Water parks are a premium source of summer fun. There is so much variety and so many ways to have a good time, it is the exact kind of amusement park kids love to go to on a hot day. And if it is the dead of winter and there is snow on the ground, there are a multitude of indoor water facilities that provide the same fun, and sometimes even more excitement, than outside water parks. The gist is, water parks provide a year-round source of fun and amusement for kids and parents alike. Over the years, there has been competition to get more and more creative with the size and scope of water parks and their rides. There seems to be almost no limitation to how grand these parks can get. And it is not just teenagers these parks cater to anymore- they also aim to please a younger crowd as well. Big drops, waterfalls, lazy rivers, water toys, wave machines, massive slides, and big fun are always in store at a good water park.
With all the fun, there are some reservations that must come to light. Water parks do provide ample entertainment for all ages, but there is also risk and negatives involved. Like any activity, there are concerns that come along with the fun. These concerns can often make people sick or even cost them their health. In extreme cases, kids die. Waterparks are a serious business but they come with serious risks. And these risks should never be taken lightly. These, then, are 15 reasons to avoid water parks.
15. Food Service– Fast Food Trouble
So, when looking at waterparks we can pretty much define their menu as amusement park offerings with the vast majority of the food being fatty and processed. The trouble is, how busy that park is, impacts how quickly food is moved through its walls. Also, financial pressures have an impact on food cost and the “recycling” of certain food products. Let’s start with the menu. We are talking the classic “stadium” food of hot dogs, hamburgers, and nachos. All waterparks offer this and have moved toward a few adult offerings like chicken sandwiches and salads. The processed foods at these parks is guaranteed to give you heartburn. What’s more concerning are the holding temperatures for a lot of this food. Often times, cold food is not cold enough (35-40 degrees preferably) and hot food isn’t cooked hot enough (158-165 degrees depending on the items). Also, human error comes into play. With young employees dominating these parks, food standards from hand washing, food handling (wearing gloves), managerial oversight, cooking foods to proper temperatures, and FIFO (the method of “First in-first out” for food usage) goes by the wayside. Waterparks are a hotbed for contaminated food that doesn’t hold temperature and is served by dirty hands. Let the buyer beware.
14. Dirty Water– Calling Mr. Diarrhea
Ever been to a water park with your family? Ever come home and one week later most of you have colds or can’t get off the toilet? Welcome to the cesspool that is the water park. Sure, they put enough chlorine in their water to kill a horse. But, think of it this way- how many kids are peeing a few inches from where you just dove head first into the water? How many young kids have a little burst of fecal matter from their rear ends that you just swallowed whole? And how many kids have brewing illnesses that are about to explode? Welcome to the world of public waters. The waterparks are a hotbed for illness transfer because you have so many people (and so many children), confined to one area where water temperatures are kept near 80 degrees, a good temperature for bacteria to swim around in. Now, pool chemicals are supposed to reduce the risk of illness transfer, but they can’t prevent all of it. Remember, urine doesn’t just disappear the second it hits water. A pile of mucus that child just sneezed all over the water’s surface doesn’t magically disappear because chlorine is in the water. No, illness is passed on with regularity inside of these public waters and it can be a nasty result. Think three days of sitting and kneeling by a toilet nasty. That’s what we’re talking about here.
13. Misguided Trust– The Teenage Employee Party
What can go wrong when you put a large quantity of teenagers in charge of your life? Well, that’s what’s happening at waterparks. Aside from poorly-trained teenage lifeguards, teenagers dominate seasonal employment at water parks. They are responsible for safe guarding rides, recognizing danger before it happens, and serving you properly cooked meals. I don’t know about you, but when I think about a 15-year-old being responsible for my health, I cringe. Now, think about this person being in charge of your child’s well-being and it is enough to make you faint. But that is what we are doing by heading over in hordes to these water parks. We want fast rides and fast food. We don’t want to wait for anything and that presses these teenagers into a level of adult responsibility their young lives are not prepared for. The end result can be disastrous. Despite having numerous assistant managers (who are maybe in their early 20s) and shadowy managers in charge of them, teenagers essentially run these parks and we put our safety in their hands.
There is an inherent risk of danger at water parks. There is no limit to competition when it comes to developing various rides at water parks. The biggest and fastest often garners the most attention and keeps kids coming back for more. Kids and adults alike become danger seekers at these parks, wanting to push themselves to the limit. That often can lead to major safety issues. In addition to the big rides and thrill-seeking adventurers, waterparks also have limited eyes watching the hordes of children dipping below the water’s surfaces. According to a study done by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, published on nj.com, out of 522 injury incidents that took place at amusement parks over a 5-year period, 122 of them happened via water slides. Compare that to roller coasters that had only 39 during that same time period. That means if you go to a water park, you are nearly four times more likely to get injured there than on the biggest, craziest roller coaster the world has to offer. The danger may draw people, but it also is a big source and reason for the injuries.
11. Oversight– Safety Is Secondary To $$$
There is a serious lack of oversight with regard to water parks and that leads to safety breakdowns. The fact that many of the rides are exposed to water means there is an increase in the possibility of injuries and hazards. Take, for instance, a dangerous roller coaster ride that spins upside-down and travels at 40 mph; that ride generally has a safety harness along with a metal bar that holds passengers safely in place. Although you may shift and scream a little bit, it is far safer than the tiny Velcro strap that is holding a participant on a water slide. Because you need flexibility due to the uncertain movements of water slides and the rafts people sit in, you can’t firmly anchor down participants. This immediately creates a major hazard. Most recently, a young 10-year-old boy literally was decapitated when his Velcro strap came loose and he went flying out of the raft during a massive drop. The tragedy only highlights the need for better safety standards and more oversight of these rides.
10. The Crowds– Too Many People
If you aren’t crazy about being around people, a waterpark definitely isn’t the right place to go. With massive amounts of people filling small spaces, a waterpark can feel somewhat claustrophobic. At times, you feel like you are attempting to find Waldo when looking for your child. Waterparks have so many clones of your own child, it is almost necessary to keep them close, preferably on a leash, when attempting to keep a handle on their whereabouts. It is not easy to navigate through sweaty wet bodies for extended periods of time. Also, the splashing gets annoying. You can’t blame the children, but they are just excited to be at a massive water playground. So, they do what all children do, they splash and splash and splash. Undoubtedly, water is going to attack your face left and right and without warning. Expect bodies to be bumping into one another and keep a close eye on your children to make sure a larger person doesn’t land on top of their heads.
9. Long Lines– Waiting Forever
As an adult, if you have ever been to the Department of Motor Vehicles and seen a long line, you shake your head and know you may be in for a 30-minute wait. If you go to the doctor’s office and see it filled with sick people, you may not get in for an hour. But at a waterpark, you may be subjected to massive lines that require you to wait as much as an hour to go on a single ride (sometimes longer). The wait can be excruciating and a massive buzzkill. Like at any amusement park, the best rides require the longest wait. The worst part about the wait is that everyone is just standing there half-naked for who knows how long. It can be an arduous process that sucks the fun right out of the thrills. On a very busy day, you can spend 10 times as long waiting in line at a water park trying to get on rides than enjoying splish-splashing in the pools and flying on a raft through a tube. Patience is always paramount at a waterpark and many people just don’t have the stomach for it.
8. Bathing Suit Party– Welcome To The Skin Show!
There are two different ways to look at the “Skin Show” at a waterpark. The first is, “Wow, look at all of these beautiful people!” Depending on what you are into, the male and female species are both readily available for viewing at waterparks. The second is, “Oh, no, avert your eyes! Avert your eyes!” Sure, not everyone at a waterpark is a supermodel. So judging at these events can be rough and some people don’t really care how their body looks in a two-piece. This can be a rough go of it. We can throw another interesting scenario out there. Adults don’t want to get pegged as creepy as they look over older teens who “may” or “may not” be of age. This is where the creepy alarms tend to go off as sub 18-year-olds, girls and boys, can be difficult to identify at times. There is also the pitfall of the married man who brings his entire family to the park and gets caught by both his wife and older children ogling a hot young piece of tail. This, in itself, can be disastrous at a waterpark. The bikini and bathing suit show can go good or bad depending on who you are at a water park. Certainly, two attractive single people of similar age can get a good gander at what they might look like nude and could potentially make an awkward love connection. Yay.
7. Theft– Protect Your Stuff
It is far too easy for people to get robbed at an amusement park. There are often two different ways this can happen. The first is your car. Although these parks generally have safety mechanisms, like security cameras, some don’t watch the parking lot nearly as much as the park itself. Therefore, when you park your vehicle and begin the long walk to the park, you better make sure the car is locked and hoped a thief isn’t on the prowl. The thing about thieves in amusement park lots is that they know you aren’t coming back to your car for a pretty long time. That gives them the advantage of opportunity. So make sure your car is locked. The second way you can get into trouble is inside the park. A water park means you are in your bathing suit and your wallet is somewhere else. Often times you can lock it in a locker onsite for periods of time. But then you have to take it out to buy your family food. Pick pockets prey on people in these large parks. They strike when you look away, are in the bathroom, or leave important items in a stroller, if you have one. Aside from your wallet, phones and cameras are also easy targets for robbers. These parks are filled with villains so best to be careful.
6. Cost– A Small Fortune
It seems like anywhere you go these days, you are going to fork over a large amount of cash. With individual prices coming in as much as $50 a person and special yearly offerings rolling in at $100 and more, a waterpark can cost a small fortune for a family of five. The ticket prices alone are enough to gouge you just as you enter the door. Then, God help you if you decide to eat. The food costs alone are enough to drive you bonkers. They can greatly vary in range. Generally, food costs can be about $10 a person for a single hot dog and one soda. But if you go for the gold and get a dessert and more than just a single hot dog, the cost per person for a day at the park would grow to closer to $20 for a full meal, 2 drinks and a snack. That could put you at a smooth $100 for a family of five. Add that to the price of admission, which comes in at $40 or $50 per, and we are looking at at least $300 for a trip to the water park (not counting gas and tolls). Needless to say, the waterpark experience can be VERY expensive. Some guests try to bring coolers and reduce some of their exposure to these costs, and buying into the yearly plan of pursuing a “Family Pack” could help, but the gist is, if you are going to go to a water park, expect to pay top dollar for your fun.
5. Eye Discomfort– Bloodshot For Days
Seeing is kind of an important thing, so when visiting a waterpark, people should be prepared to have some issues afterward. A person’s body is most exposed in pools via their eyes. The eyes, when opened under water, consume large amounts of chlorine which greatly affects the ability to see. It is very important to actually see where you are going in a water park with the equivalent of rush hour traffic going on. That constant absorption of chlorine is enough to cause a person some serious eye issues. First off, the massive amount of chlorine is always good to leave you with a lasting effect of itchy sore eyes that can go on for days. Your eyes will become bloodshot and potentially reddened by the chemicals you were exposed to. Certainly, the high chemical concentration is in the water to limit people’s exposure to the millions of germs being dumped daily in the water, but it also will remind you that opening your eyes in heavy bouts of chemicals will definitely leave you with some messed up eyes for a few days. One alternative is to wear goggles at the park, but then you run the high risk of a terrible facial tan line and a lot of women steering way clear of you.
4. Bringing The Heat– Feel The Burn
Standing in long lines at the waterpark is enough to drive people crazy. If you have kids, it is hard enough to keep them focused and patient as you wait for rides. But there is another hidden danger at water parks that can really cause you some pain for days and days to come. And it sits in the sky, many, many miles away. The sun can be brutal at waterparks and can burn people terribly without them knowing it. Being in water all day, people often take for granted the effect of constant sun on their skin. When they get out of the water, they are wet and don’t feel the sun baking them. When they bob in and out of the water, their faces and shoulders take the brunt of the sunlight. Over the course of the day, the sun will have a tremendous effect on a person’s body. The worst of it won’t be felt the day of. In fact, people who get sunburn will often feel the worst of the sun’s effects the next day. Their skin will be hot the night of, but it will continue to be hot and gain in pain the following day. Sun tan lotion can help, but unless you are actively applying it every two hours, the lotion’s protection slowly trickles away.
3. Outdoor Trouble – Mother Nature’s Will
Many waterparks are situated outdoors. These parks are tourist destinations where people travel long and far to attend. Sometimes, a person ends up rolling the dice when they go to one of these “open air” attractions. A few major issues can come about when you go to an outdoor waterpark. Like let’s talk weather. First off, when you are dropping $300-$500 for your family to enjoy a day, you don’t want it negatively affected by the weather. And that is just what happens from time to time. You can have a cold breeze that makes everyone’s lives miserable. A 70° temperature with a cross wind is enough to make some shiver to their core while waiting in a long line for the next ride. What is worse is when rogue thunderstorms come around. A dash of thunder and lightning is enough to douse a day of fun with one rolling rumble. At that point, you and your family are literally hung out to dry. Do you seek shelter and wait until the stormy weather passes or do you pack it up and roll out? It is tough to leave a lot of money on the table and not enjoy a full day. But when you are at an outdoor water park, weather extremes can really hamper your day.
2. The Workout– Better Have Your Walking Boots On
Your adventure begins in the parking lot. Generally, waterparks are full of people. And when you have a lot of people, that means a lot of cars. The walk from the parking lot to the waterpark is a haul in itself. It is an endless trek just to enter the amusement park. Then you get into the water park and need a map of all the attractions. A map signifies a lot of walking. You move through the park, often in flip flops or water booties. Next, you have “the climb.” In many cases, each ride can have a large hike up a high staircase. When you include having to stand in line, every time you want to go on a ride, your calves are getting quite the reps on a Stairmaster. The walking, the standing, and the getting in and out of pools can quickly provide what amounts to be a heavy work-out for folks. Many people don’t realize how much walking they truly do at a water park until at the end of the day when their feet are killing them. Being prepared with good water shoes is a must- for a water park can be a lot of fun, but it can also tear up the bottom of your feet if you aren’t careful. And be ready to feel the burn, because the next day, your calves are sure to be on fire from the fun adventure.
1. The Jerk Effect– Fight Club
When you are forced into an area and have a large group of people from all walks of life, you are pretty much guaranteed to have issues. If you add in a lot of heat, long waits, tested patience, and constant food cravings, you get the idea of the high level of agitation that can erupt at a water park. This high level of agitation can lead to a variety of problems. Let’s first begin with the unsavory “cutters” of the world. They generally are groups of young males who have a “I don’t give a crap” attitude. They move around as if there are no laws that apply to them. And if they are steroid creations, odds are that the 16-year-old scrawny kid providing some line security isn’t going to say “boo” to them when they cut in line. These are also the first people to start other kinds of issues. Many times, they jump at the opportunity to start a fight. Look at them the wrong way (or just look in their direction) and they may just go from zero to 60 to go Hulk and start a fight for no reason. In a water park, people are shoved together like sardines, even if the park has good size. With that comes altercations and the need to deal with complete jerks throughout the day. A good strategy is to expect drama and avoid altercations, but alas, going to a water park pretty much guarantees some high level of frustration at times.