Top 6 Tips for the best family day at the Waterpark! – Jody and Lara
Aquarama waterpark Spain

Top 6 Tips for the best family day at the Waterpark!

Waterparks are great and even better if you’re prepared! –Here are my top 6 tips for the most successful day at any waterpark for the family.

Would I say I am a connoisseur of waterparks?  Mmmm perhaps not, but I have visited more of them than the average parent of over-active children. Indeed I have enjoyed 7 of these water theme parks in just the last 18months, and for the most part they have been marvellous, but one has been more disappointing than most, and inspired me to write a little of the experience and to give some tips and thoughts on how to be best prepared for your day so you can make it a more pleasurable experience for the whole family. So without any more preamble, here are my top Six tips for the best water park experience for your family on holiday. 

This summer waterparks are more popular than ever, and at the height of summer are becoming more crowded. This means that unfortunately not everyone will get a sunbed when they enter the park no matter how much you have paid for the privilege of being there. This sunbed to customer ratio is not going to change soon so here is tip no 1……. Arrive at the water park early up to 30mins before the start. This gives you time to locate the car park and park the car if you’re driving and if you are coming by bus, taxi or walking it gives you time to locate the entrance (sometimes there is a fair distance to your drop off point and the entrance to the water park. It’s better to queue in the morning to be assured of a good location and a sunbed, you’re going to be there all day!

Lets highlight one of the main considerations of a water theme park….. the price. Today the exchange rate is not in the UK’s favour, if you’re travelling abroad, the Pound is weak against the Euro and the dollar. So when it says 30 Euros for a ticket, that is £27ish and if you’re a family of 4 then you are looking at £108 for the day. Before you head out on your holiday destination look at some the deals the waterpark might be running prior to the dates you’re on holiday often there is an online price or an advance price which can save a family of 4 up to £25 or more, depending on the offers. I have had a half price deal on one ticket and a free second day if I have my entrance ticket stamped at the kiosk on the way out. There are often deals if you plan on coming back to the water park for a number of days. Look at your options and try and avoid paying on the day prices. Tip 2…..Always check the water park prices on the waterparks own website before heading on your holiday destination, almost always cheaper to purchase tickets prior and on line.

Preparing your bags for a full day at the waterpark can be an organisational challenge, but don’t be discouraged there are a few essentials to pack and the rest is about what make the day special for you! It seems obvious but don’t forget your swimming costume and the kids cozzie’s, you may laugh, but it can easily happen an assumption or two and so much on your mind, can mean you arrive and it’s not in the bag! Make a short checklist before you go, this is my check list

  • Cover up swimming costumes, including rash vests
  • Sun cream water resistant factor 50+ AVA +B UV filters, lots of them!
  • Sun hats and Sun glasses with UV blockers.
  • Towels - one to lie on and one to get wet!
  • Googles for the children, the water can have a lot of chemicals in.
  • A small bag to put the wet cozzie in when we return.
  • A book/magazine/e-book or audio book for me.
  • Flip flops – ones that don’t slip when your feet get wet. ( And super comfy if you’re going to be walking a lot in them)
  • Bottles of water (some water parks don’t allow you to bring food in, but will always allow you to bring in water) . Steer clear of dehydration it gives you headaches and its not great for your kidneys! Drink plenty of water!
  • Moisturiser – At the end of the day being in and out of water I like to moisturise my face to help it recover.
  • Hand Sanitizer – I like to use it on hands before we eat. (I can’t help thinking there is wee in the water)

Previously when my children were still in nappies I would take the push-chair laden with all the nappy changing stuff, waterproof nappies, baby food, and all the paraphernalia you can see from my list. Always a winner when I brought the buggy. Now of course we take bags, I give each child a bag with their stuff and my husband and I take the bulk in a bag each. Make sure your bag is comfortable to carry, sometimes the walk to and from the water park can be gruelling in the heat so you want to as comfortable as you can. I do take a camera with me, but I don’t recommend it as valuables are prone to be lifted. There are usually lockers at the front of the water park, but you need to be there early to grab one.  Tip 3…Make a list so you don’t forget anything.

Your bag will be checked at the waterpark, its not really for weapons or anything dangerous although they may tell you that. It’s to check you are not bringing in any food. You can bring water. Drink plenty of water! The parks make a huge amount of money from the food sales which doesn’t work if everyone brings packed lunches. So be warned if you are going to bring a few snacks make sure you wrap them carefully in a towel and put them at the bottom of your bag. And be prepared to loose them if they are found.

Ok you’re at the waterpark and you’ve arrived early and time to choose your sunbeds. There is always a preference to location, for some people who love the sun and want to be out in the open, there is usually plenty of this type at the park. I tend to find a palm tree or a bush near by as well as the umbrella, this is because the sun comes from all angles during a full day, and its better to get as much shade as you can, to stay protected and cooler, remember the sun will move from an easterly to a westerly position so what might be shaded in the morning will be sunny in the afternoon. Also look at the rides near by is your sun lounger along a traffic corridor to a ride, a café or the toilets. It’s good to be near them, but choose wisely or you will be on the edge of the walking motorway at the park. This next tip is not one of my major top 6 tips, it as a smaller perhaps a bizarre one, but one I use in Cyprus all the time. Bring Ant-repellent spray, those terrors are great at locating food and sun cream, spray the legs of your sun lounger and you will not get any of those little soldiers crawling up onto your sunbed!

Many waterparks offer a VIP section, these are often snapped up online before you get to the park, so if this is your thing get online early and book one. I have to say they are brilliant and if you’re going to spend over £100 at the park anyway paying another £50 to have all the trimmings can make all the difference to having a really special day but check out the deals before parting with your cash. Some parks do it really well. You get a fridge to keep your drinks cold, great comfy loungers, complimentary drinks and nibbles, vouchers for Ice creams and plenty of space for the family without lots of people around, so can feel safer. Some though are pricey and are not actually VIP more like economy plus, and the difference doesn’t really stack up for the value.

Tip No 4 ….Go to lunch at 12.00.

I know for some of you that might be too early, however if you leave it to 12.15 you will find the queues will be extensive, so you go a little early, at least you are not spending precious time queuing for food and or not finding somewhere to sit and eat it. Some of you may decide to eat back at your sun-lounger. I recommend eating at the café tables, if you drop some food at the lounger those pesky ants will have a field day. Also there are plenty of bins at the café area to dispose of your rubbish and the loos are not too far away so you can wash up before and after if required.

Food, if you are anything like me it’s a super important consideration for any away day. I love my food! If I can, I always take a packed lunch with me, it saves money and I know my kids will get the healthy option.  But if that’s not an option then the restaurants and café at the Waterpark can often provide some great variety. I’m not a big fan of fast food, its Ok in moderation, however there is often healthier options now and you can try blending a mixture of healthy with something else to keep kids happy. At Waterworld in Cyprus they make an amazing homemade lasagne and have great salad options. In Aquarama in Spain, spaghetti bolognaise is substantial and lots of salad options to go with. I often bring a few healthy snacks like cherry tomatoes, grapes to nibble on (stashed at the bottom of my bag) between meals for the kids, it is certainly a key consideration when you go away for the day particularly if you have fussy eaters.

Tip No 5….Flip Flops are essential.

Flip Flops are so important, you do not want to be walking on hot concrete or areas where there might be sharp gravel, indeed setting foot inside a toilet area in bare feet is a big “no no” for me. Don’t get flip flops that mean when your feet get wet your foot slips around in the flip flop, causing you to wobble and perhaps fall. They must be super comfortable. When your feet get wet the skin softens which means your feet can be more prone to rubbing particularly around the post area of a thong/flipflop, so make sure they are comfy.  Don’t get flip flops which look like everyone else’s, as soon as you leave them to get on a water ride, you will need to easily find them again amongst the sea of many flipflops when you come back. If you are with children make sure you keep them all together, so you are not spending lots of time trying to locate flip flops when you get off the ride. Sadly people still might “nick” your flipflops if they look great, so don’t bring your absolute favourites! Comfy flip flops are great, however if you are travelling by car, bike or walking afterwards make sure you have spare appropriate footwear.

Another thing to watch for is accessories like hats or sun-glasses as you are moving form ride to ride. The attendants on the rides will not allow you to go down a ride with any kind of footwear, hat, sun-glasses, a phone, head camera’s or anything other than your swimming costume. I tend to walk around with a baseball hat which I can roll up and stuff down the front of my one piece swimming costume.

Tip No 6 …..Suncare is key

Even if you tan easily sun care is key. We all know there is no such thing as a safe tan. Tan is just your skins way of trying to protect itself from the UV radiation. When you skin tans, goes brown or “red to brown” or freckles, it means your skin is defending itself against the UV radiation. It does not mean that you are protected from the radiation by having a tan, it simple means your body is reacting to it. Interestingly within our culture the amount of UV radiation, the tan, you receive is still seen as an indication or a measurement of a great holiday or a sign of health. Sadly a tan simply means your skin has been damaged. This can lead to problems later with your skin which I don’t think is appropriate to discuss now. But any celebrity will tell you protecting your skin from the sun is best beauty care in the world, it beats anything in the beauty cream markets. So if a tan is what you prefer why not go for a fake one. They can look great, without the skin damage!

To protect your skin always apply a high factor, I go for SPF 50+ but they say anything over SPF30+ is good. Apply liberally over the skin every 2 hours! Yes it really is that often, also if you apply it as a thin smear, it also doesn’t give you the protection it was designed to give you. The other point I would add is wear a brimmed hat, a baseball hat is good, go for one that you don’t mind rolling up and stuffing down your rash vest of shorts when you actually go down a ride. Again in many water parks they will ask you to remove all head gear. So Sunglasses are a complete “no no” and it’s not worth losing them or getting them damaged just so you can walk and queue up for the ride looking cool in your shades. 

As I write this down I realise I’ve gone on for far longer than anyone would want to read. So I’ll simply close by saying be prepared, be sun safe and have loads of fun at the waterparks this year with your friends and family, I always love them!