Barcelona has a new attraction in town – Andrew Doherty limbers up to try the sports-themed entertainment on offer at Open Camp Barcelona in the Estadi Olimpic.
A light breeze offers me a moment of relief from the Spanish heat as I stand on the podium in first place, an Irish tricolour held high above my head. Even though the stadium is a little bare on spectators, in my head I’m surrounded by thousands of fans.
Open Camp Barcelona, which launched in June this year, claims to be the world’s first theme park dedicated entirely to sport. Located within the 1992 Olympic stadium, the attraction promotes family fun with the added bonus of making visitors feel like an Olympic champion. Its location on Montjuic Mountain, only a five-minute bus ride from Plaza de Espana, makes journeying there a doddle.
More than 25 sports are offered across the stadium’s grounds, and with an average length of two minutes’ participation, they shouldn’t feel too gruelling.
I head over to Open Sprint where visitors take on each other in a 100m race on the stadium’s running track.
To make it more exciting, plucky clients can pit themselves against Usain Bolt’s record time of 9.58 seconds, which is displayed on an electronic billboard. An employee tells me that it was once completed in a staggering 11 seconds – I think I’ll keep my time a secret.
Fans of football will enjoy the Open 360 training simulator. One of only a few in the world, Open 360 has clients enter a netted ring with automatic football launchers at each of the four corners. Played alone or in pairs, the rules are simple. A ball is released from a corner, which the player must control and then kick at a target.
The more difficult the shot the more points obtained. I dazzle the few onlookers with my expert control and come out with a score of 12. Average I’m told. Football ambitions immediately dashed.
There’s plenty more to try my luck on. A penalty shoot-out, a wheelchair race, long jumping, hurdles and trampolining all offer chances to snatch sporting glory. But if the mere thought of all that exercise brings you out in a sweat, you can still cheat and recreate the winning moment on the podium with your country’s flag.
The inner section of the stadium houses some impressive virtual reality technology. Open Moto is a high-tech motorcycle racing simulator, while Open Boxing uses monitors and pressure pads to simulate a boxing match. Up to four contestants can take to the ring and pound the pads in each corner to see who notches up the highest score.
Grabbing a laser guided rifle I take to the firing range at Open Shooting. Each player has five shots at the target, having to reload after each to give the impression of a real firearm.
Posers will delight in Open Keeper where they pretend to make a diving save in front of a football net while having their picture taken by 30 cameras simultaneously; a 3D image is then displayed on screen.
I spend the rest of the afternoon engrossed in the sports offered, from archery to basketball.
It’s an experience that should appeal to all ages and even if clients aren’t particularly sporty, they should still have loads of fun; I know it made me feel like a sporting superstar.
My host is Peter Jones, head of sales for Transfer & Activity Bank (TAB). TAB is Hotelbed’s business unit responsible for Open Camp’s exclusive ticket distribution.
“There has already been a UK fam trip – 76 agents came from Tui,” he says, adding that there will be further fam trips planned for UK agents, most likely for bedsonline partner agents.
“UK agents can currently book Open Camp via bedsonline.com as that’s how we distribute through the high street.”
Book it: The Open Park pass is available from £17pp for access to all sports activities and the Olympic museum.
The Open Stadium pass restricts visitors to outdoor sports only and is available from £13pp. Check the website for opening hours/days.