Aug 16, 2013

An amazing waterpark in the middle of NOWHERE

* This is not a sponsored post. We paid our way, fair and square.

Just one week after we'd gone to Splash Adventure, we set out again for another waterpark. (This year instead of getting a season pass to Splash Adventure, we decided to just go once to three different waterparks in North Central Alabama.)

This time we asked Anna to come keep Amelia so we could just take the boys. Amelia loves the pool ... for a while. And then she's "ALL DONE POOL." Kind of like when she was "ALL DONE BEACH." Remember when she was ALL DONE BEACH?

So yes. I asked Anna to keep her for the day, and we drove 90 minutes up to the middle of nowhere, where a waterpark literally popped up out of a pasture on the left side of the road. I don't know how else to describe it. NO MATTER, THOUGH, BECAUSE IT WAS FREAKING AMAZING.

The boys couldn't wait to get in. Look at how pained Jake was when I asked him to smile for a picture before jumping in. PAIN, Internet.

Spring Valley Beach is home to what's got to be the largest pool east of the Mississippi. I mean, I didn't Google it or anything, but I'm calling it.

One of the things that's so fun about it is that it has long docks that go out into the water, as well as steps that enter it on the shallower ends. So you can either jump or walk in at the shallow end, or walk out onto the dock and jump in to a depth over your head.

Nathaniel actually opted to jump in from the side, then swim most of the way across the pool to the dock that extended from the opposite side.

There are several slides that empty into the pool ... the taller ones are in the middle and are "tube slides," the kind that are fully enclosed.

(This was yet another trip for which I was so thankful to have my little waterproof camera!)

A little farther down and perched on the side of the pool are two open-top slides, which were also a lot of fun (all five of us tried those). (Also, please note the countryside in the background.)

Next, Grayson and the big boys took off for the HUGE slides across the parking lot, and Jakey and I ventured over to the smaller kids' area at the farthest end of the pool. It was separated from the rest of the pool by a low concrete wall that kept little kids from venturing into too-deep water (not a concern with Jake, but nice to know it's there when we bring Amelia back).

It has lots of individual play areas, including one spot where you can yank on a rope to make water pour down on your head from a spigot.

Like Splash Adventure and other waterparks we've visited, it also has a huge bucket on top of the play area that fills up with water about every five minutes, then when it overfills, it turns and pours down on the crowd below. (See Jake? He's in the orange rashguard just left of center.)

Around lunchtime -- YES, WE WERE JUST GETTING AROUND TO LUNCH -- I asked everyone to gather on the dock for a picture. This picture makes me laugh, because here were my instructions: "Hey, hold hands and smile!" GRAYSON.

Then I asked them to jump in, which I actually think turned out pretty adorable.

OMG, I know you're like, HOW MANY MORE PICTURES DID SHE TAKE? Listen. I'm not even assaulting you with HALF of what I took. You're welcome.

I do really want to give you a sense of what the property is like ... for those of you who live in Alabama or even Tennessee, this is worth a day trip.

Here's a look at about a third of the pool from the top of the hill, near the concession stand. You can see that there's plenty of space for spreading out towels, chairs, etc. And they WELCOME that. You can bring tents, canopies, coolers, grills ... you name it, people had it.

Here's the center part of the pool, and a good shot of some of the families set up on the grass.

And here's a ground-level picture of the left third of the pool, which extends way over to the little kids' area.

There must have been 25 or 30 of these canopies and actual camping-type tents set up around the perimeter of the park ... people really got comfortable.

And if you thought I was kidding when I said that people brought grills, well, then ...

The whole place kind of has the vibe of a big company picnic or -- if you ever went to a huge Southern Baptist Church picnic when you were little -- it felt kind of like that. Everybody was nice, it looked like there was lots of BBQ and deviled eggs, and tons of kids were running around.

We didn't take any food with us ... just bottled water ... so we ate at the concession stand. You always run the risk of getting completely GOUGED at those places, but we were pleasantly surprised. The prices were quite reasonable, especially compared to the "big-city prices" we're used to.

And for those of you who are concerned about these things, like I am ...

Yep. A solid 100 in the health rating doesn't hurt one bit.

After lunch, we walked across the parking lot to the bigger slides. (See what I meant when I said this place is literally in the middle of a pasture?)

The slide below is the only one we didn't tackle ... I've done that flushing-bowl thing once before, and I'll never do it again. I did it at Splash Adventure a few years ago, and I lost a contact in there. NO MORE. Nuh-uh.

We all liked this one, which was pretty basic but ran fast. You could either sit on a mat or go without.

Nathaniel's the only one of us who tried this one ... it was the first slide built in the park, and it's concrete. Yes, concrete. Helmets are mandatory.

For our family, these two were the crown jewels. We LOVED these two slides. We rode them over and over and over again. The one on the left is totally enclosed, so it's pitch-black inside until you shoot out the bottom. A thousand kinds of fun. And the one on the right? You ride on a mat on your stomach facing forward, and it feels like you're going 75 miles per hour. Most fun I've ever had on a slide!

This one we also all rode, and I saved the pictures of this one for last just because it was probably the most impressive. It's like Upsurge at Splash Adventure ... a total adrenaline rush. I can't believe Jake did it so many times!

Here, Jake and I are just entering the slide, right at the moment the nose of the tube dropped in. STRAIGHT DOWN.

We went so far up the other side, I thought we were going to fly off. Holy cow. But it was FUN!

I think this one is of Nick and Grayson.

Honestly, we all rode so many times in so many different configurations, it's hard to remember who was with whom, when. And the big boys even rode single tubes by themselves! (Jake wanted to, but we wouldn't let him. What a daredevil.)

Anyway, it was so much fun, and we want to go back. We highly recommend it for anyone who's within driving distance!

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