We all know that Bournemouth is evolving at a terrific pace, but some redevelopments receive more attention than others. The transformation of the tired, empty Pier Theatre into RockReef, an indoor climbing centre back in May 2014 certainly caught the attention of the public – from people delighted to have an all-weather attraction right in the centre of town to those concerned about the potential popularity of the first venue of its kind while lamenting the definitive end of the Pier Theatre that the development would bring about.
Just two years down the line, RockReef is proving its mettle as a popular venue for children, teenagers and adults of all ages and levels of athleticism. There are a number of activities here – simply mix and match the challenges to suit your group and levels of daring!
Clip n Climb
The Clip n Climb offers 28 separate climbing walls, each with its own challenge on there, suitable for anyone from the age of 4 upwards. From jungle vines to a speed wall, spaghetti junction and the ice wall to the devilish lightning crack – plus a real rock wall too. How high can you climb? Under-16s must be accompanied by an adult ‘clipper,’ who is charged with making sure the group is safely clipped in at all times. Once you’ve had your safety briefing and a demonstration on how the automatic safety devices (belays) will keep you safe at all times you’re free to explore all 28 walls plus the thrilling stairway to heaven climbing challenge. Instructors are on hand at all times to supervise your activity and give you the confidence to tackle next challenge.
If you fancy your Clip n Climb experience with a double dose of daring, why not add on the Vertical Slide and Leap of Faith? These activities do exactly what they threaten – the Vertical Slide provides a thrilling plummet from whatever height you dare to be dropped! The Leap of Faith is RockReef’s most daring attraction. You need to scale the 20ft pole, walk the plank and after three take the leap of faith as you reach for the bag of treasure!
Take the high road
One of RockReef’s most tantalising activities is the HighLine aerial obstacle course. This continuous belay system lets you tackle a series of challenging, swinging obstacles while suspended high up in the rafters. A qualified instructor will secure you to the safety system before you are free to negotiate the course at your own speed.
If you’ve had quite enough of heights, why not delve into the pier cave – a daring adventure through the depths, encountering twists, turns, grottos and ball pools on a 65-metre course. Grown-ups can bypass the activity and watch the action from the Coffee Reef café above if they’re not feeling brave enough. The activities get darker and more daring as you venture further into this hidden world.
Meet the RockStars!
If the kids get a real taste for the highlife after trying out the climbing walls, why not sign them up to be RockStars? This fun after school club on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during term time is for high climbers between the ages of 4 and 15. Come and tackle RockReef’s various adventure activities with fellow junior thrillseekers!
If all this exertion has helped you build up an appetite, pop into Coffee Reef, the mezzanine café ideally situated with views of the coastline to one side and the RockReef activities on the other. Hungry climbers can tuck into a freshly-prepared pizza or bowl of pasta and there’s a range of snacks and light bites too.
Not just for the kids
While RockReef is a great place to wear out the kids in all weathers, it’s also a great venue to kick start the birthday celebrations, a stag or hen do or corporate away-day. Or perhaps you want a new type of exercise to inspire a fitness kick.
You can hire the venue privately, secure a VIP area or muck in with the other thrillseekers – whatever suits your style you’ll find plenty to entertain and challenge people of all ages and levels of daring!
Bournemouth’s Pier Theatre
RockReef has rejuvenated Bournemouth’s Pier Theatre, which first opened in 1960 but had closed after being superseded by the shows and spectacles at the BIC and Pavilion Theatres. The theatre closed in late 2013 and RockReef – which has been careful to preserve its iconic structure and design – opened its doors just five months later.