Looking for an inexpensive family trip that is close to home? Look no
Last week, my
husband and I decided to take the kids for a visit to Americana Waterpark in
Niagara (on the Canadian side, so no passports needed). Each year they have a
BOGO deal in January and February where you can stay 2 nights for the price of
1! The offer is valid Sunday - Thursday for a few weeks in the winter months
and is definitely worth it. Altogether our stay for 2 nights and 3 days
including all our water park passes was $215! For a family of 5!
The waterpark has a great variety of activities geared at different age
groups. There is a shallow wading pool equipped with baby swings, and small
waterslides for the toddlers and babies. This is where we spent most of our
time, and my oldest who is 4 would have been totally content to just hang out
here the whole time. There is also a small wave pool for babes in arms or kids approximately
6+ to be able to touch the bottom on their own. Then of course there is a large
wave pool with huge waves that get progressively deeper the farther you go, so
even my 4-year-old was able to enjoy this pool with the assistance of a puddle
jumper (and Dad close by of course). There is also a playground looking
structure equipped with small tunnel water slides, and of course a huge bucket constantly
filling with water ready to dump on unsuspecting guest as they walk by. Then,
there are the giant water slides, some of which are totally enclosed (and pitch
black inside) that even go outside! These ones were great for older kids/teens
and of course my husband. Kids who are brave enough could also go on these with
a parent if they are tall enough.
Overall, this waterpark is great for families of all ages and stages, but I
found it particularly enjoyable having small children because unlike some of
the larger waterparks, it was easy to keep them contained and in view at all
times (which is usually extremely difficult with 3 kids 4 and under).
Now that I have outlined the perks of our stay, I just want to give some
pro-tips that I learned during our first visit:
Bring flip flops: we walked to and from the waterpark
with our bathing suits and winter boots on – not the best look. We could have
just used the family change rooms there, but our room was so close to the
waterpark that it just made sense to go already dressed. Next time, we will
definitely be bringing sandals/flip flops.
Wristbands: you will receive a wrist band for the
waterpark for each member of your family when you check-in. If your child does
not want to wear the wrist band, you can wear it for them. If at any point your
wrist band becomes damaged (or your kid is screaming because they want it off
even though they told you repeatedly that they wanted to wear it – which is
what happened to us) you can go to the front desk and get a replacement as long
as you give them the old one.
Bring cash: there is an arcade that you have to walk through
to get to the waterpark, and inevitably your children are going to want to play
the games; and who are we kidding, you will too. I was mesmerized by the ski-ball
machine – took me right back to the 90s.
Bedtime: we have 3 children, and our 18m old goes to bed
at 6pm. What worked for us was that Mom or Dad brought the two bigger boys to
the arcade to play while the other parent stayed in the room to get the little
one to bed. We also brought a white noise machine, which I highly recommend.
Since it is impossible to get excited children to be quiet as they run through
the hallways, there was some extra noise, but with the noise machine it didn’t
disturb us or the children at all.
Food: breakfast is not included in your package. They
have a buffet breakfast that looks delicious, but it is quite expensive. What
we did was bring all of our own food and store it in the fridge in the room.
For breakfast, we made breakfast sandwiches using eggs already scrambled and in
a carton – just pour some in a ramekin and microwave for 1 minute and voila!
Egg bites! I ate them as is, and my husband put them on croissants with
microwave bacon to make our own in-room breakfast sandwiches. We also brought
instant oatmeal which was the perfect breakfast for the kids. The coffee in the
room is not great, but there is a Tim Hortons super close to the hotel. There is also a Fresh Co. literally right
next door for if you need more groceries, or you forget cutlery and dishes like
I did. There is also a Boston Pizza in the hotel.
Parking: you do have to pay for parking (I believe it’s
$20 per night). If you get a room on the first floor, you can pull your car up
to the sliding doors of your room for easy unloading and packing up of all of
your stuff, since let’s face it – you’ve got a lot of stuff if you are
travelling with kids.
7. The chlorine: one thing I wasn’t prepared for was the
level of chlorine that is in the water. They state on their signage that they
have higher than usual levels of chlorine in the water due to the volume of people
coming in and out of the water park (and probably because of all of the kids). I
have very sensitive skin, and so my skin was very irritated after we had been
in the water for a while. Thankfully, my kids and husband were just fine and
nobody else had any irritation. We had showers immediately after leaving the
waterpark each time, I would just bring a body balm next time to use as a
barrier before, and lotion to use after.
So, there you have it - our first trip to Americana was a success, and I
definitely feel more prepared with all of this knowledge that we acquired for
the next time. Hopefully this information benefits you as well, and we see you
there next year!