The boys and I went to Alabama Adventure yesterday with my brother, Darrell, and our mom. It was the first time for all of us except Darrell, who has a season pass and goes up there every chance he gets. We had so much fun! And as with any good experience, I learned a few things that I thought I would pass on to my readers – if I have any.
Don’t wait until the night before to buy a bathing suit – especially if it is after the 4th of July. I went to a couple of different stores and found a few things (nothing I was wanting), but in both stores, the swimsuit section looked like it had been mobbed by a bunch of crazy women – swimsuit pieces were flung everywhere, with no rhyme or reason as to size, style, or brand. I did manage to find a Land’s End swim-mini (Sears carries Land End swim pieces!!) that would go over my old swim tank, which worked for me since I was mainly looking for something to cover my upper thighs. I didn’t think people would enjoy my post-partum flab and stretch marks. However, if you happen to be a lady who wears a plus-size swim-suit, you’re in luck. There are lots of swimsuits left in your sizes, and most of them are marked way down after the 4th!
Go ahead and buy your kids some Crocs – or some knock-off brand. I have resisted buying any for my boys because 1) I hate going with “trendy” things. I don’t judge others for doing it, but something in me just chafes at the thought of getting something just because everyone else is; and 2) I have heard reports (aka horror stories) of bizarre and painful injuries as the result of wearing Croc-style shoes. I will spare you the details.
But anyway, I knew the boys would need something water-friendly they could wear and that would be easy to get on and off, and those shoes fit that description. What took me by surprise, though, was how excited they were to get their very own Crocs! (They knew what kind of shoes they were as soon as they saw them.) How scary to find out how much their peers already influence their opinions of things!
Break your own Croc-like shoes in before you wear them to AL Adventure. Along with the swim suit, I bought my own water-friendly shoes the night before. I found some feminine-looking shoes made by Sketchers. They were very light and comfortable, and they strapped onto my foot so there was no danger of slipping out of them and thereby causing danger to myself. However, since they were not broken in, they rubbed on my heels all day, and I now have a lovely blister on the back of one of my feet.
Go on a Tuesday. There was hardly anyone at the park! It was awesome! The Splash Beach side was a little crowded, but we still didn’t wait for more than 3 minutes for any of the slides. The Magic City USA side was all but deserted! We just walked right up to any ride we wanted, and the operators for the kiddie rides let them go twice in a row on several of them.
If your kids, like mine, don’t have a lot of opportunities to be around water, give them time to acclimate themselves to all the splashing. I think my boys were a bit overwhelmed just be the sheer volume of water around us. It didn’t help that the first thing Darrell took us to was the giant bucket that dumps a ton of water out on everyone every couple of minutes. They were a little intimidated by it, I think. However, they soon warmed up to everything and wanted to do a little bit of everything. David was the first one to get the nerve to go down the water slide with me, but once Harris saw how much fun it was, he decided to try it. Whoo-hoo!! We are seriously considering getting a season pass to Splash Beach for next year!
Be prepared to stay the whole time. We went right after lunch time, and I fully expected that we would be worn out and ready to leave by dinner time @ 5pm. We had so much fun, though, that before I knew it the water park was closing – and their closing time is at 7pm! Even then, when we told the boys we had to leave, David begged us to stay a little longer. And all the way home, he kept saying, “I wanted to stay there. I didn’t want to leave already.”
Keep your kids safe at all costs – which I did, and have the injuries to prove it. On the kiddie slide at Castaway Island, the small kids can ride in your lap. At the bottom of the slide, the water is a little deep, and it splashes up over your head as you slide into it. I observed some adults would lift their child up as they hit that part in order to keep their head above the water, so I gave it a try with David. I think I lifted him too soon or something, because when I lifted him, I lost my balance (which is hard to do when you’re already sitting) and slid sideways. I caught myself on my elbow. Today it’s a lovely shade of purple and bending it makes my whole arm hurt – but David’s head did not go under the water. Success! I sustained a couple of other injuries, but I won’t bore you with them. Today I feel like I got beat up by somebody, though.
Unless you have a water-proof camera, either leave it at home, or keep it in the locker. I brought my digital camera with me, thinking I would take some great pics for this post. We quickly discovered that it was too much of a hassle to keep up with and put it up in the locker. That’s why I don’t have any pictures with this post. Sorry.
If at all possible, keep the day after your trip as clear as possible. The kids will need a do-nothing day to just rest, as will you. And if you’re as clumsy as I am, you’ll need that day to take it slow and recover from all the bumps and bruises.
If you’re a red-head, just prepare to burn. There’s just no way around it. Of course, take all the usual precautions: lather on sunblock repeatedly (SPF 100 if you can find it), wear your hat, and a shirt when you’re not actually in the water. Yet, for all your precautions, you will come back burned somewhere; either from a spot that didn’t quite get covered with sun-block enough, or just because you’re a red-head and that’s what red-heads do when they’ve been in the sun all day.
Bottom line is – we had fun. Lots of fun. I can’t wait to go back.