In the spirit of full disclosure, my family loves water parks. Really, swimming of any kind will do but water parks are favored in particular because they provide the thrills of an amusement park with the cool relaxation of hanging out by the pool. After surviving a two week heat wave in the City, we needed some cool down fun so we headed upstate to SplashDown Beach in Fishkill, New York.
SplashDown has slides and rides for all ages although it is optimal for families with children twelve and under. There are toddler areas with Bob the Builder branding and a pirate ship with slides for the kindergarten set. For the large slides kids must be 42 inches and taller. Our 8 year-old, who is not a thrill seeker, was able to go on every ride in the park, although the Humunga Half-Pipe scared the pants off us all. The wave pool is for kids of all ages with supervision as well as the Coconut Pool for just plain swimming. Free life vests are available for children but most of the rides end in a pool that is only a few feet deep so kids don’t have to be strong swimmers to enjoy even the faster slides. I would recommend life vests for the wave pool if a parent or adult is not going to be right there supervising the child.
My favorite ride was the lazy river for the obvious reasons. Although popular and crowded, the river current kept everything moving along and the periodic splash spouts kept you cool while you floated in the sun. I recommend wearing a hat and lots of sunscreen for this one.
TIP: When going on the popular slides, check to see what lines are for which slides. We found that there might be a big line for one but none at all for another although they appear to funnel into the same one.
SpashDown has typical park food: pizza, fries, onion rings, burgers, hotdogs and ice cream. There were some healthier options like prepared salads, hummus with pretzels, and fruit salad cups. I always think that parks should offer snack packs of kid friendly veggies (carrots, celery and cherry tomatoes) or have fresh cut fruit and smoothie stands. Sigh, a mom can dream.
TIP: There is no outside food allowed in the park but it provides a picnicking area next door. If you have a good Cooler that will stay cold in a hot car, you can bring your own healthy choices for lunch and have dessert in the park.
One thing this park has that I have not seen in some other water parks is beer. Now, I don’t condone getting drunk while your kids play at a water park but a nice cold beer is refreshing while taking a break from the sun in the afternoon.
Navigating the Park
The size and layout of the park is perfect for groups and large families who want to have a home base and give their older children the freedom to ride the slides but still check in with them easily. If you plan to go with a couple of families, the private cabana rentals are a good option. Grandma and grandpa (and mom and dad) can relax in the shade while the (older) kids leave their stuff and go. The life guards were attentive and plentiful, which made it was easy to relax.
TIP: If it is already crowded when you get there, check out the Cowabunga Falls area which had empty deck chairs when all the other areas were full.
Services & Extras
The park provides a locker rental, changing areas and a store that sells essentials like rash guards, sunscreen and goggles. There is also a photo center where you can purchase photos taken by park staff throughout the day.
One thing I appreciated most about the park is that it was very clean and well maintained. We went to the restrooms in Cosimos Shipwreck Grill & Café in the middle of the day and there was no line at all–almost hard to believe. They were also very clean.
For extra fun there is a temporary tattoos stand with what I presume were tattoos that are water resistant. There is also a small indoor arcade for when the kids need a sun break and a candy store for when the blood sugar gets low. During the week we were there the park had a visiting wild animal show which provided a nice break after you’ve had too much sun.
Next summer the park will be expanding. Hopefully the expansion will not affect the well-run atmosphere in the park. We will definitely check it out.
As History Buff Mom, I am usually drawn to visiting places with historical or literary significance but this time my trip to SplashDown Beach water park was all about family fun in the summertime and we were not disappointed.