At Six Flags New England, Agawam, Mass., Jennifer McGrath, communications manager, said it’s important to have rides and other attractions for all ages and different levels of thrill seekers sprinkled throughout the park so families of all sizes and generations can stay together. Therefore, it’s not uncommon to see a splash pad right next a massive water slide. “As our park evolves, we look to maintain balance,” she said. “Along with adding higher and faster rides with bigger thrills, we always make sure that younger guests and those seeking less intense thrills have options as well.”
Six Flags New England offers a variety of smaller attractions. In addition to splash pads, there are pools with smaller waves, miniature slides and playscapes with a variety of obstacles. And it’s not just young tots enjoying these areas—all ages enjoy walking into a sprinkler to cool off and not having to wait in line to do so.
Sprinklers and splash pads also create great photo opportunities—kids smile from ear to ear as they get soaked, McGrath said. Sprinklers also create a sense of nostalgia from growing up—visitors recall fond memories of cooling off in a sprinkler on a hot summer’s day.
Mummy’s Oasis, a fully themed family interactive play zone, is the latest addition to Tannersvile, Pa.-based Camelbeach at Camelback Resort. “Designed for the youngest adventurers, this three-story fortress of fun offers hours of exploration,” said Ame Cameron, vice president of sales and marketing. “Mummy’s Oasis features pint-sized slides, a miniature tipping bucket for tiny explorers and more than 25 water features, including sprinklers, bubblers, geyser jets, water wheels, canons and interactive antiquities galore.”
Other attractions that cater to kids’ needs and interests include the Kahuna Cove spray ground, which features a zero-depth entry pool with water spouts, rocking horses, a slide and sprinklers; Pharaoh’s Phortress, a family play structure equipped with eight waterslides, a four-story-high tipping bucket and fountain spray guns; and the Blue Nile Adventure River, a 1,000-foot-long journey for the whole family that includes waterfalls, geysers and bubbling waters.
“At Mummy’s Oasis, parents can comfortably keep a watchful eye on their children as they soak in plenty of fun in the sun, lounging in built-in seating along the shallow beach entry,” Cameron said. “Similarly, Kahuna Cove is conveniently located adjacent to the Kahuna Lagoon wave pool, which is a great vantage point for those who may be looking for a home base for the entire family or needing a relaxing oasis from the park’s action and adventure.”
Philip Boykin, director of operations, Water Country USA, Williamsburg, Va., said the park has three designated children’s areas, two of which offer zero-depth entries with a maximum depth of two feet. All of the areas have maximum height requirements to ensure that larger kids play in the areas most suitable to their size. “Of course it’s acceptable for an older, taller sibling to accompany their little brother or sister in the area, but certain features of the attraction are off limits to those above the posted height restriction,” he said. “We want to be known first and foremost as a great place for families, and you can’t get that reputation without offering something for everyone.”
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions’ waterpark in Pocono Manor, Pa., has a variety of smaller attractions, said Don Pleau, general manager. Tiko’s Watering Hole, jam-packed with interactive activities, is the perfect place for littler ones to embark on their own adventures. Coral Cove is a zero-depth entry water play area featuring slides, bouncers, mini basketball and more. Guests can receive lessons to be a mermaid or shark for the day. Or, athletically inclined adventurers will love the challenge of shooting hoops in a water basketball pool. All ages can immerse themselves in an African safari as they explore a multi-level water tree fort. Called Splashdown Safari, it features elephants, monkeys, lions and more amid twisting slides, spray features and a giant tipping bucket.
Recently, Kalahari Resorts added Bugs Burrow—a mind-bending experience that offers kids the chance to imagine what it would be like if they were the size of a bug. “The Bugs Burrow community features a myriad of lovable cartoon insects and critters that welcome Kalahari’s smallest guests to splash, play and have fun,” Pleau said.
Sandra Gore, general manager, The Beach Waterpark, Mason, Ohio, said the park has a 1,200-foot-long lazy river—the perfect way for all ages to unwind. Big Creek Beach was created for kids—it has a 600-gallon dump bucket, water cannons and three slides. “These attractions are popular because they allow guests to relax while still having fun,” Gore said. The beach area has a tropical paradise atmosphere with 2,600 tons of white sands and live palm trees.
There’s alot of smaller attractions at Splash Zone Waterpark, Wildwood, N.J., as well, said Eleni Tsakiris, director of operations, such as a baby pool and tree house—an interactive play structure with pulling ropes, bridges, nets, fountains, small slides and water cannons. Also, 1,000 gallons of water come tumbling down from a giant bucket. “These attractions offer something for younger or less sporty guests,” Tsakiris said. “They provide fun for all ages, shapes and sizes.”