In case you’ve been living under a rock, or you’re Down Under, it’s brutally hot this summer.
Thankfully, the Aquatica Water Park at SeaWorld San Antonio provided a perfect bit of respite from Mother Nature’s wrath upon Texas. As the start of my first-ever “Staycation-with-kids” I REALLY wanted to do this one right. Yeah I could just take our two very little ones (both under age four), fight the crowd for a couple of loungers, rent out a locker, have to wander the park to find food, drinks, and ask the question “I thought they were with you?” fifteen times.
Yeah…no. That’s not me.
SeaWorld Aquatica Accommodations
Yeah sure, SeaWorld does animals, they do rides, and they do a serious Halloween event, but how about a water park experience? I picked up a reservation for a Whanau Waters Cabana. The check-in process was the only real downer to this upgrade. The website specifically tells you to head to a Guest Services window near a gift shop. They, in turn, sent us into the park itself and down to the Stingray Feeding kiosk. Once there, we were sent to a THIRD location where two cheery staffers were happy to finally escort us to our cabana.
Meh, all in all it was a minor annoyance.
The cabana was pricey, but ultimately worth it for quite a few reasons including:
- Location! This particular cabana (they only have six available in this area) was nestled between two kiddie areas.
- The cabana was gated off and you had to wear a VIP waterproof wristband to help ensure privacy.
- Complimentary locker
- Complimentary EIGHT bottles of water in a fridge in the locker ($5 a pop)
- Complimentary bottle of sunscreen (SPF 30) in the locker
- Complimentary snack tray including fruit, chips, and cookies (About $50 worth)
- Ceiling fan included in the cabana
While the ceiling fan didn’t do a whole lot unless you closed up the cabana (who would do that in June??) the rest of it was very nice. The “upgraded” furniture was one VERY deep couch and one comfy chair instead of plastic loungers. Every so often, a SeaWorld staff member would come by and make sure we had everything we needed. PLEASE note there is no place to charge up your devices. No plugs, no USB ports. Be sure to bring a power bank if you need it.
The one problem we ran into was with the mobile ordering of food and drinks. Although the ONE restaurant in the entire Aquatica park offered up chicken nuggets, salads, pizza, and burgers, the only “entrée” we could order was a family sized pizza combo. The meal included four bags of chips (not snack sized, pretty solid bags, and $7 each if ordered a la carte) and four drinks (again at $5 a pop).
When ordering the pizza, I didn’t get the choice of chips or drinks. They had to send a staff member by to get that info from us. Why only pizza? Why can’t we order specific drinks and chips on the app? That didn’t make sense to me.
The food did arrive quickly though, which again was a real plus. The time it took to order and get our food was no doubt faster than if we had walked all the way up to the restaurant and gotten it ourselves.
While there are plenty of “snack” places around that have $13 hot dog combos, churros, a variety of ice cream, as well as several bars for mom and dad, there’s just the one restaurant. Plan accordingly.
Rides, Rides, Rides!
While there were plenty of rides available for the “big kids”, there was a lot for the entire family to enjoy. Yes, the ever-popular “wave pool” is a notable destination, but so was “Walkabout Waters”. This giant-sized funhouse guarantees laughs and that you will not walk out of there without getting soaked.
Sadly, not every aspect of WW worked as some pumps, water features, and other gimmicks weren’t functional. The massive water dumps definitely operated just fine, as my buddy Frank can attest to.
The lazy river was plenty lazy, with no waterfalls running at all and it’s length being shorter than I was used to. There were a few water jets and current pushers, but “Loggerhead Lane” left a bit to be desired.
When it comes to the wave pool, be on your guard. While in knee deep water, my wife was definitely trying to keep her balance and her eyes on the two kiddos while they were knocked around. It may not be the largest wave pool in the region, but it can pack a punch.
Words to the Wise
Worried about the safety of your little ones? So is SeaWorld and Aquatica. Two different lifeguards confirmed for me that a whopping 14 of them are on duty in the kid areas. In addition, I saw more than a few EMT’s wandering around, patrolling various parts of the water park.
If your little one is REALLY little? Grab one of the plentiful life vests around. If they are under 39 inches in height they will need one for sure. Smaller than that? Better have those swim diapers handy as they are mandatory for the park.
Go see some wildlife! You can touch stingrays (safely) at Aquatica as they swim past you. Want more interaction? How about feeding them for just a few dollars? But you wanted MORE? Yes you can wade into the pool and hang out with them for $15 a person. There are also two different locations where you can see tortoises big enough to ride (THAT animal experience doesn’t exist, don’t try it).
What OTHER news have you been missing? Check out our home page for news from us and from around the geeky spectrum. Our website updates as the news is released so keep hitting that refresh button so you’re up to date!