***KC Parent Magazine provided my family with complimentary admission tickets to Oceans of Fun in exchange for this post.***
In bloggerville, we’re offered products all the time. Try our yogurt! Can we send you free socks for your kids if you write about them?! Here’s some free coffee! Because mommies love coffee! And while we love free stuff, (especially coffee), what’s even more exciting is getting to have an experience and make memories with our little buggers. That’s exactly what I was able to do with my kids last Wednesday, on a 92-degree day, here in Kansas City. We got to visit Oceans of Fun for the first time. And it did not disappoint.
If you have 3 kids close in age, and/or if you have kids of both genders, you know that finding a source of entertainment for all of them can be a challenge. Impossible, really. We have 2 boys and a girl. Our boys are 8 and 4; our daughter is 6. Each is a daredevil in his/her own way; each has fears that the others don’t have. We knew, based on recent vacations, that their varied heights would affect our experience. There would be water slides only our 8-year-old could ride, slides both “big kids” could ride, and slides they all could enjoy. At 49″, 46″, and 42″, we were right. To avoid as many in-park meltdowns as possible, each child was briefed ahead of time on what he/she would/would not be able to try. (Parenting 101: eliminate surprises if at all possible.)
We also scoured the map before visiting for bathrooms and snack locations, as my kids prefer food every 8.6 seconds. So now that we had a general plan, Oceans of Fun-bound it was! Lunches were consumed during the 45-minute ride there, allowing for at least an hour of swimming and slides before needing a snack. Ha. Silly Mommy. Immediately upon entry, we spotted an ice cream stand so the first stop was snack #1.
Okay, now that our bellies were really full, we began meandering through the park. We first came across Captain Kidd’s—a pirate boat with small slides, perfect for my little guy while the big one went on Diamond Head (minimum 46″ height). Big sister chose to stay with little brother here at Captain Kidd’s. However, about 1.5 minutes in, we were all evacuated because someone pooped in the water. Ah, parenthood. Relishing in my joy that it wasn’t my kid, we moved on to Coconut Cove while waiting for my 8-year-old to return from Diamond Head.
Coconut Cove alone entertained my 6 and 4-year-olds for over an hour. A huge pool, with giant floating alligators and turtles to climb on, and several mini-slides to enjoy, this was a hit. Some sections were up to 4 feet, so they wore life-jackets, but that didn’t impede upon their fun at all. And the layout of Oceans of Fun—with Aruba Tuba directly behind Coconut Cove—worked out perfectly, as Aruba Tuba was the only “big kid” slide my 4-year-old could ride. So as soon as his big brother returned from Diamond Head (we’ll get to that in a minute), Aruba Tuba was next! And they all loved it, riding down together in double tubes.
After a potty and water break (another great part of the layout—both bathrooms and a snack shop were right next to Coconut Cove) we started brainstorming what to do next. My oldest son wanted Mommy to experience the excitement of Diamond Head, so I did. And I can tell you first-hand that it’s quite the ride. Mommy is not a “ride person” and is usually happy to “stay at the bottom and wave” as the kids come down, but she put on her fun pants (or bathing suit, I should say) and made a fun memory that day. Eventually even my 6-year-old, who’s just barely 46″, tested it out and loved it. For a fast-moving thrilling water slide, try Diamond Head!
Moving on, we ventured over to another section of the park in search of more food. Beach Bites Pizza provided exactly what we needed, and it was right next to a few rides we wanted to try. Once we fueled up again, the big kids went on Hurricane Falls while I took my little guy over to Paradise Falls (think giant playground with spraying water and a slew of slides). He was able to run, slide, run, climb, slide, and run himself to exhaustion while we waited for his siblings. Also, there was an ICEE nearby, so he got a special treat since he had to miss out on Hurricane Falls (another favorite, but Diamond Head was still in the lead at this point).
Next stop was Surf City Wave Pool—a HUGE hit for these Kansas kids. Again, life-jackets were a requirement, as we kept floating out to depths where they couldn’t touch. The waves start in 10-minute intervals, and we swam through several rounds. It’s as close to the ocean as these kids are going to get for a while, and they enjoyed every second.
Right next to the wave pool is Predator’s Plunge, the only slide we visited that was 48″ minimum height. My 8-year-old couldn’t get up the stairs fast enough, but after riding, he’d like the general public to know (and I quote) “Predator’s Plunge is NO JOKE.” There are two types of slides at this ride: one traditional water slide style, while the other has the rider stand in a plastic bubble while the floor drops out from under him. That’s right, folks. So although he was proud that he did it, my son opted not to try Predator’s Plunge a second time. To the most thrill-seeking visitors, this ride is for you.
By this point it was after 6:00, and the kids were getting tired (a fact they’d never admit in a million years). The big kids still wanted to try Typhoon, a straight-shooting slide that’s 46″ minimum height. I took my 4-year-old to the bathroom and we started making our way to the exit, meeting my older kids after their Typhoon experience. In the end, this was my 8-year-old’s favorite slide (beating out Diamond Head)—as it was the fastest. When asked what their favorite parts were, my 6-year-old daughter said the wave pool, and my 4-year-old loved Aruba Tuba.
As a parent, I appreciated that that lines weren’t too long, the park was small enough and accessible so that we could keep track of one another, and the bathrooms were never far away. There were plenty of snack choices throughout the park, and I was thankful that my 4-year-old had lots of fun places to play and swim when his older siblings went on rides. I look forward to visiting again in the future as my kids grow and can ride more of the “big kid” slides (as they call them). And I’ll probably get sucked in to riding more as well, in order to earn my “fun Mommy” points. And that’s not a bad thing.