Deep within the dreary depths and freezing temps of winter, I like to reminisce about the warm and laid-back days of summer. I’m definitely a sun and surf kinda girl, and it’s always nice to look back over summer time pictures taken at the beach and waterparks. I thought I would take this time to recap a couple of my favorite waterpark trips.
As long as I’ve lived in Virginia, and as often as I’ve visited Busch Gardens, I am a little bit ashamed to admit that I had never been to Water Country U.S.A. Part of the SeaWorld/Busch Gardens family, this ‘60s surfer-inspired waterpark is just a short drive away from Busch Gardens Williamsburg. This past summer was our first visit to the slippery, slide-y fun of Water Country, and we will definitely be making it a more frequent destination.
A giant wave pool, the Hubba Hubba Highway lazy river, several kiddie areas, and a large collection of tame and exciting water slides make Water Country U.S.A. a fun afternoon or all day excursion.
With a name inspired by the meeting of water and gravity, Vanish Point is one of those way-too-scary-for-me “drop” rides. Simply step into the skybox and down you go. Make that straight down a 75-foot high tower.
Nitro Racer is a set of six single rider lanes where guests lie on a mat and “fly” to the bottom. This slide starts out fairly high up there, and I admit that I got a little freaked out as I looked down the hill from my mat, but once I pushed off, it was incredibly fun. My little surfer girl absolutely loved Nitro Racer and proceeded to race to the bottom at least three or four more times.
I would say that Meltdown was my favorite. Seating up to three riders in a toboggan-style tube, Meltdown’s steep banks and 180-degree turns send guests flying down a 701-foot flume. Don’t worry, there’s a three-foot pool at the bottom.
Many of Water Country’s slides require life vests for riders that are under 42”. Riders under 48” must be accompanied by a supervising adult. Please check out the Water Country website for height requirements so as not to end up with disappointed daredevils.
One of my favorite things about Water Country U.S.A. is the beautiful landscaping and availability of natural shade. Thanks to the forests of Williamsburg, many of the slide queues are lined by shady trees, so you are not standing in a pool of sweat as you make your way to the front of the line or the top of the tower. It also makes for really pretty scenery while you’re watching your child race down a slide for the seventh or eighth times.
If you go:
- Have a plan for where to meet if you get separated. Water Country’s Hubba Hubba Highway lazy river has a couple of exit areas, so it is easy for little ones to get confused and get out at the wrong exit. I watched that exact scenario take place. The kids were quickly reunited with their parents with the help of park employees, but I prefer to avoid that type of stress altogether.
- The current in the Hubba Hubba Highway is rather strong. Grab a life vest and hold on!
- I recommend water shoes for the Surfer’s Bay wave pool. It can get quite hot walking from the water to your lounge chair.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen.
The Busch Gardens two-park, one year pass includes unlimited visits to Water Country U.S.A. I also just noticed that the Platinum Pass, which includes all 11 of the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks, has now gone to a one-year instead of a two-year pass, making it a bit more affordable. I love visiting SeaWorld Orlando, and haven’t been to Busch Gardens Tampa in years, so I might just have to check out that option.
Coming in 2014
As if there weren’t already enough reasons to visit Water Country, next summer will see an all new mega slide at the Williamsburg waterpark. High speed action and adrenaline pumping adventure are moving into the park in the form of Colossal Curl.
“Hanging ten will have a whole new meaning for Colossal Curl riders,” said Larry Giles, vice-president of engineering for Busch Gardens and Water Country U.S.A. “There is nothing else like it in North America.”
Built in response to the popularity of the park’s first thrill ride, Vanish Point, Colossal Curl features a funnel that swishes and swirls guests back and forth before whirling them through the ride’s enclosed tubes on their way to a wave element that hurtles them high above the park. Colossal Curl is being built near the park’s main entrance.
“Vanish Point was our first big thrill slide that had riders saying ‘Wow’ and Colossal Curl will now get the same reaction,” Thomas said.
The next big wave in water slides, Colossal Curl, is coming just in time for summer 2014. Read more about it right here. Listen all about it right here …
Want to win a VIP pool party school trip to Water Country USA and be one of the first to ride Colossal Curl? Click right here to find out how.