National Aquatics Centre (Water Cube)

  • Health & Wellness
  • Sports Venues
Photo: iStockphoto
11 Tianchen Dong Lu
The decision to turn the National Aquatics Centre (Water Cube) into a water park was an inspired one. The site of Phelps’s feats is now home to a number of slides and rides, a shallow pool area for little ones (complete with small wave machine) and a lazy river, all within 12,000sqm (the Olympic training pool remains for those who prefer swimming). On the weekday we visited, the Water Cube was fairly full – but mainly with families lolling around in the shallows; there were few queues, if any, for the excellent rides.
Highlights include riding a two-seater inflatable around and down a giant ‘plug hole’ (the ‘Bulletbowl’), and the ‘Tornado’, a four-seater mini dinghy that falls from a great height onto the flooded walls of an oversized half-pipe. The food isn’t great (12RMB for four chicken nuggets of such poor quality, they’d reduce Ronald McDonald to tears), but you’ll be too busy repeating the Water Cube’s best chutes to care.
Best ride The ‘Aqualoop’ speed slide. Climb into a closed chamber, then ‘three-two-one’, the floor gives way and you’re sent whizzing down a 40-foot free-fall drop.
Top tip Try the gentler rides (on your right as you enter) before tackling the more extreme ones. Also, take your own towel.
Cost 200RMB for water park only; 160RMB for children; 120RMB for an evening ticket (5-9pm). Lockers cost 20RMB (deposit of 100RMB required).
How to get there The nearest subway is the Olympic Sports Center stop on Line 8. From there it is a 1km walk north to the Water Cube.

See our guide to Beijing's best theme parks for more.
Venue name: National Aquatics Centre (Water Cube)
Opening hours: 10am-9pm daily
English address: 11 Tianchen Dong Lu Olympic Park, Chaoyang
Chinese address: 朝阳区天辰东路11号水立方
  • 4 out of 5 stars