- Travel and Places»
- Travel Activities & Ideas
5 Reasons NOT to Visit an Indoor Water Park
If you live in the Upper Midwest or some other area where the winters are grueling, you've likely thought about visiting an indoor water park at some point. In fact, you may be one of the millions who have already visited a water park resort in the last couple of years. These climate-controlled getaway spots have popped up all over the United States - as well as in Canada, Europe, and Asia.
A trip to someplace like Great Wolf Lodge or CoCo Key would seem like the perfect mini-vacation for the whole family. You get to enjoy a nice, tropical climate that's probably not far from home, with activities for all ages. I mean, who doesn't love a water slide?
So what's not to like? Well, more than you probably think. Here are a handful of reasons why you might not want to pack up your swimsuit and head out to the nearest water park hotel.
Do You Really Want to be Seen in Your Swimsuit?
The time of year when you really need a tropical getaway also happens to be the time when you look worst in a swimsuit. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the most calorie-packed holidays, leading to expanded waistlines and numerous New Year's resolutions to get fit in time for summer (the normal swimsuit-wearing season). Plus, assuming you live up north, you're probably all pasty white. Visiting a water park at this time of year means being seen at your worst.
On the other hand, indoor water parks aren't exactly Venice Beach. Most people don't go to be seen. They go to splash around with their families.
They're (Mostly) For Kids
Speaking of families, most indoor water parks are geared toward kids. If you don't have children of your own - or even if you do - you might not relish the thought of being in an enclosed water park jam-packed with screaming, hyperactive youngsters. It's a scientific fact that kids are at their rowdiest when wet, so any adult who ventures into one of these places needs a heaping helping of patience.
Besides, most of the attractions at indoor water parks are too small for grownups. For the adults, there's often only a hot tub and lazy river to pass the time. If you enjoy watching kids (yours and/or someone else's) splash around and have fun, this might suit you just fine. Otherwise, it might be an endurance test.
Most indoor water parks are part of hotels or resorts, and many of them (most notably Great Wolf Lodge) require you to rent a room in order to get into the water park. In other words, it's a full-fledged trip. If you're bringing kids along, also consider that you'll likely have to pay for food and arcade games. All in all, it's likely to be more expensive than the typical weekend activity.
Of course, it all depends on how you judge it. Compared to an actual vacation, a simple roadtrip to a water park hotel is cheap. On the other hand, if you just want an afternoon of water sliding and river riding, it might be more than you're willing to pay.
They're Unsanitary, Maybe Even Unsafe
Public pools in general are, well, gross. One in five people admit to peeing in the pool, and that number probably goes up when you're talking about the kid-heavy crowds at indoor water parks. Waterborne illnesses thrive in these wet, enclosed environments, which is why it should be no surprise that there have been a number of outbreaks at indoor water parks in recent years (one of which resulted in a big lawsuit in New York).
Chlorine and other chemicals are used in abundance to keep illnesses from spreading, but these come with their own risks. Some scientists are concerned about prolonged exposure to pool chemicals, particularly in an enclosed environment. Lots of splashing around makes things worse, as it increases the amount of chemicals in the air.
There's always the possibility of bodily harm as well, either through falls/collision or drowning. Fortunately, most inside water parks are well staffed with lifeguards to head off accidents. Still, it's something to be concerned about.
You Could Wind up at a Bad One
Just like hotels vary in quality, so do indoor water parks. While indoor parks have come a long way in the last decade or so, there are still some stinkers out there. Some signs of a poorly run water park include:
- Dirty/unsanitary facilities
- Inadequate number of lifeguards on duty
- Poor security
- Lots of equipment out of order
Before booking your stay, be sure to do your research at your favorite travel site to make sure the water park is all it's cracked up to be.
STILL Want to Visit an Indoor Water Park?
I suspect that for most people, the answer is still yes. Despite all the downsides, water park resorts can be a blast, as evidenced by the many people who return to them year-after-year. In fact, many families have made a tradition of staying at one of these resorts during the holidays, when places like Great Wolf Lodge are decked out with Christmas decorations.
That said, indoor water parks definitely aren't for everyone. Be aware of the negatives before deciding for yourself whether a visit to one is worth the price of admission.