February 7th, 2010

CoCo Key Indoor Water Resort (Waterbury, CT and other locations)

Several weeks ago my family and I decided to take an excursion.  Fed up with the chill of winter and the doldrums of shortened days, we did the closest thing to a tropical vacation we could think of.  We ventured to an indoor water park.

Our destination of Choice was CoCo Key Water Park in Waterbury, CT.  There are CoCo Keys across the country (see Becca’s recent column about her experiences!); each is managed independently, so the facilities may vary from place to place, but there are a few qualities that I’m sure apply to the experience anywhere.

First and foremost if you are someone who does not have the patience to wiggle your way around lots of running children, yelling parents, splashing teens and folks who cut in the inner tube line, then this is not the experience for you.  Seriously – it’s a lot of intense human behavior in relatively small, but very loud space and you need to be able to have a Zen-like ability to roll with it.  I have a finite amount of patience, but I was able to last for a couple of hours at a time.  Fortunately, we were staying at the hotel attached to the water park, so when we’d had enough we could cut out.

Truthfully, amidst the chaos, there is fun to be had.  The rides include two large inner-tube slides, a long regular water slide, a lazy river (it’s really more of a lethargic stream), an expansive water playground, an indoor/outdoor hot tub, and several other water features.  We were able to move around pretty easily, never having to wait too long to get into one place or another, even on a holiday weekend.   All of the areas were very well supervised, with lifeguards stationed everywhere.  The one things that was not anywhere to be found (again, this may be specific to the Waterbury location) was a cleaning crew of any kind.  There are a number of tables and chairs around the perimeter of the play area (if you’re not there in the first ½ hour on a busy day, they’re gone), which sat unwashed throughout the day, so spilled food sat unattended.  Amenities include a locker room (with showers), lockers, an arcade and a bar area and an A & W food counter, which was woefully understaffed.  The Hub waited (and I am not kidding you here) 25 minutes for Sundaes for the kids that cost nearly $5 each and were about the size of a Hoodsie cup.  You’re not allowed to bring food into the facility, so you may want to time your visit in-between meals.

The water park tickets can add up quickly – going for about $30 per person, per day – but many water parks have hotel packages as well, which can be a great bargain.  For the four of us, we got two days admission to the water park and a hotel room all for about $250.  In the end it made for a nice little escape which was taxing on the grown-ups, but great fun for the kids.

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