A fun, fabulous place for kids and their parents?
We promptly booked an all-inclusive trip to the island of Antigua (it was fabulous).
That was two years ago and now that we actually have kids to run around after, we had a fabulous excuse to visit. So in celebration of one year home as a family, we packed up our swimming trunks and overnight bags to see what this place was all about.
Of course it seemed as if anyone who was anyone had already been there and we made sure to ask for tips and advice. Don't stay on a weekend, check in at least three hours before the room is ready, bring snacks and drinks, don't worry about towels/life jackets etc...I followed it all to a tee. We left the house with our swimsuits on, arrived around one o'clock in the afternoon and were able to check into our room right away. Within ten minutes we were down the elevator and entered into the water park. Even my eyes were big. Water slides galore for every age and size, toddler activity pool, wave pool, random water squirting everywhere.....
The next few hours were filled with water and fun as we made our way down all of the slides over and over again, pulled every rope, pushed every button, ran through every fountain and jumped over all the waves. Believe it or not, I didn't take a lot of pictures-the heat from all the water caused the pictures to be foggy and the quality was so poor that I ended up putting the camera down for most of the trip (much to every one's relief). Here are a few to give you the general idea, but for most of the time we just ran around like crazy folk, splashing and screaming with the kids.
After three hours of wet chaos, we managed to drag the boys away from the water to explore the hotel and look for sustenance only to discover that every child in the hotel seemed to be waving around their hands with what appeared to be a magic wand. Boy O was intrigued to say the least as we just finished reading the first installment of Harry Potter two weeks ago. Daddy O and I looked at each other with knowing looks and (not out loud) said, No way are we gonna be one of those parents that falls for that trap!
Three hours later as Daddy O and Boy O walked back to the room from another visit to the water park (Baby O and I had enjoyed some free time looking around), I hung my head low and whispered to my husband as Boy O skipped into the room, Please don't hate me, but.....
All I can say is that I am weak. So weak. I just couldn't take it-the kids looked like they were having so much fun and as I wandered the hotel with Baby O, we just happened upon the magic wand store...and...well...you know the rest...
Just point it and things light up and talk.
The bear hanging on the wall actually lifted it's head and talked. Worth it? Absolutely. If you go, get the wand!
We spent an hour running all over the hotel, pointing the wand at everything. I tried to tell Boy O that there was no magic past the fourth floor, but we visited every floor anyway-just in case. Eight o'clock was story hour and we were mighty impressed when the trees and animals came alive and started singing:
Boy O and I walked back to room where Baby O was fast asleep and we all retired for the evening. I remember Daddy O saying, Hey-even though we are in a hotel, maybe we'll actually get some sleep tonight since they are so exhausted. Famous last words.
I remember waking up briefly around 3:15 am, looking at the clock and thinking Wow, we've almost made it... Then 4:38 am rolled around. We tried to fight it for about 20 minutes, doing everything we could to avoid the inevitable-putting Baby O in between us, cooing and singing softly... It was just not meant to be. But making it until almost five in the morning is a new record for us, so I should have been ecstatic.
Waking up at five in the morning does present its problems though. Magic wands apparently don't work anywhere except the front lobby before seven and there were no restaurants open. Not even coffee. The water park didn't open until nine. With time to kill, we hopped in the car and took a short drive around the country side, stopped at McDonald's for breakfast and made it back by seven. Only two hours left until the water park opened....
Two hours of bed jumping, cartoon watching and running all over the hotel and we made it back into the water park. In hindsight, we pushed our water park limits with Baby O and within two hours, he was practically limp and fell asleep before we had even changed. Good news was that both boys slept all the way home and then some.
Our celebration could not have been more wonderful but it certainly gives me pause when thinking about a longer trip to someplace like Disney World. I admire the stamina and endurance of some parents who take their kids for week long trips. I'm still in recovery from the water park-I think 24 hours was plenty.