How to Water Park

We have been living about half a mile from a water slide park for the better part of a decade. I have two kids who can swim and like doing things and yet I've never taken them. That seemed kinda wierd to me.

My little guy mentioned awhile back that he really wanted to go. That may or may not have been two years ago. I told him that when he could dive to the bottom of grandma's pool then I would take him. That also I'm pretty sure was two years ago.

This year he decided to take the plunge.

Like literally.

And I'm a man of my word.

Like colloquially.

So we picked a nice quiet Monday (yesterday) grabbed one of his friends and off we went.

I cannot remember the last time I went to a waterslide park.

We went every year for my birthday.

Summer birthday's are the best.

But I think that last time we did that, Kurt Cobain was still alive.

So it's been twenty years.

Like mathematically.

And we had a great time, cause we planned ahead, and used some common sense. So today's How to Tuesday is all about the WaterSlide Park, some do's, some don't's, and some strategies to make it a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.

First, planning ahead. The nice thing about the WaterSlide Park as opposed to other theme parks is that it does not require any 401K adustments. It's not cheap, but it is reasonable.

Things you will need to bring:

Towel. You're gonna get wet. Please just asume that's part of the fun. If you are the kind of person who goes to a water park and expects not to get wet, then you're stupid and deserve just about everything that ever happens to you ever.

Sun Screen: SPF 50 and look for the stuff that says both UVA and UVB. I don't know why, but that's what it says in the dermatology section at I lathered myself and the boy up before we left, and felt pretty good about it, but, as it turns out, a post lunch second coating would have relieved me of this slight burn I'm suffering through this morning. It's not bad, just itchy and sore. Oh, and it's lethal. Sun burns can be lethal. Forget the lotion and you might as well take up drunk driving as your new hobby and stop brushing your teeth.

Flip flops, cheap breakable sunglasses, and an extra $6.00 incase you forget your sunscreen, are also good things to have on hand.

Dress Code:
For Boys: Swimming trunks, tshirts.
For Girls: You're on your own. But please consider that someone's grandparents can see you.

Things you're gonna have to buy:
Entry fee, locker, and food. (We lucked out cause our park shares the lot with an In And Out Burger) A locker is a must, because you're gonna need a safe place to put your stuff (Wallet, Cell Phone, Towels, flipflops, Sunscreen)

Sucker Purchases:
Inner Tubes: They have them for free already and in fact, the best way to tell which line is the shortest is by seeing how many of the free tubes are waiting. More Tubes=Less Line. No Tubes=Big Line. Plus, there are many slides that don't require a tube, and since the tube won't fit in your locker, someone is going to have to make the waiting sacrifice. Or you're going to have to get a personal cabana.

Yeah. You heard right.

A Cabana. The water park rents out three different sizes of shaded cabanas for weary parents and rental tube storage. Now I can totally see the appeal. Quiet place to rest, relax, get out of the blistering sun, maybe read a book or listen to a pocast of Fresh Air. Maybe it's a birthday party and you want a nice place for the women to gossip and share recipes so that the dads can go run around and gawk at all the girls who didn't take my clothing advice. Maybe you've got the baby and he's cranky. Whatever.

But, I guess, I guess I'm either just super cheap or super pragmatic. I've already paid the entry fee, why in god's name would I pay to have a little place away from the place that I just paid to get into?

And on top of that, if you would like to sit in the shade and read, why not send everyone else to the water park and enjoy a quiet house for six hours?

I understand that we parents do not have the luxury of boundless energy, six hours running, climbing, jumping, gawking, is a lot to do. But the water park understands you need a break, and it has invented one of the greatest inventions ever.

The Endless River.

Grab one of the free tubes and you can float for hours around the park. It's refreshing, quiet, peaceful, and there is never a line. There are waterfalls throughout, just incase you need to dowse yourself, and yes, sometimes the older kids splash past you, but again, if you go to a water park not wanting to get wet, well . . . 

Once you're in, before you do anything else, pick a safety spot where everyone can go when you are seperated. Pick a place that can be seen from just about anywhere in the park. A spot right by the entrance to the Endless River is ideal because instead of waiting in the sun, I just go round and around until the boys return from whatever back breaking super shotgun slide was on their "Must" list.

I trust that you already know to use the Buddy System.

Just about every surface of your skin and most of your orifices are gonna be bleached and enema'ed. The only thing I do suggest is that you go to your locker and grab your flip flops for visits to the bathroom. You may feel confident that those are puddles of water you're standing in, but it gives me the heebeejeebees to think what they might be.

Rated PG13 for Brief Nudity:
There are a lot of different body types in the world. And at the water park, you're gonna see most of them. In great detail.

Like visually.

But we don't live in the Victorian Era, mercifully, and we don't live in a partiarchal nor specifically god fearing society either. There are a few inconsistancies (ie Boy Nipples=Okay, Girl Nipples=Not Okay, Girl Bikini Bottoms=Normal, Male Speedos=Outlawed).

But it's a water park. Everyone, including my chubby pasty self, is going to err on the side of too little clothing. There are going to be bodies that you certainly don't want to see, and bodies that you certainly don't want your wife to see you seeing. I honestly was more impressed by the places that people put tattoos and the various places that hair seems to grow on foreign men than I was by the scantily clads.

I actually felt kinda sorry that there really wasn't anything of perverse interest for the girls to look at. Teenage boys are pasty, awkward, and dopey and for the most part either all knees and elbows, or in a weight class all their own. And the rest of the men were all like me (splump shouldered, puckering manboobs, past their prime, dancing on the edge of a midlife crisis) or much older and much less groomed. I didn't see more than maybe three guys out of three thousand that would have made the call-back for a WB television show.

I guess all the chiseled man/boys are stuck at the gym, or out doing some kind of good deeds, or lining up as extras for the next Avengers movie.

However, if you think I'm describing come kind of Peeping Tom Paradise, then please do yourself, your mother, and the rest of humanity a favor and seek some help. If your fantasy machine is that limited there are groups and drugs and internet sites for that. And when you see someone with that wolfish, lip-licking look on their faces, it's socially acceptable to spit into their open mouths.

Final Tips on How to Water Park:
Check out how long the lines are and how fast they are moving. I stood in a puddle for twenty minutes until I realized the slide I was waiting for had been shut down. Also, find the shorter, less maniacal rides: They are fun and the wait is always nill. You can slide those like fifty times for every supertwisty shotgun blaster.

Don't run. Don't gawk. Check your body and your children's body for signs of redness and dehydration, and if your son is all skin and skeleton, hypothermia.

Read the signs: If it says it's bad for your back, it will be

Pay attention to the life guards: They may be teeagers, but they are there to keep you alive.

And lastly, and again, if you're over 35,

The Endless River.

It's awesome.

Like totally.

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