This morning, while walking back from a trip to th take the dogs to the groomers and a quick stop at Starbucks, I realized it was already 9:15 am. Crap! It was later than I thought and I still had to pack. I hurried the last few blocks to my house to get my thirteen year old packing and went to shower. 30 minutes would not be enough time to shower, pack lunches, change and pick up 2 other teens. I gave up the shower part and substituted it for a quick face wash. I was just going to lay around in a hat and a swimsuit anyways.
Fridays are my day off from work. And like last year, Katie and I decided to spend Fridays at a Southern California water park. There are three in SoCal to choose from, each with season passes:
Knott’s Soak City
Six Flag’s Hurricane Harbor
The passes ranged from $47.99 t0 $59.99 at each place with an additional $50 bucks or so for parking. That’s pretty pricey. But it gives my kid 8-10 weeks of Fridays in water slide heaven. 3 of her friends got passes as well, which means she has other teens to run around the park with and not her lame mom. I shuttle them to and from the park and guard the coveted lounge chairs littered with beach towels while they roam from water slide to wave pool. We go from about 10 am to 3:30 pm, trying to avoid as much of the LA traffic as possible. We were a bit late today, owing to my lack of attention to time and the fact that we had to go back to the house for our season passes after we left, But we had another full day of sun.
Tips for water parks:
- Discounts: There are always discounts somewhere so look around. Soda cans, coupons, and even companies that sell discounted tickets. Ask your friends if their work place sells discounted tickets before you buy any tickets for full price. With season passes, they usually are discounted at the beginning of the season and go up as summer gets underway.
- Go early in the day. Parking and lounge chairs fill up quick. And unless you’re springing for an expensive cabana, you need to get in early enough to have a place to park your towels. If you don’t plan to sit a lot, then you only need one or two chairs for your stuff. I need at least one for me to lay around and read on, preferably with some afternoon shade.
- Bring your own food. The food at these places is way too expensive. $10 for chicken strips and fries, no way. Most places have a picnic area outside of the water park for you to eat your packed lunches (they don’t let you bring it in, although I have snuck in snacks and water bottles wrapped in towels).
- Have a watch and a plan. I don’t have a watch. But my kid does, and it’s water-resistant. She rides the water slides with it and we coordinate meeting times. The rules are they stick together, and we meet back for lunch at 1pm and then leave at 3:30pm. I don’t want to wander through crowded masses in swimsuits looking for my kids. Lunch is also the time I force them to reapply sunblock. Also, while they are gone, I know I have enough time to indulge myself in an ice cream cone as a reward for driving around teenagers.
Last of all, enjoy it! Your kid’s summers with you are numbered. Head down the occasional lazy river with them. As Gretchen Rubin says, The days are long, but the years are short.