How’s 2016 been going so far, you ask? Well, the two words that best describe 2016 so far for me have been busy and stressful. I feel guilty using the word “busy” because I know that word is thrown around as an excuse for everything anymore, but it certainly does apply to the past couple of months.
Each week has been filled with long days at the computer for my job, with my work schedule extending into many evenings as well due to new projects and needs. I was appointed to a facilities planning committee for our school district, too, with meetings for that scattered in every few weeks. And then there’s our typical weekly evening rotations of therapy appointments, dance lessons, PTO meetings, etc. Not to mention grocery shopping, bill paying, laundry, and all of the other daily life tasks of being an adult.
It’s enough to leave anyone stressed.
As a family, we were all feeling a bit burned out and needed a weekend that didn’t involve catching up on chores or going to meetings. So we recently escaped our regular routine for two days and a night at Castaway Bay in Sandusky, Ohio. (Disclosure: I was provided with a one night stay at Castaway Bay.)
Castaway Bay is the indoor waterpark resort owned by Cedar Point. It’s a little over two hours away from Columbus, and is just one attraction of many in the Lake Erie Shores and Islands area. And while it isn’t the only indoor waterpark in that area, it remains our family favorite. Here are five reasons why we love Castaway Bay!
Lots of waterpark fun, with something for everyone.
The waterpark itself doesn’t look especially big when you first walk in, but there’s a surprising amount to do packed into that space. There’s the large Lookout Lagoon Family Funhouse area with water jets and buckets all over the multi-story climbing structure to engage in fun water battles, along with a 1,000 gallon tipping bucket that drenches everyone in front of the structure every two minutes.
There are smaller open water slides for those less adventurous, and for those seeking a thrill there are three larger enclosed water slides and the Rendezvous Run water coaster that uses water jets to propel you uphill.
One side of the park is dedicated to the Castaway Bay Wave Pool, and on the other side there’s another pool that offers water basketball and floating animals you can climb on, as well as a toddler tide pool with gentle water elements to introduce the youngest family members to water fun.
And when you’re tired and just want to relax, there’s the indoor/outdoor hot tub called The Grotto. Both Cordy and Mira found it fascinating that they could be outside in 25 degree weather in just their bathing suits, and yet be completely comfortable because they were in a pool of hot water.
There is literally something to do for every family member, from baby to grandparent and everyone in-between. Cordy and Mira spent the majority of their time in the wave pool, although they also enjoyed going down the water slides and climbing on the turtle and dolphin in the other pool. Me? I spent ample time in the hot tub, soaking away my stress.
No worries about deep water.
My favorite part of Castaway Bay’s waterpark is that no water element is over four feet deep. Our kids aren’t the strongest swimmers, but knowing they can touch the bottom with their heads still above water in any pool helps me relax and be less of a helicopter mom. They could splash and play and go to different parts of the waterpark without me hovering over them at all times. I could enjoy myself without my anxiety on full alert, entirely relaxed.
Life vests are also plentiful and available for the smaller kids, and the lifeguards are at the top of their game when it comes to making sure anyone below a certain height has their life vest on for safety before entering any pool area.
The on-site food is great!
At Castaway Bay, you won’t go hungry. There’s Mango Mike’s with it’s enormous breakfast buffet, and next to it is Ebb & Eddy’s quick service dining, including ice cream and Starbucks coffee. (I need my Starbucks.) We’re big fans of the gigantic ice cream scoops at Ebb & Eddy’s. Would you believe this is the “small” ice cream cup for $2.50?
A new feature since the last time we visited is Quaker Steak & Lube, a chain table service restaurant featuring amazing wings, burgers, and a wide variety of sauces. The food was delicious, the service was outstanding, and the decor was fascinating to look at. It’s a restaurant I’d like to visit again soon.
You can meet your favorite Peanuts characters.
If you’re a fan of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the Peanuts gang, you’ll find there’s no shortage of your favorite characters around the resort. There are random encounters with the characters around the resort lobby, as well as scheduled times for meet and greets with Snoopy and friends at Camp Snoopy.
The night we were there, they had a dance party with the Peanuts characters, and then later in the evening we went back to Camp Snoopy for the Peanuts family movie and Story Time with Snoopy.
There are plenty of non-water activities, too.
Need a break from swimming? There are plenty of other family activities happening throughout the day at Castaway Bay. At Camp Snoopy, kids can do free arts and crafts, color their own Castaway Bay t-shirt or towel, or join in on a dance party or karaoke. On some evenings, cookies and hot chocolate are provided in the lobby before bed. And for the older kids, there’s a large arcade full of ticket games and traditional arcade games waiting to keep them busy.
Beyond the fun, the rooms are moderately large with comfortable queen beds and a mini-fridge. We loved the view of the water from our room’s balcony.
If you’re not staying the night at Castaway Bay (or choosing to swim more after checkout on your last day there), there are lockers available in the waterpark to hold your stuff. Also, no beach towels are needed unless you really want to bring them – Castaway Bay provides all of the towels.
There may be larger indoor waterpark resorts in the Lake Erie area, but Castaway Bay is the perfect size for our family. They have plenty to keep everyone busy, there’s never too long of a wait for any water slide, and the resort goes above and beyond to help you relax and enjoy the time together without going too far from home. We splashed, we laughed, we hugged Snoopy, and for the first time in weeks I went two days without a stress headache.
Want to experience Castaway Bay for yourself? I have four waterpark day passes to give to one lucky reader! These passes will admit you and three friends or family members into the waterpark for a single day – hotel stay and transportation is not included.
To enter, just leave a comment below telling me your favorite thing to do at a waterpark. Are you a thrill seeker and go for the water slides, or do you prefer to lounge in the wave pool or the hot tub? Entries will be accepted until 11:59pm on Friday, March 18th, one entry per household. After that date, one winner will be randomly selected and contacted. Winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner may be selected.
Good luck and happy swimming!