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Catherine Holecko

Why water parks aren't all bad

By April 11, 2012

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Inner tubes at water parkRecently, I spent a full day (and a whole lot of cash) at an indoor water park, with four kids in tow. Universally, at these establishments, the food is as awful as it is expensive; the opportunities to separate you from your money in stupid ways (arcades, grrrr) flow as freely as, well, water; and you will leave feeling certain that you or your child has picked up some sort of virus or fungus.

However! There are some advantages to spending time in a steamy, chlorine-laced warehouse stuffed with inner tubes, slides, fountains, over-sized fiberglass sea creatures, and pirate-y puns.

  1. No sunscreen required. This makes me so happy.
  2. Two words: Lazy. River. You can't drift on a gentle current of relaxation at Chuck E. Cheese's, that's for sure.
  3. Two more words: Hot. Tub. Ahhhh.
  4. Free StairMaster workout included with price of admission. Want to ride on one of those cool, giant slides? You'll have to walk up a giant flight of steps, probably while carrying an inner tube. Kid wants to ride (and ride again, and again, and again) but isn't tall or brave enough to go it alone? Get climbing, mama.
  5. Feel better about your body. No, really. Whatever your height, weight, hairiness level, number of tattoos/piercings, and preferred amount of swimsuit coverage, someone else will match or exceed you. It's a good reality check.

Photo: Vito Palmisano

April 11, 2012 at 10:25 am
(1) Susan says:

Since we live in the South, our water parks are outdoors. That means we still have to use sunscreen, but we’re spared the intense chlorine smell. Our local park has a reduced price after 4 p.m., so we take advantage of that and save a lot of money. But you’re right about the food. It is awful.

April 11, 2012 at 10:53 am
(2) Christine says:

Yeah, but you kinda ned that instense chlorine smell to revive you after paying the price of the breakfast buffet .

We live within 20 minutes of an indoor water park, so we go more often than I would like (which is not nearly as often as my husband and kids would like), What I do like about it is that you never have to leave the hotel. There are plenty of activities to keep everyone busy for a one or two night stay. The rooms are equipped with microwaves and fridges so you can save a bundle on dining. And if you do decide to splurge, well, hey, where else you could spend so much on dining, yet still be admitted wearing a bathing suit and flip flops?

Where I live, it’s also a wonderful reprieve from the endless snow we usually experience in the winter.

April 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm
(3) Tammy says:

There are some disadvantages for sure. However, the amount of stair climbing and the laughter for the entire family make walking barefoot in questionable substances worth it!

April 12, 2012 at 8:57 pm
(4) Katherine says:

This winter we spent three days at an indoor water park (Great Wolf Lodge) and had an amazing time. I totally concur with your assessment of the pros and cons. There was a very nice mix of independent pools where the kids could wade and play with rafts, and ones that we went on together. We will definitely do it again when it’s too cold for outdoor pools.

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