Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Surf's Up

My family is very tired today.  No one wanted to get up for school or work after our whirlwind of a weekend.

The weekend started with our nephew, Chase's, third birthday party.  Elmo toys and Thomas the train decorations were like a blast from the not-so-distant past.  They reminded me that my little boy isn't so little anymore.  Those characters that he loved so much at that age are just a blip on his radar now.  Sigh!  But...anyway...little Chase loved his party.  He's growing up too.  Sigh!

Saturday was filled with errands, friends over to play and a day of learning about Engineering with the Girl Scouts.  Catapult making, anyone?

Then came Sunday, the day my kids have been looking forward to all week.  Yes, we did go to church but that wasn't what they were looking forward to.

This was.

Our mini-vaca during their mini-vaca from school.

Wilderness at the Smokies - boasting an indoor water park and an indoor "dry" park.  We went for the water park but were more impressed with the dry park.

Here's how it all played out.

We arrived on Sunday and found out that there is more than one building to this resort and all the buildings are not within inside walking distance to the water park.  And guess what?  Yup.  The cheaper room that I reserved was far, far away.  Um, what?  I'm going to have walk a half mile to the water park in my bathing suit and sandals in the cold, windy February weather?  Luckily, no.  There was a handy dandy shuttle that took us back and forth.  One problem solved.

All smiles.
Then came problem #2.  After lugging all our stuff down the longest hallway ever to our room (seriously, we had to go by 50 rooms before we got to ours), we found out our room key cards didn't work.  So, I hiked back to the front desk and complained.  They discovered that our key cards had "accidentally" not been activated.  To make up for it, they gave us free passes to the dry park.  That was about a $100 perk just for my room key not working.  I'm back to being impressed by them.

After getting everything in the room and changing into our bathing suits, we hit the water park.

Along with a thousand other people.

It. Was. So. Crowded!  Oh, my.  Bodies and bathing suits everywhere with only one main path for everyone to walk through.  We searched high and low before we finally found a couple of chairs to put our stuff on.  We waited in long lines for the slides then got knocked over by violent waves in the wave pool.  We were not impressed.

Then we found the pool.
And the kids were happy.
We found empty chairs to relax in by the pool and the adults were happy.
Back to the room, relax, sleep, then do it all again.

Monday morning was so much different and so much better.  Why?  There were tons less people.  The lines were shorter.  The people were nicer (no offense to the teenage crowd, but while they were sleeping in on Monday, we enjoyed the water park so much more).  The kids even got to try indoor bodyboarding.  They wanted to the night before but the wait was insane.  We're talking an hour and a half, at least, in line until they would got a 45 second turn.  On Monday morning, however, they only waited about 15 minutes for a turn.  They did so well.  And loved it!

We played at the water park all morning, ate lunch, then changed into our dry clothes.  Then it was time to hit the dry park.  Included in our free vouchers were a ropes course, climbing wall, laser tag, a laser maze, black light miniature golf and a 10 frame bowling game.  There was also a 3 story playhouse area that was free to everyone.

Talk about activity overload.  We. Did. It. All.

Did I mention the ropes course went three stories up as well?

Notice the blue rope hanging down?
That's because he doesn't weigh enough to repel down on his own.
 The attendant had to use the rope to pull him down.
Bowling on their hands and knees.  They were worn out by this time.
And after playing in the water park Sunday evening and Monday morning, then doing all the fun but physically exhausting dry activities on Monday afternoon, we are just plain tired out.

We came home last night and collapsed.  Both kids have told me they want a nap after school!  I want a nap too.

Would we go there again?  Maybe, but it will be a few years.  It's hard not to compare that water park with the one we go to every summer, which is soooooo much better.  But everyone ended up having fun.  Which is all that matters.

What mini-vacations have you taken in the past?  Which ones were your favorite?

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