With discounted LivingSocial tickets in hand and our youngest son dropped off at Grandpa’s house, the hubby and I headed to Chesapeake Beach Water Park with our 3½-year-old son James to meet up with friends for a fun way to spend a hot afternoon! We had heard the park gets very crowded on weekends, so we went on a Tuesday.
The water park, located in Calvert County, was a 40-minute drive from Crownsville. We arrived around 10:30 a.m., parked (free), and sat with friends at a shaded picnic area to eat an early lunch.
The park states food and drinks are not allowed, but we were able to take in one water bottle per person. So we took the largest bottles of water we could fit in our bags.
What we didn’t anticipate was the huge line that formed around 10:30, so after our early lunch we had to stand in line for over 30 minutes to get in. Very challenging with a hot, cranky toddler. Once inside, it was impossible to find an empty beach chair to put our stuff on, as the park was incredibly crowded, even on a weekday.
I noticed you could bring your own beach chairs. Smart. I was glad we hadn’t brought a stroller, though, as it would’ve been impossible to maneuver. But we were able to find a small area near the pool to pile all our bags and towels. They do offer lockers, but we used a waterproof little bag that held our wallets and cellphones, thanks to a resourceful mom friend who lent me her extra one.
The water park offers two little “tot” splash areas where the depth isn’t more than a foot, and one area is even gated off. A winding “lazy river” twists around the park with multiple areas to enter and exit. Perhaps it was just very crowded that day, but we had to float along the river twice before finally snagging a tube for James to ride on.
In the middle of the park is a large splash pool where the depth ranges from about 2½ to 3½ feet. A floating alligator and snake are fun for kids to climb on. A large waterfall is in the corner. There are lots of little slides for kids to go down, as well as two larger slides. On the other end of the park are two big slides where kids must be taller than 48 inches to ride on.
James enjoyed the splash pool area, despite accidentally going underwater a couple times. We had forgot his Puddle Jumper float, so he would be walking along and suddenly get to a deeper part where he’d sink. But our friends’ kids who can swim or had floats on had no problems. One friends’ little girl, who is very sensitive to sounds, was struggling with the lifeguards blowing their whistles so often, but some ear plugs seemed to help solve that issue.
Overall, we had a fun time. I was very impressed at how clean the park was and attentive the lifeguards were. They were constantly whistling for kids to not run, roughhouse or climb on things they weren’t supposed to. They seemed to be taking their jobs very seriously. The park requires everyone to exit the water for 15 minutes every two hours while employees survey the pools and check the chemical levels.
On a personal toddler note, I was grateful there weren’t lots of water-spraying devices or buckets dumping water, as my son tends to hate those things at water parks. There was one “umbrella” structure that had water cascading over it, but that was it. Along the “lazy river” there were a couple spots where you float under falling water if you wanted, but it was easy enough to avoid.
I was happy we’d had lunch beforehand, as the food looked expensive. But we did splurge on a cup of Dip ‘n’ Dots before heading out around 1:30 p.m. Successful day at the water park: check!
Chesapeake Beach Water Park is located at 4079 Gordon Stinnett Ave., Chesapeake Beach. It is open Monday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. This Friday, Aug. 7, is the last extended hours night of the season, when it will be open until 9:30 p.m., weather permitting.
Ticket prices vary, with Chesapeake Beach and Calvert County residents paying reduced admission. Every Tuesday, grandparents get in for free with a paid admission of a grandchild. Chesapeake Beach residents get in for half-price all day and free 4-7 p.m. Season passes are also available.
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Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 3-year-old James and 1-year-old Luke.