The award winning Futuroscope theme park in Poitou-Charentes, southwest France, is brilliant for kids of all ages!
What is Futuroscope all about?
If you haven’t heard of Futuroscope, what exactly is it? Well put at its simplest, it’s a theme park just outside Poitiers. The attractions are based on multimedia, cinematography and audio-visual techniques, with 3D and 4D attractions, some of which are unique in the world. But that doesn’t really do justice to this insanely bizarre and utterly French experience.
Top rides for maximum excitement at Futuroscope
We started with the Vienne Dynamique, one of the top attractions and the one that made me feel sick. If you can imagine being strapped into a seat in a simulator and then taken on a journey which involved a magical spitting tree (yes we got wet), a bride groom late for his wedding and a full throttle journey that had us jumping off a train, flying through the sky over the Vienne, driving a racing car through the back streets of a tiny village and firing down a river in a very small boat at top speed, you might begin to understand when I say it’s quirky. Despite feeling sick, I loved every second.
My guts took a further pounding with another 4D simulator experience Arthur and the world of the Minimoys. If you don’t know what that’s all about (and I didn’t), imagine climbing into the driving seat of a bug the size of a ladybird and having to take the controls at high speed. I think we went down a drain, definitely nearly got sucked up by a frog’s tongue and ran into a swarm of angry looking black insects who appeared to be out to destroy us. Brilliant if slightly bizarre.
Weird and wonderful rides at Futuroscope theme park
For tamer rides you can travel through time with the Raving Rabbids whilst sitting on a toilet, experience the Ice Age, dive to the bottom of the ocean with Jacques Cousteau and discover a tiny microscopic world and the inside of a spider’s web. There are also live shows including the iMagic show which we missed because of timings, and the Mysteries of the Cube which involved some risky gymnastics. “Not quite what I was expecting” as my daughter said, more or less summing up the whole day.
Other favourite attractions for my kids included the Futur l’Expo where they got to try out technology including magic mirrors, robots and eating food of the future that made them blow smoke out of their noses! And who doesn’t want to do that? And of course, Dancing with Robots was a massive hit. Thankfully the man on the door warned us to view it before we tried it as it was nothing like what I’d expected or seen in the trailers. You’re strapped into a chair at the end of a giant robotic arm and basically thrown around in the air! You can imagine the children loved it but my stomach and I preferred to stay on the ground.
The Incredible Imax 4k laser cinema at Futuroscope
But it’s not all about making mother’s feel sick and France’s first ever IMAX 4K laser cinema is genuinely fantastic. With Stephen Fry doing the commentary, you’re taken deep into the tiny world of a chipmunk and mouse. Imagine being smaller than a snake as it throws its mouth wide open and prepares for the kill, or seeing the hairy legs of a giant mouse eating spider reach out to grab you and gobble you up! ]
Futuroscope’s night time shows
The timing of the night show varies according to light conditions. Put on by the Cirque du Soleil, on our visit this involved a 2CV driving on water, a sound, light and para-technique display, a giant hologram, a moon and a massive firework display. I didn’t quite follow all the details of the story which seemed to be broadly along the lines of giant hologram boy meets girl, puts girl on the moon and then runs into trouble, and we’d surrendered our headsets by then. But hey, I don’t think the detail was that important.
Futuroscope is for everyone
There are 22 main attractions in total and lots and lots else to explore. You really do need 2 days or a pair of long distance working shoes and a sense of endurance. In one day we managed about 13 of the main attractions as well as the night show but we barely stopped for a breather.
French theme parks are in a league of their own (just think of Puy du Fou for a start) and Futuroscope is no exception. It wasn’t what I was expecting and I generally dread the idea of long queues and lots of people but the park is spacious and even includes giant bean bags for you to take a break on. I saw elderly couples on their own enjoying the rides and all the staff are really helpful and nice. The park is also easy to navigate (if big and a good day’s walk).
Practical Information for Futuroscope
- Futuroscope has an English website en.futuroscope.com with a map of the park and directions and it’s really well sign posted from miles around. It’s just to the west of Poitiers on the A10 (exit 28). Parking is easy but paid. There’s also a TGV train station.
- You can book on line or buy at tickets at the gate. Prices vary and also include “breaks” for 2 or 3 nights