat, meaning you can spend a whole day here having fun and doing a bit of physical exercise.
Aquafan has always been famous for its impressive number of high quality attractions and has kept up with the need to change and innovate.
Along with firm favourites such as the legendary Kamikaze slide or the Extreme River ramp, there are also new slides such as the Strizzacool, which was opened in 2010 and allows groups to go down together.
The park has continued to provide more and more attractions over the years and now also caters for little ones. There is a special children’s area with games suitable for the very young, including the Elephant Pool, Lazy Town Beach and Antarctic Baby Beach.
Within the park there are also various walkways set in the greenery, cafés and restaurants, children’s entertainment, and a disco, which makes Aquafan a tempting place to spend those lively summer evenings.
The park is about a ten-minute-drive from Cattolica, after you come off the motorway at the Riccione toll booth. The park is situated in front of the toll booth.
Fiabilandia is a fun park dedicated entirely to children and families.
Situated in Rivazzurra di Rimini, the park is about a 25-minute drive from Cattolica and is easy to get to.
The park is divided up into four main parts, each with its own theme: the medieval area, which includes the entrance, Merlin’s Castle and the Wizard’s Smoothie Shop; the Oriental area with Fu-Ming’s labyrinth and the Lake of Dreams; Peter Pan’s Bay; and the Far West.
The most exciting, most impressive attractions are without doubt Merlin’s Castle, the Valley of the Gnomes (once the legendary Caterpillar Train) and now a mini roller coaster with caterpillar-shaped cars which takes you on a journey through fantasy lands and Captain Nemo Adventure where you can challenge your enemy to fun-filled water fights.
With so many exciting things to do and so near to Cattolica, Fiabilandia is an absolute must for families with little children who are after lots of fun but lots of relaxation too.
The whole of Italy in one single day? No problem, just spend a day at Miniature Italy.
The famous Miniature Italy theme park is situated in Viserba di Rimini and is about a half-hour drive from Cattolica.
The park is a reconstruction of some of Italy’s most beautiful cities and as visitors walk around they can see monuments, churches, palaces and piazzas which have been carefully reproduced to scale in a natural setting with miniature sized real trees.
The whole of Italy is covered by small electric trains that stop off in the different stations and on the edge of the peninsula there is a small area dedicated to Miniature Europe, which has thirteen European countries to visit.
Out of all the most interesting attractions, those most worth mentioning include the interactive driving school, the panoramic tower, the monorail, the canoe (an aquatic journey that ends with a big splash as you land on the water), Pinocchio (just for the little ones), Pala Playstation 3 and Pappamondo (an area of the park dedicated to parrots).
Miniature Italy is one of those attractions that children just cannot miss if they come to Romagna for their holidays.
The “Land of Wonders” is about an hour’s drive from Cattolica.
Mirabilandia is Italy’s largest fun park and is situated in the Savio area of Ravenna.
Opened in 1992, over the years the park has grown, new rides and attractions have been added and today it covers an area of approximately 300,000 square metres.
With a large variety of thrilling rides and attractions suitable for all ages, Mirabilandia is a theme park and also a water park.
Each year around two million visitors come to the park, a growing success due also to the fact that the attractions are constantly updated.
The most exciting rides include the Katun, the Roller Coaster, the recently opened Divertical, the iSpeed and Mirabeach, a water park within Mirabilandia split up into two areas.
Oltremare is a wildlife and technology theme park that aims for children to have fun but also learn about science and the environment.
The park covers over 110,000 square metres and attracts around a million visitors each year.
Oltremare is unique in that its different areas all have their own theme and are dedicated to playing, learning or just watching.
The two most popular of all the many attractions are:
- Laguna dei Delfini, (Dolphin Lagoon) the exact recreation of a small rocky bay on the Adriatic sea which is home to Ulisse, a famous dolphin that starred in a well-known sweet advert. The dolphin show is an event that no visitor can possibly miss.
- Adventure Island: a large park that covers over 110,000 square metres and is perfect for children and families. There are games, suspended walkways, ladders, climbing poles, ropes, fountains, water cannons for epic water fights, a river you can sail down by boat, sandy islands and a whole host of other adventurous fun.
Oltremare is situated in Riccione and is a 10-minute drive down the motorway from Cattolica. The park is opposite Riccione toll booth.Play PlanetSo, it’s raining and you can’t go to the beach, but you still want somewhere nearby where your children can play indoors……..What better place than Play Planet!Situated in Misano Adriatico approximately two kilometres from Hotel Negresco, Play Planet is an indoor play centre for children aged 2 to 12.Play Planet has a baby play area, a birthday party room, slot machine games, a bar, an internet point, a parent area and plenty of parking.Play Planet is also educational and aims to develop children’s psychomotor skills through play and fun and with tubes, slides, ramps, ball pools, and obstacle courses. This is an innovative concept that focuses on getting children physically active by playing in a controlled, safe environment. All this means that parents can relax knowing that their children are safe - or mums and dads can choose to get involved and play too!San Marino AdventuresSan Marino Adventures is the first theme park in San Marino and one of Italy’s biggest fun parks. It is set in lush green surroundings and provides adventurous fun for adults and children alike.Bridges, raised walkways, suspended beams and obstacle courses, there is something for everyone, no matter what you like or how old you are. All attractions are supervised by a specialist team of staff who guarantee your absolute safety.San Marino Adventures is a good alternative to the usual visit to the old town centre, or better still you could do one in the morning and the other in the evening.