Thursday, February 09, 2017

Futuroscope Trip - Day 1

While we spent some time around Toulouse during a few days of February break, we then headed out via train toward Futuroscope.  It's an amusement park with a futuristic, multimedia sort of theme.  There are rides, but there are also all kinds of IMAX presentations on different things.  There is an energy farm displaying 5 different types of energy production (unfortunately closed during our visit).  There are a couple of buildings like the Disney Land Innoventions showing different cool stuff.  As it was winter, some of the different things outside were closed, but there was still plenty to do during our two day visit.

To get there, we took two trains. The first went to Bordeaux.  The kids played with their electronics during that part of the trip.

We are busy, stop photographing us...

Then, we switched trains and took another one from Bordeaux to Futuroscope Train Station.  I think it's near Poitiers, but the station is actually called Futuroscope Station.  The boys spent another two hours playing with their games during this leg of the trip.  We also ate sandwiches that we brought along.

We are so busy playing with out games, that we are not noticing you photograph us...

I have to say, out of all plane or train or car trips to a destination, this was one of the easiest.  When you fly to Paris, you have to find the bus into town.  When you fly to Washington, DC Dulles, you have to figure out how to get close to DC.  Even when you park at Disneyland, you have to leave your car, go to the tram stop, wait with a bunch of people, take the tram, go through tickets and the gate.  At Futuroscope, you get off the train, walk upstairs to the Futuroscope bridge, show your ticket, and walk over.

Cool bridge connecting the train station to the park

The park looks amazing.  You can see the cool cube building in the bridge picture above, and one of the spherical IMAX buildings.  Below, you can see the cool geodescent building next to the seating for the nighttime spectacular.

It's geodescent!

After arriving, I wanted to go check-in at the Futuroscope hotel, also attached with an entrance to the park, so we could drop off our backpacks.  However, the boys were distracted by the playground in the middle of the theme park.  I was left holding all three backpacks.

Kids on a bridge

It included a giant horn that you could speak into.  Or yell things in English, like Alex here.

Alex - Being Heard

 Also in our wanderings to find the hotel gate, we noticed this guy from a distance.  Yes, that's one of the Lapins Cretins.  IRL!  The boys wouldn't approach.  Clearly they have watched too many of the rabbit shows and were reasonably cautious around the typically destructive rabbit.

Bonjour Lapin!

Finally we made it over to the hotel and dropped off our stuff.  The room was not fancy, but was clean and had three single beds in it.  This was quite the relief to Will and Alex who really don't care for sharing a double bed when we are traveling.

Backpack free, we retourned to the park to actually do some stuff!  The boys found another playground to spend time on.  Clearly the park designers, while emphasizing futuristic, multi-media attractions, know how to satisfy my kids.  They really just want to play on play structures.


Bouncing back and forth

The park also had a bunch of interesting sculpture art.  In this unfortunate event, Alex is attacked by a giant, red, wire octopus.

And I thought that I should be worried about the rabbits!

The park is also smart about rest spots.  Not only are there benches around, but there are also relaxing hammocks.

I see this "ride" lets us swing back and forth.

Conveniently, there are also restrooms, clearly marked.  There was only one down side of the restrooms.  The restroom doors were open on the exterior of buildings and not terribly insulated.  It was winter and they were kind of cold.

Will selecting a cold restroom

Finally we headed inside to some of the interesting indoor exhibits.  We went to L'Expo.  A cool building that contained some demonstrations of multi-media and motion capture technology.

Alex tried every face on the screen that let you capture your face, then applies masks that follow your face as you move.  Here are a few of the options, or you can go view the 4 minute video over on you tube.  It includes a "cute fluffy unicorn" song sung by Alex.  

Orange Tiger Face?

Astronaut Alex

Also in L'Expo was a touch table with "air" hockey.  The boys played a bunch of games on it.

I will defeat you!

We didn't acquire any 3d Alex and Will figures, but there was a device that allowed you to photograph your head, then stick it on a figure.  Next to the screen was a 3d printer that allowed you to print it out

Alex the footballer

At various places around L'Expo, there were giant bean bag cushions.  Great after a day of wandering around the park.  Great waiting place for parents who have kids busily occupied in the different technologies.  Will attempted to disappear under the giant orange one, but he was too tall.


You can't see me

There were some giant tangrams that the kids could use to make shapes.  Will used them to build a wall.

Most inerestingly shaped wall in France

The evening brought the Spectacular, La Forge aux Etoiles.  As far as we can tell, it was the story of a girl who went on a drive out into the night to meet with her friend who was made out of light.  He told her that she could go on a journey in a machine that he made.  It was shaped like a moon and would take her to the stars.  So they go on their journey.  There was also a space DJ.  And they ran into her friend's mother, I think, who he had not seen since he was a small child.  There were explosions and fireworks and fire.  The girl found herself back on earth near her car, thinking her friend was dead.  But no, it was revealed that he had been transformed into a nebula and that they could still talk.  And so the DJ came back and they danced.

Spectacle Fireworks

Lasers and Water

The boys appreciated the heat that was generated from the fire feature as February in France at night is not very warm.  After the Spectacle, we returned to our hotel and slept to recover energy for the next day.

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