We just had one of our busiest, but most fun weekends this summer. My sister and her family came down from Michigan to visit and we went amusement park hopping. Our first stop on Saturday, was Wildwater Kingdom.
None of us had ever been to Wildwater Kingdom and since the weather has been hitting 90 degrees nearly every day, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to try it out. The kids were all thrilled to go to a water park. Kora & Logan’s cousins are 4 & 6, so it was wonderful that the kids were getting the chance to spend all kinds of time together.
We arrived at 10 for early admission and found front row and center parking spots for both cars. We then headed toward the entrance, excited to see water slides towering just beyond the entrance to the park.The line for admission at this time was very short and they let us all in at 10:30 am.
Charlie Brown and Snoopy were there to greet us, give out hugs, and pose for photos.
One of the first attractions to catch our eye was Liquid Lightning. It’s a 60-foot-tall, 253 foot-long tornado slide. Riders can swirl down the enormous drain on four-person inner tubes. It looked like so much fun! Through out the day we would see riders slosh up the side of the funnel as they circled the drain. Early in the day there was almost no wait for the ride, but that definitely didn’t last long.
The second couldn’t-miss attraction was Splash Landing. This area was an immediate hit with the kids and we spent almost the entire day here. There’s just so much to do in this multi-level play structure. There are 7 water slides, bubbling geysers, towers, cargo nets, bridges, and a giant bucket that dumps water every two minutes onto the heads of those standing under it. There are also smaller pools and slides for the little ones.
Here’s a video of Kora & Logan’s thoughts about Splash Landing. It also gives you a good look at the area as well.
Here’s a video of the giant bucket dumping 1,000 gallons of water!
One of the most amazing parts of the park were the lifeguards. They are so many of them and the way they work is incredible. They are trained by Jeff Ellis & Associates through a special technique that allows them to stay on top of every inch of the pools as much as possible.
I have to believe this technique works because at one point in the afternoon there was a couple in the Splash Landing area with 4 young children. They were trying to encourage one child to go down a preschooler-size slide, when he decided he would rather stand up to go down it. The parents became distracted because of this and all of their attention went to the child standing on the water slide.
The next thing I know the father is running down the water slide with a look of terror on his face. He bounds through 20-feet of water and scoops his 2-year-old from the hands of a lifeguard. The toddler was coughing and crying and the parents were frightened, but so thankful. The lifeguard responded by nodding his head and immediately went back to scanning the water, as if saving that child’s life didn’t even happen. Wow.
You can see a 30-second video of the technique the lifeguards use to scan the water at Akron Ohio Moms. It really is impressive.
While we spent most of our day at Splash Landing, we did venture over to Tidal Wave Bay for a bit which is one of Ohio’s largest wave pools. It was a big hit with my nieces because they have been taking swimming lessons. Kora & Logan wanted to like it, but it was a little overwhelming for them. As an adult, it was fun being in the large waves and really gave me the feeling of being in the ocean.
Not to be missed for the older crowd is Coral Cove, Riptide Run, and Thunder Falls. We walked over to these areas to check them out, but with all the playing we did at Splash Landing didn’t have time to try them out for ourselves. They did look fun and next time we’ll be sure to try them out.
Riptide Run is a 1,100 foot-long lazy river that winds its way around Coral Cove.
Thunder Falls is where all the big kids hang out. It offers Ohio’s largest water slide complex and features 4 thrilling raft slides and 3 enclosed body slides. At speeds of up to 27 mph riders enjoy racing each other as they shoot out into the refreshing pool at the bottom.
If you’re like us and traveling with preschoolers or younger, you can give the kids a break from all the water over at The Beach or at the Little Tikes Town. The Beach offers a nice sandy area where the kids can build sandcastles, move sand with toy construction equipment, build with interlocking blocks, and even play beanbag toss or play a giant game of chess. The Little Tikes Towns offers a nice size play area full of Little Tikes houses, ride-ons and other toys.
We stopped by The Beach and the Little Tikes Town for a mid-day break, but unfortunately had bad timing. It was right at noon when the sun was the hottest that day, so we only stayed for a couple of minutes and headed right back to the water. What little time we spent in these areas the kids did have fun and I would definitely recommend them to others with little ones.
If you are planning a trip to Wildwater Kingdom, here are a few suggestions:
- Get there early. We were able to enter through early admission and it was well worth it. We put our things on a couple of chairs in the first row at Splash Landing. This made stopping back to towel off or sit down for a break easy because we didn’t have to weave our way through the back rows to do so. As the morning went on we were impressed with the lack of an overwhelming crowd and we thought this was due to the call for thunderstorms later in the afternoon. However we were wrong and between 11 am and noon, the park became packed. It was never obnoxious, but everything was much easier to enjoy in the thinner crowd.
- Borrow the park’s life jackets. The park allows you to borrow life jackets for the day for free. Certain attractions require life jackets. The good news is you can stop by and pick-up a life jacket just for that attraction and return it when your done. It’s simple too. For Tidal Wave Bay, just walk to the far side of the pool, near the cabanas, and you’ll see a boat sitting on it’s side stuffed full of life jackets. Grab the size you need and return it when you’re done. There are similar stations in other areas of the park as well.
- Bring your own towels. No towels are provided so you will have to bring your own.
- Lockers are available. It’s pretty tough to bring a camera to a water park. Not only did I fear mine getting wet by an errant splash or my dropping it in the water, there is always the unease of leaving it with your things while you go off to splash around. The good news is lockers are available so you can keep your camera safe and pull it out again later in the day if that great photo presents itself. The lockers are located near Splash Landing.
- Plan to eat there. All that splashing and playing in the water and under the sun really builds up an appetite. There are many places to choose from when looking for something to eat. Just some suggestions include: Big Daddy’s for Brats, Burgers, Hot Dogs, and more; Happy Harbor Cafe for Grilled Chicken Sandwiches, Chicken Caesar Salad, Chocolate Cake and more; and Pizza Pier for Pizza, Breadsticks, Wings, and more.
- Fan WildWater Kingdom on Facebook. For the rest of the summer they will be offering exclusive deals for Facebook Fans. A new coupon appears on their Facebook page every Friday and will be valid from that Friday through the next Thursday.
- Use the Exclusive Reader Coupon Below. Geauga Lake’s Wildwater Kingdom is offering readers of 2 Wired 2 Tired $5.00 off general admission good for up to 4 persons. The coupon is valid for the 2010 season only.
To say that Kora, Logan, & their cousins had fun at Wildwater Kingdom would be an understatement. They had a blast and we all hope to return again before the end of the season.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II of our Ohio Family Road Trip: Cedar Point.
Have you ever been to a water park with your kids? What did they think?
Admission tickets and food vouchers were provided. No compensation was received. The honest opinions are my own and that of my family.