Last week I attended the “Splash Up” at Aquatica in Orlando, Florida. Aquatica is the absolutely amazing water park created by the geniuses of Sea World/Busch Gardens that features attractions geared toward people of all ages. The park has over 38 slides, 2 enormous wave pools that feature waves for 8 minutes then still waters for 12 as well as an enormous white sand beach.
We arrived at Aquatica right before its opening at 9am. We were greeted by a lovely group of gals that gave us cool swag bags as well as a band for their all day eatery Banana Beach Cookout, but more on that later. They took us on a brief walk around the park and we were showed a few key points of interest such as the Concierge Cabana. This is where you can go and get your child’s height checked and they receive an arm band that details what rides they can ride in the park and what they need a life vest for. Life vests are also available to anyone that wants them and are located all over the park.
We also took a few minutes to stop and check out the star animal attraction of the park the gorgeous black and white Commerson’s Dolphins. They swim in the pools that surround the #1 slide at Aquatica that is aptly called the Dolphin Plunge. On this slide you shoot down a dark slide only to emerge in a tube that shoots through the pools that the Commerson’s Dolphins live then you splash out into your own save zone.
After checking out the dolphins we spent some time over at the wave pools where Aquatica now offers swimming lessons called Learn To Swim! For just $49.99 you can get 5 lessons that run Monday thru Friday or 5 consecutive Saturdays with a Red Crossed Trained Instructor that also just so happens to be an Aquatica Lifeguard. If you are an Aquatica pass holder you will receive a 10% discount for the lessons. The lessons are great not just for Florida residents but also for visitors to Orlando looking for an experience of a lifetime for their child while also having them learn a necessary skill. Over 200 children have already been through the Learn To Swim Program. They offer 2 different types of programs based on age. 4-5 year olds will swim with the instructor where children under 4 must be in the water with a parent. Both programs lessons are 45 minute in length and will have the same instructor every day.
We ended our walk with a trip to the Banana Beach Cookout where we were greeted by the Vice President of Aquatica. He welcomed us all to the park and told us about the awesome eat all day feature of Banana Beach Cookout. For just $17.99 for adults and $10.99 for children ages 3-9 you pay once and can come back all day to enjoy the buffet of delicious pizza, chicken, pulled pork and much more. I have always though that the Sea World Family of parks offered the best food for their visitors so it was a great deal. Drinks are also included in this price. My favorite item on the buffet was the chicken drumsticks and the bread sticks. I think I ate 8 breadsticks and I rarely eat bread/pizza anymore. ADDICTING! They also offer gluten free pizza as well as they will give you a salad undressed. All you have to do is ask and they are willing to help accommodate any food needs of their guests.
Before we left for the day to “Splash it Up” in the park we had one last important Aquatica team member to meet and that was Lucky the two-toed sloth. Kyle and I went up to take his picture with him and we both petted Lucky who was surprisingly very soft. It was really a neat treat to end our walk.
There are many places in Aquatica to set up camp as well as lockers available to keep your items if you don’t want to camp out like we do. We choose to set up by Walkabout Waters. It is an amazing play area for kids with all sorts of slides, places to climb, water guns, and the huge dumping water bucket that if you are not careful you may fall victim to. This area is great for all ages of children as well as the kid at heart. If you only have very small children you can choose to set up camp at Kata’s Kookaburra Cove which offers slides for children under 48 inches, small boats to climb on as well as pretty calm waters.
We were able to ride every ride at the park even with a 2.5 hour rain delay that caused the park to shut down completely due to severe weather in the area. One of the gals that showed us around the park told me that they have their own Doppler system to be able to track the weather and keep their guests as safe as possible. The favorite spots of the day for our family was Roa’s Rapids where you move fast around 1500 feet of winding waters. Life vests are recommended for children under 51 inches and I can honestly say I preferred it with the life vest on. I am a very good swimmer but I wanted to be able to float it and catch the big jets that would shoot you around the corners. We went to the rapids twice spending well over an hour there total. My favorite slide was the Whanau Ride. Karolyn was my partner on the slide and it was a blast. I also really liked the Tassie Twister and the Walhalla Wave. I think why I liked these are because they are rides you can do with 1 or more people. I loved being able to share the thrill with my kids. Of course the kids rode everything twice, once with me and once with their dad.
Our family had an amazing day at Aquatica. We were so grateful for their knowledgeable and helpful staff at the parks as well as the ample lifeguards stationed throughout the park. I would 100% recommend this park to anyone coming to the area for a vacation or for anyone just looking for a day off from the grind. We are hoping to return again really soon. Wyatt is already asking me when we get into the car if we are “Going waterslide”.
If you are interested in checking out Aquatica then be sure to look at all they have to offer for ticket options at their website www.aquaticabyseaworld.com. You can purchase single day tickets, season passes as well as multiple park passes all for a pretty great price. You can also find out about renting a private Cabana as well as get almost any questions you may have answered on their facts page. Just be sure to tell them that My Sentiment Exact Lee sent you.
*I received media sample. All opinions are my own.