Monday, February 27, 2012
Midweek Waterpark Adventure
We took Thursday and Friday off of life and retreated as a family. The children had requested a Waterpark adventure, and there's no question that indoors is optimal in February in Upstate New York.
Our children are now the ripe old ages of 1 years old through 14 years old, from 33" to six feet even. With age and attention disparity like that, I was concerned about finding things for all of them to enjoy. I need not have worried, because Palm Island Indoor Waterpark at the Clarion Hotel in Batavia, New York fit the bill exactly.
We arrived at 4pm, hoping to avoid long lines. Our water park passes authorized us to enter at 3pm, but the logistics of six children, two dogs, and homework for the online student delayed us a little bit. The front desk employees were quick and efficient and patient with the argumentative potential patron in front of me. I was pleased that our special request of two suites, connecting, had been blocked out carefully for us, with no disappointment.
We purchased the waterpark package, x2 which included a room that potentially slept 6, $25 voucher toward breakfast at Bel Gusto restaurant inside the hotel, 4 water park passes, and unused $25 toward some nearby gambling establishment which will remain unnamed.
The children had a quick supper and changed into their suits, headed down to the waterpark and emerged again as it closed at 9pm, thrilled to tell me all about it. I confess I mostly nodded and smiled as I hurried through my Statistics homework. Husband texted a picture of Daniel, age 1, overcoming his fear of water and splashing in the six inch deep splash section.
While they spent hours splashing and carousing I had ordered room service for dinner. The bourbon chicken sandwich sounded really good, but the Bel Gusto Restaurant has some work to do on its execution. Chicken breast with bourbon sauce and swiss cheese on focaccia bread has great potential. But the condiments it came with, little packets of mustard and ketchup, left my sandwich naked with mayonnaise envy. Even better would have been a little pot of that bourbon glaze, but there was none to be seen. I ordered a sandwich for dinner in lieu of steak because I had my eye on their ultimate chocolate cake, but the kitchen called back to tell me they were out! I appreciated the heads-up, and opted for the redvelvet cake. It delivered! In fact, the delivery man offered that they had sent up two pieces to make up for any inconvenience. It was cream cheese frosting on red velvet heaven, in fact, the best piece I've had to date.
The beds are so comfortable at the Clarion that I was loathe to get out of ours. But I did, at 5 am with a cheerful little teething toddler who only uses one word. Up. Up. Up. I handed him off to his father at 7 am and headed back for a short nap.
At 8:30 we all used our $25 breakfast voucher and enjoyed their well-stocked breakfast buffet. With the range of ages of our children and their lactose intolerance, it was nice to see lots of choices. I had the scrambled eggs, a sausage link, a slice of bacon, a miniature biscuit with a dollop of nicely made country gravy, some melon cubes, and a glass of cranberry juice.
The baby enjoyed yogurt, fresh strawberries, sausage, a miniature danish pastry, french toast sticks and syrup, and a bit of Dad's biscuit and gravy. The eldest, six foot of walking hungry, ate everything in sight, and went back for more. In addition he had brought single serving soy milk containers to enjoy a box of cold cereal from the buffet, after he had sampled multiple tastes of every other item on it. The servers were solicitious but not intrusive, which we valued.
The husband and I made a quick trip for a forgotten item to the Target store next door, conveniently just across the parking lot from our hotel. Then we changed into suits and spent the rest of our second day at the waterpark. Half of the waterpark is devoted to little people, and our littles really enjoyed the splashing and playing in water that didn't exceed one foot deep. The bigger children, 10-14, played basketball in a deeper lagoon, soaked in the hot tub and double-dared each other to ride the two water slide tubes that descended from the second floor and swooped outside returning to a chute depositing the rider into the waterpark in view of all their friends.
The kids had so much fun that they hesitated to tell me that they were hungry at lunch time. We tried the adjacent mini-cafe's pizza, which came in pepperoni or cheese. We'll probably opt for take-out from somewhere else in the future, but in case of starvation, it will sustain life. We augmented the lousy pizza with chicken and vegetable quesadilla with sour cream and salsa, Chicken caesar salad, and a Julienne salad, from Bel Gusto Restaurant. The servers were polite, friendly, and helpful, but I'd like to have a chat with the cook in the restaurant. Julienne means thin slices, not wide planks of an inch or two. It was sliced cheese ready for a sandwich, and sliced meat, cut into planks, rather than julienned. They should be somewhat uniform - really I'm not overly particular - but this was the messiest salad I've seen, and I paid $7.95 or so for that mess. The caesar salad was close to what I expected, a grilled chicken breast sliced on top of romaine lettuce, store bought croutons, and a bottled dressing. I think that care should have been taken not to include the darkened crumbs at the bottom of the crouton package, because I kept mistaking them for some type of bacon bit, unwelcome in a caesar salad.
My children urged me to try the "easy, more mellow" chute. If they had nicknamed it "descent into terror" I would have been forewarned, but no, Sarah and Andy urged me into it, telling me that it was mellow and and had pretty lights and I'd really like it. Toward the end of what seemed eternity, about 2 seconds before I wished death as an escape, I had the though flash through my mind that I was going to throw up, or drown, or drown and throw up, and then suddenly it was over. While I searched for my equillibrium which remained somewhere behind me in the chute, I was helped up by my laughing son who saw the look on my face as I emerged from the chute of doom. Then my daughter caused a mini tidal wave as she emerged which knocked my dizzy self back off my feet and gave her a good laugh.
Once the urge to vomit left me I found the whole experience hilarious, and my second 14 year old then felt it was okay to laugh. He's a sensitive soul, when he's not sure if his life is on the line for urging me into the chute.
The 11 year old daughter who helped me up along as I was popping out of the chute laughed and urged me into the "Cobra" tunnel ride. I wisely declined that because I wasn't eager to see my salad displayed. The water rushing out of the "Cobra" tube was still churning, compared to the mere rush of water in the one I rode. I thought the first supposedly scenic ride was very fast, so I was not eager to compare the two. My two daredevil teen and preteen were! They thought it was exciting, colorful, and initially nerve-wracking, in a good way.
Check out time was 11 am for the room, and 3pm for the waterpark, and we stayed and enjoyed every minute until our integrity alone urged us out of the waterpark at 3pm.
We're eagerly looking forward to a return visit as a family during Spring Break. If you go, enjoy the breakfast buffet and the red velvet cake, but avoid the pre-fabricated pizza. P.S. 10 cent dum-dum lollipops from the gift store help make a quieter ride home too.
And tell them KelliSue Montague sent you!