Olivia and I visited Local Theme Park yesterday after the kids left and went straight to the waterpark, where Olivia insisted that we "go to the waves". She was referring, of course, to one of their two fabulous wave pools. She hated them last year, and now she can't get enough...just runs into the waves until they knock her down. She keeps me on my toes because she doesn't really know her limitations and that the force of those waves is much stronger than she is. Anyway, she had a blast (while I had a few terror-inducing scares...she is FAST...even in water). And it occurred to me that I LOVE this place. It rocks. Let me tell you why.
1. They have lots of free stuff. Free parking, for one. Although, why you would charge someone to enter a parking lot in order to pay you money to visit your fine establishment is beyond me. This one seems like a no-brainer to me.
2. Free soft drinks. All day. Every day. They have these self-serve drink stations all over the park...at the restaurants but also at various spots in between. Soft drinks, coffee and tea are all free wherever you can find them. Some people have said this is crazy...after all, soft drinks provide, perhaps, the largest profit margin in a place like this. But this place has more concern for their guests than for the profit they can make on soft drinks. And I think it has paid great dividends by freeing people up to spend their money on other things, like games and food and gifts.
If you think about it, this idea is genius. Especially in an industry that does all it's business in the hot months of the year. I'm willing to bet that their first-aid station treats a lot fewer people for heat exhaustion and dehydration as a result.
Although, I will tell you that this has spoiled me. I now expect this everywhere. We went to the zoo a couple of months ago and I was appalled that they would charge $2.75 for a drink! Yeah, I'm absolutely spoiled.
Free drinks. ROCK!
3. Free sunscreen. Yep, that's right. They have at least two stations in the main park and two in the waterpark where you can "screen up". It's something like SPF 30 or above...I don't remember. But this...is AWESOME. I can't tell you how many people used to forget their sunscreen and refuse to buy it and then would let their small children walk around with naked skin...which would be beet-red naked skin by the end of the day. I know...I worked at this same park for five summers in high school and college. I would cringe every time I saw these crispy red children walk by, knowing how they would suffer for DAYS because of it. Child abuse, I tell you. Anyway, Local Theme Park came up with a solution for that. They rock.
4. Free life jackets. I think you have to rent them in most parks. I can't say for sure...we don't visit a lot of other parks (why would we?). But this water park has these big bins where you can just pick one up and use it for the day. Very nice for parents of little daredevils like mine.
5. Your admission gets you access to two fabulous parks. Three top-ranked wooden roller coasters, including the #1 ranked wooden coaster. Lots of other fantastic rides. Their waterpark is stellar and (I think...don't quote me on this) one of the largest in the country. And they have TONS of kid rides and even a section for kids with a spray park and huge play structures and a kiddie roller coaster and a food stand that sells hot dogs and french fries. What more could a kid want?
6. Non-smoking (with designated "smoking areas"). They are SERIOUS about this family-friendly stuff.
I know you (my four readers...are you all still there?) want to come to this awesome place. If you do, let me know. We have season passes and would love to join you for a day (or more) of summer fun!