Let me begin by mentioning that I have previously reviewed the HOTEL, based on a stay there, and I gave it a "poor" rating, which it certainly deserves. THIS review is for the waterpark only, based on a visit I made there last week with my children and a friend of theirs.
I've read numerous reviews of the waterpark, and I think most of the negativity surrounding the reviews falls into five categories: 1). cleanliness; 2). crowds; 3). unruly, rude patrons; 4). size of park/number of attractions; 5). Attentiveness of life guard staff. I'll address each of these things separately.
CLEANLINESS: I thought the park, and the water, was acceptably clean. Was the water as crystal-clear as my swimming pool's water? No, but I also don't have a thousand people a day swimming in my pool. I've been to other water parks (indoors and outdoors) and CoCoKey's water was about average in cleanliness, and the areas around the pool were equally acceptable.
CROWDS: We visited for about 75 minutes on a Friday afternoon (from 4-5:15 PM) when the temperature in CT was in the 90's, and the crowd-size was rising by the minute. When we arrived, it was fairly calm inside; by the time we were leaving, it was quite chaotic inside and the line of people still coming in was out to the parking lot. Knowing what the chaos around the pool was like when we were leaving, I really can't imagine what it would be like with another hundred or so people running around.
UNRULY, RUDE PATRONS: Personally, I didn't have any issues with the crowd of people at the park. (Of course, you have to realize that the typical park-goer is a 10-yr old kid, who is going to run around like a 10-yr old kid. If you think you're visiting a place with genteel, retired people sipping frozen margaritas and lounging in chairs around the pool, you will be sorely disappointed and overwhelmed.) Another reviewer writes about someone stealing their food, and wouldn't you know, that exact thing happened to someone situated near me during my visit. As I was walking from my table towards the pool, there was a group of four children (ages 14-7) eating french fries off a tray of food on a table, and as I walked past I suddenly heard a woman yell "What are you doing??? You're eating MY food!!" as she marched towards them from the pool. I didn't stick around to hear whether any of the kids offered any type of explanation ("Gee, I thought those fries were ours", or "But we haven't eaten in a week", for example), so maybe there was some type of reasonable explanation for this mistake. Or, maybe the kids who visit the park are generally rude, obnoxious food-pilchers. I can't say for certain, but given that I've never heard of this happening ANYWHERE other than in a previous reviewer's visit to CoCoKey, and the same darn thing happened during my 75-minute stay, I guess I'd have to recommend you eat your entire food order before you go for a swim.
SIZE OF PARK: Without question, your satisfaction with this aspect of the park is going to be based on 1). your expectations, and 2). the age of your children. If you are staying at the hotel and view CoCoKey as an overblown "hotel swimming pool", you will be delighted with the diversity of slides and ways to play in the water. On the other hand, if you think you are visiting a true "water park", you will be sorely disappointed. Even by "indoor" waterpark standards, which are obviously much, much smaller than outdoor parks, this is a SMALL waterpark. And, the age of your children plays a critical role in determining the suitability of this waterpark. If your children are younger than about 7 or 8, I think they will find the variety of attractions suitable to keep their interest for several hours. On the other hand, if your children are older than about 10-11, they will likely get bored within an hour. My visit was with a 13, 12, and 10 yr old, and we left after 75 minutes because they had "done everything" and were ready to leave. There aren't a lot of water parks where the kids ask the parent if they can leave after an hour.
LIFEGUARDS: This is a mixed bag........there were certainly an adequate number of lifeguards (mostly young), who would presumably notice if your child was drowning. However, they mostly walked back and forth, eyeing the pool and its occupants from the edge, but never saying anything about what the crowd of kids was doing in the pool. I can't say that I witnessed ANYTHING that SHOULD have been addressed by the lifeguards, so perhaps they did their job perfectly. However, given the size of the crowd and my own previous experiences with indoor waterparks, I would have expected to hear the occasional "tweet" of a whistle, correcting someone's behavior. That never happened during my stay, which might just be coincidental, or maybe it is a sign that the lifeguards are there to save drowning children and not necessarily to referee horse-play in the pool.
So, you ask, is a visit to CoCoKey worth the investment? First, I would NEVER stay at the hotel (you can read my previous review of the hotel for more about that opinion.) However, if you are talking about a visit to JUST the waterpark, I think it's worth visiting IF your children are younger and your expectations are low. Also, it helps if you can wrangle a deal or a coupon which cuts your cost. On my visit, I was able to buy a voucher through another website which allowed the four of us to visit for a total of $19. So, for less than $5 bucks a person, it made it easy to visit for 75 minutes and leave. Would I pay "full-price", which I think is about $30/person, for the same visit? No way.
- Also Known As:
- Coco Key Water Resort Hotel And Convention Center - Waterbury
- Holiday Inn Waterbury
- Waterbury Holiday Inn
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience Connecticut's ultimate indoor water resort! No matter what the weather is like outside, it's always a bright and sunny 84 degrees at CoCo Key! With over 50,000 sq. ft. of indoor Key West-style adventure, CoCo Key Water Resort has all the fun and excitement your family can handle. ... more less
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