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Thrilling theme park offers fun in the sun.

Byline: TRICIA MARTIN

IT'S half a century since Big Bird and his wacky pals first burst on to our TV screens - and they've been entertaining children on Sesame Street ever since.

To celebrate the US show's 50th birthday, maker Sesame Workshop has teamed up with Spain's epic theme park PortAventura to create Street Mission, a fantastic new PS13million ride.

It's a long time since the teens I had in tow (daughter Millie, son Joe and his pal Harry) were Sesame Street watchers and they'd come with plans to hit PortAventura's impressive list of rollercoasters.

So I wasn't sure what they'd make of our mission - to help Detective Grover find a missing giant cookie on a six-minute, all-action 3D "dark ride".

But we all had a ball, zapping cookies with a joystick while catching up with Sesame Street legends Elmo, Ernie and Bert and Big Bird along the way.

XXXXXX xxxxxx Xxxx PortAventura, an hour down the coast from Barcelona, is a magnet for UK holidaymakers. Last year the resort had five million visitors, of whom 450,000 were from this neck of the woods.

The resort comprises three locations.

PortAventura was Spain's first theme park when it opened in 1995, while 2002 saw the launch of its Caribe Aquatic Park, which has 538,000sq ft of water attractions and activities.

Then in 2017, Ferrari Land roared into town, with exhibits and experiences honouring the iconic Italian car firm.

Even if you are no petrolhead, it's worth making time for this. The highlight for us was Flying Dreams, where you travel the world in a Ferrari GT. In reality, you are strapped into seats, watching the car on screen rather than flying in it, but it's a thrilling few minutes.

Other attractions include an F1 Simulator and a pitstop competition to test how you'd fare changing tyres for Sebastian Vettel.

But nothing could have prepared me for Red Force. The ride is 367ft high and takes riders from 112mph in just five seconds. For the fearless teens in my party, Red Force took the prize as the scariest experience of the weekend. But with 71 rides across the parks, there are numerous other attractions to appeal to less gung-ho grown-ups.

To make the most of your time, it's worth booking a resort hotel. There are five four-star ones and one five-star, along with a caravan park.

Late. Flying Glasgow on and 18, seven adults-only, at the Hotel la Cala, Eulalia, Ibiza, PS449pp.

By the Mediterrania area of the park, there's a delightful harbour lined with cafes, bars and restaurants.

. Flying or Edinburgh May 16 and nights half-the 3* Hotel, Stalis, from PS349pp.

So when Joe and Harry went AWOL (squeezing in another ride on Shambhala - well, it is one of Europe's highest rollercoasters at 256ft), Millie and I grabbed an ice cream and headed down to soak up the sun at a table on the "beach".

. Flying on May 23, nights all-the 4* Hotel Bronze Playa del Canaria, PS499pp.

It was a moment of calm as I worked up the courage to take on one last rollercoaster...

. For these more, visit stewarttravel.your nearest Facts ? Rooms at PortAventura Hotel Mansion de Lucy start at PS256.46 a night, including theme park access and Ferrari Land tickets. See portaventuraworld.com/en or call 0808 234 3399.

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JOY RIDES The park's attractions offer something for all ages - and sensitivities
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:May 4, 2019
Words:572
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