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Few treats get to the core of what fun it is to be a kid (ok, and adult, too) quite like a waterpark. Slides, splashing, the buoyant delights of a lazy river — it’s routinely the highlight of summer.
And there’s nothing quite like the Ship Wreck Waterpark here at Ocean Reef Resort. As one can infer from the name, we’re working with a pirate theme here, which is, like, the funniest thing ever for the younger set. Slip on down the new Lagoon Launcher slide, “battle” the Tiki Men waterfalls, and dive for buried treasure. The littlest (and not-so-littlest) will love the Kiddie Water Park, with wadable waters and spouting fountains. Ocean Reef also boasts and outdoor pool, an indoor pool, hot tubs, an indoor kid’s activity pool, and — the best part — a lazy river.
But what to keep in mind before diving in? We’ve got a few tips for maximizing your fun and safety at this — and any — waterpark.
1) Keep eyes locked on your kids: Even at pools chock full of lifeguards, you are your kids’ best safety net. Ship Wreck does not have a lifeguard on duty, so plan accordingly. Small children should always wear Coast Guard-approved flotation devices and remain close to a parent or caretaker. Older kids who are experienced swimmers also need to be checked on frequently — not only for safety reasons, but to make sure they’re behaving!
2) Wear sunscreen: We’re joining the chorus here and reminding you to always, and we mean every single day, wear sunblock. Pick a waterproof and sweatpoof variety and reapply every hour you and your family are outside. Your big kids may already check in frequently for snack or drink breaks, so take that opportunity to towel them off and give them another hefty dousing of SPF 50. Small kids and those with sensitive skin may benefit from wearing full-coverage protective swimwear.
3) Love (or at least respect) thy neighbor: No one likes uninvited splashing. No one. Remind your crew that while it may seem fun to flail around with wild abandon, those next to them aren’t enjoying it. Make sure they know to keep hands to themselves, wait their turn in line for slides and attractions, and cut small kids and babies a wide berth. Read and follow all posted rules, and make sure your kids understand them. Any little rule-breakers might benefit from a 10-minute “cool-down”next to mom or dad on the pool deck before returning to the water — no doubt calmer, contrite and ready to comply.
4) Get there early: There’s a reason why waterparks are often crowded —they’re super-fun. But that means you and your brood might have to get a move on first thing to claim several chairs on the pool deck as basecamp. Don’t forget to bring towels and snacks and drinks —and clean up after yourself!
5) Consider swim shoes: Feet can take a bit of a beating at the pool. First of all, you’ve got that lovely pruning effect from being in the water, so sensitivity is already increased. Second, there’s that hot cement surface, scratchy pool bottom, and slipper stairs and slides. At best you’ve got some cut up feet; at worst, someone slips and falls. Keep those kids happy and upright with a safe little addition to their outfit (they’re great for the beach, too) such as these.
What about you? Got any tips for amped-up waterpark fun?