Sunday, June 08, 2008

Making Memories...

We spent the last few days at Holiday World and Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana. This was the first time we've taken the girls there, actually it's the first trip to an amusement park or water park and I'm happy to say that we had such a good time we'll probably go back again next year.

The weather was great, sunny and warm, around 90 degrees, both days we were at the park. The water park was a huge hit with the girls which is BIG considering neither of them can actually swim. M usually squeals in the bath when I wash her hair and water gets in her face so I was happily surprised by how much fun she had in the water. J is always fearless, so I knew she'd be up for anything. Both the water park and the amusement park were great for the smaller kids. J was too short to ride the bumper cars and that made her sad because G and M rode them and she couldn't. The other rides they were too small for were too scary for them anyway, so overall it was great.

Here's the run-down... Each area of the amusement park is named for a holiday. The Christmas area had a lot of rides for the little ones -- a small carousel, sea horses, planes, etc. The bumper boats were a big hit. The Halloween area had a log flume which was fun for all of us, especially me and G. There is also a high dive show, which was fun and the girls were thrilled to watch. The Thanksgiving area was mostly rides for the bigger kids, and a river boat ride that we didn't go on. The 4th of July area had those old time cars that the kids can drive around a track, a little canoe ride, a little fish ride and a big carousel. It also had the bumper cars -- G's favorite. Then there was "Holidog" land, with a little train, a small roller coaster that the girls loved, but was a bit to jerky for me and I rode with each of them. There was also some small fountains to play in and a playground area -- climbing and slides. We also ended up there at the right time to catch the "Holidog Show". The girls were enamored by Holidog and his little song and dance time.

The water park is as big, if not bigger, than the entire amusement park. They have 2 lazy rivers, 2 wave pools (with a bin of life jackets for the little ones to wear at the entrance which was very helpful), a bunch of big water slides/rides for the bigger kids, 2 water jungle gym/slide areas that were a lot of fun for the girls. There were a few smaller wading pools, one pair had a set of 2 small water slides between and a crocodile slide in the middle of one that they LOVED! There were fountains and water everywhere. There was one big water slide ride where you walk up a ton of steps and everyone in your group gets in a big boat (J calls it the "family boat" because the whole family fits) and you go down this big windy slide really fast and end up in a splash pool at the end. There's no flipping over, falling out or going under so it's perfect for families and both girls loved it.

The parks have free Pepsi products at these "Oasis" Stations, where you walk up grab a cup and get your own drink. They also have free sunscreen stations through-out the park. The food places are fairly in-expensive for a park like this, so it's definitely an affordable option for families.

The only things I'd do differently:
1) make sure each of us have water shoes that we can wear through out the entire park and in the pools. That concrete gets extremely hot and we weren't prepared for that. G and I both thought we were going to have blisters the first day from the water park concrete --- HOT!
2) put sunscreen on more often -- we put sunscreen on multiple times, but with all of the sweating and water, by the end of day two all of us got a little bit red, nothing major, just a little red.
3) I would've packed for wearing swimsuits and cover-ups a little better. I had looked at the website, but for some reason I had in my head that the 2 parks were separate and didn't realize that we'd be in swimsuits the entire time. If I would've realized this (and the water shoes thing) I would've packed a lot less which would've been nice. The girls were fine since they had chosen to wear sundresses the first day, which made great cover-ups, and I had packed their regular cover ups which they wore the second. G was in swim trunks so he was fine, but I was not prepared for myself. I had to put shorts on over the top of a wet swimsuit -- very uncomfortable -- and they don't let you walk around the amusement park in just swimsuits (which is kind-of nice when you think about it).

Overall, we had a great trip, there was only a little whining (J wanted to ride the dolphin on the carousel and M got it, and then the next couple times other kids got it, so we rode the carousel a bunch until she got to ride the dolphin). The lines were not long at all, a lot of the rides we walked right on, which is great with small kids in tow. No one got overly scared, no on complained about riding what the others wanted to ride, we took turns picking and everyone got to do what they wanted to do. Everyone had a good time. We got to see the kids enjoy the water more than ever before. I wish there was a way that we could do this sort of thing more often. When I ask the girls what they liked best -- J said the "family boat" and the water park, M said everything except the one water slide that G took her on that went through a tube, in the dark, and ended in a deeper pool where they flipped over and she went under -- that scared her a little.