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Indoor Water Parks
Zender's Splash Village - Frankenmuth, MI USA, an indoor water park is right next to Bronner's the ‘world's largest Christmas store." I took my daughter and our four grandkids there this summer and it's wonderful! The water park is open all year round, so makes an extra special break from the ice and snow in winter as well.
The outside is cheery and welcoming with two enclosed water-slide tubes that go outside and back into the pool area again. The lobby and restaurant/cafe is decorated like an enchanted forest and very clean. I felt happier the minute I entered. I'd reserved a room a month ahead for July 5th.
We put on our bathing suits at home so we could go directly to the pool area. Check-in time for the hotel is 4 pm, but you can get your ID bracelet and start swimming and sliding at 11 a.m. As we entered the enclosed pools/slies area it seem very hot in there, but once we got wet, we were happy for the heat as we were very comfortable lounging around soaking wet! The water park is set up for families, especially those with young kids, but teens and adults were also having a lot of fun.
As you enter the park there are areas starting from left to right that begins with a very shallow space for the youngest visitors. There are little sprinklers, swings that are just above the water so wee ones can splash their feet as they swing. This part has no actual ‘pool' but lots of little fun sprinklers and water that is only about six inches deep. There are things to climb on and a slide. An enormous bucket is slowly fills up near the ceiling. When it's nearly filled a chime tells those who want to get dumped on to stand under it and also warns those who don't.
A ‘river' runs through it' where I loved floating in one of the large double inner-tube type floating 'toys'. Small buckets and sprayers along the route keep things interesting. It's very relaxing .
Next to the river very tall set of stairs lead to two slide-tunnels. All the kids loved the slide tunnels! Each person takes a water 'tube' up the stairs to ride down the slide on. I managed to slide down both, but it's not my thing. I'm not a thrill ride kind of person but the kids spent the day climbing (abot three stories) and sliding! There are life guards at the top of the tunnels and at the bottom area, so sliders are released only when it's safe so you don't have to worry about banging into anyone when you splash down.
There are deeper pools at the far end for those who want to play water basketball or volley ball or simply swim. The deepest part is only about four feet.
One of the most impressive things about the place was the focus on the safety and well-being of the guests. Life Guards (college students) are ever vigilant and tolerate no rough housing or running, bad language, etc They also watch every area of the park at all times, so we felt very safe letting the kids scatter about and do their own thing. . They were very professional yet unobtrusive. You must wear a swimsuit to enter the park, no cut-offs or t-shirts.
My grandkids were 8, 12, 15 and 17 Cam, the fifteen-year-old, is autistic and had a great time. He loves doing things on his own and nobody bothered him or made him try to 'socialize' so he could just enjoy the water. Zoë, age 8, is a water baby and loved every second. I think she and I would still be in there if my daughter hadn't dragged us out.
We rented a 'suite with a bedroom area with two large beds, a sofa bed , full shower/toilet bathroom. The sink was outside the bathroom, which was convenient. They were all very clean. A wall separated the living space from the beds. The sitting room or living room area had the sofa bed and two comfy chairs, a coffee table, a corner fireplace with a corner TV recessed into the wall. Our room was only seconds from the water park and cafe - yet very quiet. We've also rented a 'loft' type room with another bedroom upstairs with a queen bed. Six of us fit in there very comfortably.
Things to know:
Guests are given a color-coded bracelet which allows you to swim and stay in the park for a 24-hour stay. Check-in time is 4 p.m. We arrived at 3 and were allowed to change into our suits (there are large changing stalls in the dressing area). So we played for an hour, then checked into our room. The park is open from 10 A.M. - 10 P.M.. Towels are provided, so I'd leave my special beach towel at home. Checkout from the room is 11 a.m.
You can buy half-day or full-day passes for the water park if you don't want to spend the night. But we realized that six to eight free passes come with the room and if you're spending an entire day there, it's actually cheaper and nice to have a place to take a break, keep your dry clothes and a cooler, etc.
Safety is a huge plus. They make it a priority.
There is a large indoor pool and hot tub at the other end of the hotel for those who just want to swim or soak in a normal pool atmosphere.
You must wear a swimsuit to enter the park, no cut-offs or t-shirts.
It cost about $200 for the suite for one night which also included 6 passes to the water park for 24 hours.
The café and bar offer a serving window into the water park area and there are tables and chairs where you can have a snack or a drink. We ate breakfast and dinner there as it is very convenient and the food was pretty good and reasonable. There is a breakfast buffet or you can order off the menu.
On kind of negatve surprise was the fact that there are NO DVD players or equipment available in the rooms! I guess they want you go with the pay per view movies that cost extra. Our teenage grandson went out and rented a movie he wanted to share with us and that evening and that's when we discovered the lack of any kind of movie equipment. Usually we're too tired after a day in the water and sight-seeing in Frankenmuth to worry about TV, so it wasn't a bid deal.
It's just a wonderful place for families who love to play in the water! Frankenmuth is a wonderful place to visit as well, with a covered bridge, Bronner's Christmas Shop, Zender's Restaurant that specializes in home cooked meals. The entire town is set up like a German Village and there are many shops to explore.
Frankenmuth is off I-75 about two hours north of Detroit. There are several camp grounds nearby and it's a very nice place for a summer vacation or weekend getaway.