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“What an Experience-ugh”

Reef Indoor Water Park
Ranked #16 of 63 things to do in Billings
Attraction details
Helena, Montana
Level Contributor
46 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“What an Experience-ugh”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 15, 2012

Our party consisted of 2 adults, one of which was disabled, and 3 children and one baby. The only room available to us was a disability room with a king size bed and a sofa bed. The room was very small. As soon as we checked in the kids wanted to watch tv before going to the water park. The tv was very difficult to operate to get to the regular channels and not inadvertently buying a movie or the adult channel. The one good thing about the room was the bathroom; it was very large. In fact the kids delighted in running in and out of the bathroom, it was so big. I just wish the rest of the room had as much space. For being a disability room, the bed was so high, I could not get up on it and I'm of average height and the disabled person. I slept on the sofa bed which was sort of comfortable as far as sofa beds go.

After settling down into our room, we got ready to go to the water park. I was surprised to find out that even though we were guests of the hotel, we had to pay to go to the water park! On the way out of the door to the front desk, my oldest granddaughter shut her finger in the door. The front desk was no help in getting ice for her finger. They handed us a bag and gave us instructions for where the ice machine was. There were 3 young people behind the counter, I expected at least one of them to get out from behind the counter and help with a crying little girl to get ice.

After getting ice and getting my granddaughter's finger better, we paid for the water park and started on the long walk. Once inside the water park, what a shock, the noise was deafening. We looked all over for a place to sit and to put our things and was surprised to see a lack of chairs and such for the amount of people in the park. Finally, we found 2 chairs and a little table. At least I could sit down and put the baby's carrier on the table. My daughter took the 2 younger girls over to the counter to get life jackets and was gone more than 30 minutes. When she returned she told me, the water park didn't have enough jackets they had to wait in line for jackets to be returned and then doled out. You'd think a place like that would have a very large supply of jackets. With jackets on the girls were gone in an instant to the different areas of the park. After awhile both girls came back complaining they could go in the jacuzzi. A man asked how old they were and they told him they were 6 and they were told they were too young. We later found out 6 was the cut off age for the jacuzzi. They could have gone in. All in all the girls had a good time at the water park until it came time to eat. I'm not sure of the prices of the other food, but I had a chili hot dog and it was $6. Six dollars for a warm dog and cold chili with nacho cheese poured on it. On the way out of the water park I picked up a brochure that advertised the water park and it said it was 80 degrees every day. I can tell you it was not 80 degrees in the water park. I later asked the girls about the water and the 3 of them said it was cold. In fact, the one always had blue lips everything she came out of the water.

We were at the water park for 3 hours and what made us leave was the action of a particular guest. There was another little girl there who was going around pushing and shoving other kids. My granddaughter was shoved into a pool and suffered scrapes on the tops of both feet and one knee. Since they the scrapes were bleeding we decided to leave. Back in the hotel room the kids started comparing stories about the girl who had pushed the hurt one and it seemed each one had met with a similar fate with her. My daughter had to run over to Wal-Mart to buy band aids.

The next morning we got up and went to the free breakfast provided for hotel guests. I'm glad it was for free. Everything was cold; eggs, potatoes, sausage. The cheese provided as a topping wouldn't even melt. The only bright spot was when they ran out of Fruit Loops cereal, a worker quickly went and got more for my granddaughter. The kids enjoyed the breakfast very much. They got their fill of cereal and my one granddaughter was in 7th heaven over the bagels. She ate 3!

Finally we got checked out of the hotel. We had plans to return later in the afternoon to the waterpark after a day of shopping; but after shopping and thinking about the not so great time we had there, we elected to find a grassy area with trees and let the kids run around there for the time being until Dad was available and finished with his work and available to go out to dinner. The kids actually had more fun running around in the grass and the baby was able to be out of his carrier and it was for free. When we told the oldest child she could come back in June for her birthday, she said no thanks. So even a 9 going on 10 year old knew the water park was that great of a deal.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank navy055
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bighornresort, General Manager at Reef Indoor Water Park, responded to this review, May 16, 2012
Thank you for your candid comments. I am sorry that your stay was not as enjoyable as you had expected. Booking at the last minute does not give you a very big variety of rooms to choose from and our staff should have made it known to you that this room would not accomodate 6 people. I will address that issue with them right away. The temperature of the park is 82 degrees, the water is also the same temperature which can make a person feel cold because they are wet and the temperature is the same. I do not condone children that bully and when we are made aware we do try to help with the situation, and parenting is very important when dealing with other children. I am so sorry that your grandchild smashed her finger and I apologize that our staff was not attentive to her in this situation. I do hope she is doing better. Again, Thank you for your comments they will help our staff to understand.
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77 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Billings
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Once again...HORRIBLE SERVICE”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2012

Yet once again we paid a ridiculous amount of money to take our son to the indoor water park. Once again, he couldn't use all the slides, and for a first, we were thrown out of the hot tub as we sat in there WITH him and rudely told that next time make sure he was 48" before trying to get in again. He was checked out at the front desk and was 48" with his shoes on-yes without his shoes he was 47-1/2" and we were kicked out...No joke...
Good luck money better spent elsewhere! Try the Billings Hotel.

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank BillingsJove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bighornresort, General Manager at Reef Indoor Water Park, responded to this review, January 18, 2012
Thank you for you comments. Safety rules are in place so that you and your family have a safe experience when at the Reef. Our primary concern is the safety of your child. Heat stroke is very quick and little bodies even quicker. I am sure you know your child better than we do and what they can handle but if there is question of safety we will always side on safety first. Having your child measured with his shoes on will not change his height in the pool and again we want him to have fun safely. Please accept my apology for any rudeness you may have experienced and I hope you understand that the rules are not to make your experience bad, but just the opposite.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Regina, Canada
Level Contributor
81 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“We had fun...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 2, 2011

This water park had a little bit for all ages. 2 big water slides ... one you could either go down in single or double tubes. The other was enclosed all the way ... aka dark inside the slide. And it was cool that although enclosed, the slides went outside the building for a little bit. They had a hot tub, activity pool and a wave pool (that didn't really wave much) and a huge structure for younger kids. My nephew and I really enjoyed the larger waterslide with the tubes.

Although there was only 6 people in the water park, they did stay open for us. They had lifeguards manning each "station", actually, they had more life guards on shift than people in the park. Although one of the life guards said they had closer to 1000 people come in the previous Saturday (we were there on a Monday night and school had started in Montana). I didn't use one of the lockers so I don't know if they were broken or not (as previously indicated in some of the reviews).

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
Thank chickipoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bighornresort, General Manager at Reef Indoor Water Park, responded to this review, October 14, 2011
Thank you for your comments. We love to here when customers such as yourself have had a good time at our facility. Thank you and we hope to see you again.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helena, Montana
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“the worst waterpark ever”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2011

to much chlorine in pool burnt my face a kid puked in the pool mean and horrible life guards very stricked waves arent high at all expensive not worth it and all the lockers are broken watching paint dry is more fun the worst water park epirence ever!

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
4 Thank angelica l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bighornresort, General Manager at Reef Indoor Water Park, responded to this review, October 14, 2011
Thank you for you comments. I apologize for your experience while at the Reef. Your concerns are being addressed. I hope you will consider us in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Puyallup, Washington
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Not bad for a small town”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2011

I'm used to going to Wild Waves in Federal Way, WA and this is a miniature version of it minus the rides. I'm currently staying at the Big Horn Hotel attached to the Reef Water Park and yes the people staying here are rude and noisy but I experience that every time I'm in Montana to see family, just a different style of life from suburbia and Seattle. However, the staff has been very nice, most of the life guards are comatose (like most pools) and the place is very clean (no poop in the water!) There is a bar that we walk by on the way to the water park but it's been closed every time we've walked by, even during what's supposed to be their business hours. We've been going during the week days and it's been relatively quiet with other families with young children, it's been great so far for my 5, 7 and 13 year old. I would say older kids/teenagers may not be thrilled by the place, especially if they're used to having better. In the way of cost, I thought the Reef was part of the hotel, as in not an extra cost, I was wrong. They give hotel guest a discount at $10 ea. per day which I still think is a little high for the size of the water park and being guest at the hotel. I'm giving it a middle of the road rating because it's great for small town folk but not that exiting for city slickers.

Visited July 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank April_WA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bighornresort, General Manager at Reef Indoor Water Park, responded to this review, October 14, 2011
Thank you for you comments, I agree we are not as large as a big city and do not have the customer base to support a larger facility, we do however want all of our customers to have fun while staying with us. We hope to see you again in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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