Cool turquoise water, happy people laughing and splashing, my kids and I see commercials on TV for Knott’s Soak City water park all the time. The youngest is always begging me to take them. “Mom, they have HUGE slides!” she shouts. “It’s so hot in this house,” my 8 year old son whines (our typical 1960’s Southern California house crazily does not have air conditioning.) I start thinking to myself that those sparkling pools really do look refreshing. Plus, floating around the lazy river looks way relaxing than doing chores in the backyard. I set aside my phobia about wearing a swimsuit in public and said, “Guess what guys?! We’re going to Knott’s Soak City today!
The water park is only about 10 miles from our house. But even if we had to drive farther, the convenient location right off the I-5 freeway makes it really accessible. We easily found parking in the large lot, and made it into the water park within 5 minutes of arriving. Instead of toting around our bag of towels, we rented a locker. By this time, I had 3 super excited kids, who were bursting to get in the water. “Let’s do a quick tour and figure out what we want to do first,” I decided.
Our tour of Knott’s Soak City revealed that the park’s size was totally manageable. Plenty of lifeguards watched over us at every attraction we visited. Conveniently, complimentary life vests were placed all over the park. Several restaurants offered everything from yummy looking burgers, salads, and pizzas to churros and ice cream. Throughout the park we also saw cabanas that could be rented for the day. I couldn’t help but think what a perfect place to have a family gathering. It would be so nice to know you had a reserved place to hang out, store your towels, and rest between attractions.
After our quick tour, we all decided to play in the wave pool first. A place offering tube rentals was located adjacent to the wave pool. We were fortunate enough to get one of the free tubes marked for the wave pool. Initially, my 4 year old was a little anxious to enter Tidal Wave Bay. The waves were off, but she was worried they would be too big. She clung to me when the waves started, but quickly realized they were the perfect size to jump and splash. They would have played there all day, but we decided to go check out the other attractions.
Next we went over to Toyota Beach House and Slides. It looked like a giant jungle gym with all kind of squirting hoses, slides, and a giant bucket that dropped water over the squealing children below. The kids loved spraying each other with the giant water guns.
Our next stop was the Gremmie Lagoon. My 10 year old daughter was just under the 54” height limit. The kids loved playing on the slides and jumping under the sprinklers. We saw children from babies and toddlers to elementary school age having a blast in this area. I wish I’d known about it when my kids were younger!
Following Gremmie Lagoon, we went to the Sunset River. We stayed for almost an hour in the stream, winding through the park. We watched lots of families who had rented double tubes, and decided that we would definitely try that next time.
We climbed out of the Sunset River and decided we would choose one big water slide to experience before we went home. We wanted to ride a slide that all of us could enjoy. I have had a baby to hold for so many years now, it was totally exciting that we could all do this together. My kids all agreed that we had to try Banzai Falls. Rising about 4 stories in the air, six lanes of people can race down at a time, it’s perfect for families! My 4 year old kept saying, “I just don’t care for heights Mom, but I’ll try it.” Anxiously we stood at the top listening to instructions about how to ride. Finally it was our turn. With a little push, we went racing down the slide. At the bottom, by 10 year old popped up, “Woohoo, I won!”
By the end of the day, we were exhausted. But we couldn’t leave the park without the kids’ favorite treat, Dippin’ Dots. Three cups later, wrapped in our towels, we made the walk back to the car. “Mom, that was the best day!” my 8 year old said as we pulled out of the parking lot. Smiling back at him I said, “You’re right bud, we have to do that again soon.”