We just went on July 30, 2013 for a birthday treat for our 4-year old. Well, it's true--they get you on pricing right at the front gate. They charge by height, so those under 42" are $16.95 and those over 42" are $21.95. I don't think anyone gets in free, but check by calling them. Locker rentals are hit-or-miss and we got the last one, which was $13 but $5 was a refundable deposit.
Bags are allowed but know that they WILL search it and they WILL confiscate anything not allowed and it WILL sit there all day until you leave. However, beach towels, clothes, shoes, sunscreen, cameras, phones, keys, etc. are ok. (We did not have any "contraband".)
We only did the lazy river once. It is was waist-deep with a slight current. We did not use a raft, we just bobbed along. It was fun to watch all of the big splashes on the big waterslides from the lazy river.
The wave pool was crowded and the waves did not crank up until very late in the day. But, it looked clean and refreshing.
So where were we from noon to 7pm closing? At the kiddie kingdom located smack dab in the middle of the park and we LOVED IT! Our little one did 9 out of the 11 slides by himself. There are gently sloped slides in a giant pool of almost knee-deep water. There are water spouts and sprays like a giant mushroom and other fun sprinkler activities. However, I sat in the pool (it was 100°+) between the stairs to the slides and the bottom of the slides and could watch our child with a clear view and be able to help him if he needed it. (Not a swimmer, yet.) To my germaphobic surprise, this water was crystal clear, had no grit or stuff on the pool floor, nothing floated by like band-aids, hair, barrettes, or other gross stuff. Surely, there was "something" tinkled in there with that many kids but the chlorine level seemed above par. I was delighted that I didn't get grossed out all day! (Filtration and chlorine, folks--it made the admission worth it to not be grossed out!) There were also lifeguards on duty on each side of the circular pool. We witnessed a few "lost kid" moments and I was impressed with the lifeguards' prompt attention and reaction to help locate familiy members, which they did--quickly.
Food: pack a big cooler and head for a shady picnic table and save some money! We had a small cooler and ate in the truck as the tables were occupied, but shortly afterward, our little one was hungry again. So, $4 for a decent sized slice of pizza (that was good) and $2.25 for an Icee. I saw fountain drinks, minimelts ice cream, etc., but we skipped it all.
Mom notes: The closest bathroom to the kiddie section is quite a hike. There is only one access to the kiddie pool location -- across the bridge (that did not appear "splintery" but we had on flipflops.) WEAR SHOES OR FLIP FLOPS! THE CONCRETE IS HOT.
There were only 2 stalls in the ladies' room which made it difficult for our squirmy little one doing his best to wait for an opening. Bathroom was pretty gross as no one maintained it and people have no consideration for others. Also, the bathroom by our locker in the back of the park did not have a simple change-into-your-clothes area so I opted for changing all of us in the truck. Next time, I will skip renting a locker and just bring a small bag with beach towels, sunscreen and a single truck key inside the park, and stash money in my bathing suit "vault". No one will mess with your towels, shoes or your (provided by the park) beach chairs. I think a beach bag without any valuables in it would be left alone at the pool deck.
We had a great day. No nap and all that swimming, splashing, sliding and fun left our little guy worn out and sound asleep in his carseat before we got on the highway.
Driving directions: If you can find First Monday, the water park is just up I-20 from the First Monday
main road. Follow the feeder road to a stop sign, cross over the interstate and get on the feeder road at the Trinity Mother Frances hospital clinic building. You'll be able to see it from I-20. I called and listened to their pre-recorded directions which were helpful.
Next time, I will bring a waterproof disposable camera. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of our super-fun day. They do sell waterproof disposable cameras, but I learned that you can get one cheaper on your own and bring it along.
Put the phone down. Have fun with your kids. Don't just sit and watch--play and have fun, too.
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