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‘No dad’ came the reply when I asked if ASK(otherwise known as UltraBaby and pronounced AyeEsQue) would like to join me on the waterslide at AquaLava. In truth the phrase ‘No dad’ was one I heard on a very regular basis during our time in Lanzarote but the question is, if you’ve got an inquisitive 2 year old and don’t enjoy beach holidays does Lanzarote have enough to keep a family entertained?

ASK and I went to find out.

Because we were travelling as a family (me, the GingaNinja, ASK and GranGran) we felt we needed to have an itinerary that we could work to, flexible enough for changing conditions and moods but rigid enough that we didn’t end up doing what none of us wanted which was lying about on a beach.

Rancho Texas
ASK has a tremendous love of animals and so we decided that our first stop would be ‘Rancho Texas’ a kind of theme park-cum-water park. Given that one of our party required a mobility scooter the accessible nature of the park made it a good choice to get the holiday off to a winning start. We arrived shortly after opening at 10am and paid the entrance fee, about €66 for three adults and a 2 year old child (ASK was free).

We decided that we would start in the water park section, there was a nice children’s section and so we hurriedly changed and I leaped into the water – only to leap straight back out. Bloody hell it was chilly, suddenly the large bucket of water that had been filling on one of the attractions came bouncing down around me and I was double soaked with freezing cold water. Children and even ASK bellowed out a hearty laugh – rather than withdraw though I simply pressed on under all the squinty bits of water firing in my direction and enjoyed the moment. However, ASK wasn’t keen to do more than dip her toes in and within about half an hour we got dressed and decided to try something else. The good news – I had spied the more adult water slides and would trundle back this way later.

We drifted through to the animal enclosures were we found a strange but delightful assortment of natures greatest animals, a pair of Siberian Tigers, snakes, lizards, a beautifully sleepy puma (something is never seen before), turtles and others. Conditions were decent, perhaps not quite London Zoo standard but given it was a theme park these animals looked mostly happy and in good condition. ASK was delighted when the Alligator Turtle looked up at her with its big craggy head and even more excited to stand face to face with the tigers. We had a very happy two year old and despite the incline the mobility scooter we had worked perfectly well even on the slightly rockier sections.

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Lunch was a bit of a mixed bag, it was fast food rather than pleasant Spanish Tapas but a very meaty pizza, a salad and some nachos were okay if nothing spectacular and it set us up for a wander around the farm section to admire the goats, chickens and other animals that ASK knows how to sound like, on our way up though we stopped by the alligator enclosure to admire the hideous majesty of these terrifying animals. One of them lifted his mouth open and while ASK pointed and scoffed I decided to take a step back.

After more than 4hrs at the park we decided that the day was running its course, we had seen almost all the animals, we had run about like a toddler does and we tried the swimming. Just one last thing remained and that was to catch the sea lion show – something I hadn’t done since I was about 8 years old.

We watched with glee as the sea lions leaped and paraded around the arena for fish and each of them seemed content in performing both tricks and being in front of their adoring public.

We left soon after having had a nice if not spectacular time. ASK had enjoyed herself though – combining her favourite things, running about and animals. The only blight on the day was when a rather unofficial ‘charity pesterer’ refused to take no for an answer when I didn’t want to donate €20 to the development of the ‘international centre for the deaf’. I support charity but this looked very much like a scam and that annoys me. His repeated harassment of myself and my family in the car park resulted in me having to flex a few muscles and suggest that if he didn’t back away I was going to introduce him to a knuckle sandwich. The GingaNinja seemed concerned for his welfare as she could sense my blood boiling and she was glad when the man eventually walked away.

The next day for me was Haria Extreme so the family ambled around the beach and several cafes and restaurants having a quiet day in the winter soon. The visit to La Isleta was a bit of a letdown as it wasn’t very accessible nor particularly pretty.

Teguise Market
With Day 3 we were back on it and I had a couple of things in mind – the first was a trip to Teguise market, a ten minute car journey from where we were staying in the delightfully quiet San Bartolome.

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We decided that the market would probably be quite busy so rather than take the UltraMobile (Mountain Buggy Terrain) we would take UltraBaby in the Bushbaby backpack and let her walk around once we got the lay of the land sorted. We also had a wheelchair being pushed which was something of a challenge to the man carrying the 2 year child on his back and a big hill to climb pushing the wheelchair having run 80 very steep kilometres less than 12hrs before. I was sweating on the way up but once the elevation has died off a little the GingaNinja took over and we ambled around the hundreds of little stalls all filled with treasures and tat. In truth the quality of many of the items was very, very good. Some very individual jewellery especially and there were some delightful metalwork and stonework pieces that would pleasantly adorn any home. The food stalls were equally excellent with lots of cheese, meat, jams, etc and we bought a few bits that would fill out Christmas present piles for family.

For food we stopped twice, first at a local cafe that served delicious sweet pastries, coffee and for me a scrumptious chicken empanada and second at the undercover section of the market. For about €12 we managed to get 2 bowls of reasonable paella, some fish, a large portion of Canarian potatoes with mojo sauce and drinks – more than enough to feed four people. While it was no 2 Michelin star food it was hearty and filling and when you’ve been on your feet for hours this made for just the right top up.

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With food finished we browsed a little further, took in the amazing lady dancing like a palm tree, the flamenco dancers in the town square and the Canarian warrior blowing on his conch. Awesome. ASK stood transfixed at this smorgasbord of cultural interest – that was until we found the playground.

ASK asked to play in the large and well looked after playground and we had no qualms in letting her run riot for half an hour. Gran and the GingaNinja looked on as I joined my daughter for frolics on the swings, roundabouts, slides and all manner of awesome playground delights.

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With everybody thoroughly tuckered out we headed back to the car, loaded everyone in but I took the opportunity to go back and photograph a curiosity building with a graveyard of tat (old monitors, dolls heads, statues – creepy stuff. Creepy but fun and worth a look, the house is called Casa Museo Mara Mao and it is by a man referring to himself as Don Pillimpo. I was fascinated, the rest of my party – less so.

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If you are in Lanzarote then the market is certainly a place you’d consider visiting. It’s central location, wide range of goods, quality food options and entertainment make for a good few hours out. Plus Teguise is a really pleasant place with a village atmosphere and additional things to go and see such as the pirate museum.

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