Take the kids: SplashDown Beach Water Park
GalleriesSplashdown Beach Water Park in Fishkill
With summertime heat around the corner, it may feel like there's no way to beat the Hudson Valley heat. But a visit to SplashDown Beach Water Park in Fishkill, open May 25 through Sept. w, should cool you down in no time.
From high-speed thrills and daring dunks to lapping waves and gentle sprays, the place that calls itself "America's biggest little water park" has an array of fun options for kids and adults alike.
Navigating SplashDown with kids in tow is easy -- the pavement doesn't get too hot for bare feet and the park is small enough that little legs won't tire out as they walk from one attraction to the next. And safety comes first: There are life vests in assorted sizes draped along roping that lines the paths, the certified lifeguards are vigilant and the park staff is courteous and attentive. The grounds and water are exceptionally clean (water cleanliness is tested every half-hour on average) and the bathrooms, which have changing stalls roomy enough to fit a parent and a couple of kids, are kept spic and span.
There are rides, slides and pools to suit the daring, the timid and those in between. Here's a rundown of what the park has to offer:
New for 2013:
The Big Bird show lets the audience get a close look at colorful macaws, parrots and flight birds doing tricks and mimicking humans in a show presented by animal trainer Wendy Horton.
Riders (who must be at least 42 inches tall) will gain speed and drag race others to the bottom of the twisty Arctic Plunge Racer.
For the little ones: Dizzy's Water Whirler is a spinning teacup ride featuring Dizzy, from Bob the Builder’s Can-Do Crew!
The Bullet Bowl, a high-speed tube ride, is not for the faint of heart. There's plenty of time to lose your nerve as you climb up four stories and then get into a one- or two-person tube. There's a steep, tummy-turning plunge through a dark, 200-foot long tunnel culminating in the bowl-shaped "centrifuge of terror," which you'll zoom around until you're shot out the bottom. There's a 42-inch height requirement.
Don't be embarrassed if you scream on the Humunga Half-Pipe, another four-story tube ride that has one-person tubes and two-person rafts streaking down, then up, then down again before finally slowing and coming to rest at the bottom. There's a 42-inch height requirement.
Zip down one of three colorful, 300-foot body slides at Cowabunga Falls and experience tunnels, twists, turns and a refreshing plunge at the bottom. The Falls aren't steep or scary like the more extreme rides, but are speedy and curvy enough to be exciting and fun. There's a 42-inch height requirement.
Get soaked in Pirate's Plunge, a one-person tube ride through a dark tunnel. You'll feel a small teaser drop followed by a drop so big you'll feel like you're flying. There's a big, satisfying splash at the end. It's a quick ride, so the wait is typically short. There's a 42-inch height requirement.
In the 400-foot-long Pirate's Revenge waterslide, two people at a time can experience back-to-back turns and even 360-degree loops. It's exciting and fast, yet not too scary. There's a 42-inch height requirement.
Swim through rolling, ocean-like waves in the Monster Wave Pool, a popular, crowded spot appropriate for all ages. The waves are turned on and off in cycles of about six to eight minutes with a buzzer to alert you when the next set of waves will begin.
Those who don't feel the need for speed can take a relaxing tube ride through the lazy river, Croc Creek. There are traditional tubes for grown-ups and big kids, and also some that are closed in the center to keep little ones from slipping through. The current is gentle in the two-foot, six-inch-deep pool. Small spilling buckets and fountain features are fun and refreshing, but also easy to avoid if you or your child dislike getting sprayed. There's a 42-inch height requirement.
There are no spray features or slides in the 100,000-gallon Coconut Pool, a three-foot, six-inch-deep pool open to guests of all sizes. Sun-drenched lounge chairs surround the pool, and those seeking the shade should snag a chair under one of four large umbrellas or a large shade-providing tree.
Four kid-sized water slides shoot out of a pirate ship in the Shipwreck Lagoon, which also has geysers, fountains, a row of squirting cannons and dumping buckets. The ship is set in a wading pool less than two feet deep, making this a low-stress place for kids to cool off.
Built especially for the 5-and-under set, the 1,600-square-foot Bob the Builder Splash Works aquatic playground has a play structure made to look like Bob's tool shed, two slides sized for tots and more than 50 interactive water features, including dumping buckets, fountains and spray features. Bob the Builder makes appearances, too. Kids have to be shorter than 42 inches to play here.
The One World Rainforest Show exotic animal exhibit is not quite a circus act, not quite a conservationist crusade, and thus may leave kids with a bit of a mixed message -- a captive Bengal tiger performing for treats and nuzzling its trainer seems somewhat at odds with the show's intended naturalist theme. Still, it's impossible not to be wowed by the sight of such a rare and impressive beast up close -- and it is really close. Monkeys, macaws, and other rainforest creatures make appearances as well. The show is included with park admission through July 1; show times vary throughout park hours.
No outside food is permitted in the park, but there's a picnic area adjacent to the parking lot if you want to pack a lunch -- just get a wristband on the way out so that you'll be readmitted afterward. Inside the park there's casual fare available at Cosimo's Pizza on the Boardwalk, Cosimo's Grill and Nathan's Famous Restaurant. Sweet treats are served at the Frosty Shack and the Boardwalk Candy Shoppe. Most lunch items are in the $3-to-$9 range.
If YOU GO
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from May 25-June 9 (as well as Memorial Day, Monday, May 27); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 14, June 17-21 and Aug. 19-Sept. 2; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on June 15, 16 and daily from June 22 to Aug. 18.
Cost: $29.99 for guests 42 inches and up for a full-day pass or $24.99 after 3 p.m.; $25.99 for seniors and guests under 42 inches for a full-day pass or $19.99 after 3 p.m.; $9 reusable swim diaper required for guests ages 2 and under
Info: 16 Old Route 9W, Fishkill; 845-897-9600; www.splashdownbeach.com