If it had been just a water park, it would have been fine; great in fact. BUT it was so much more!! Daytona Lagoon has pulled out all of the stops and in addition to the awesome water park complete with crazy slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, an area for tots and more, they also have things like inside obstacle climbing (with zip lining), an arcade to make even the big kids happy, go-karts, rock climbing, lazer tag and mini-golf. It's truly a great way to spend the day, and a most excellent way to have one last hurrah before school begins again.
We went on a day that was a little cloudy, but that was great because it meant no lines. :) I am standing on the second floor of the water park here looking down at the children's area (this one had a dump bucket at the top). One great thing about this park is that if you went up high, you could see almost everything and everyone in the park. I also loved the big buildings in the background. It was a good reminder that were were right next to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, which we would experience later that night. :)
If you look closely, those yellow and blue tents could be rented. They were in various spots around the perimeter of the park. Perfect for keeping babies out of the sun, or chilling if you'd had enough direct sunshine for the moment but still wanted to be close enough to keep a watchful eye on the kids.
We had a cabana on the second floor, which was really nice when the rain came (and it did briefly). The multi-colored cabanas come in different sizes. We opted for one with a table for four and a chaise lounge. You see my little mister there all stretched out. Ahhh, that's the life, isn't it? :) If you look closely, you can see a yellow button on the wall, on the left. That allows you to call one of the people in charge of the cabanas. They will bring you food, drinks, or whatever else it is you might be needing. In the far right you see a black box. That is a safe for your to store your wallet, car keys, or other valuables that you might have brought along. If you do not get a cabana, there are lockers you can rent on the lower level.
We weren't in our cabana for very long at all when one of the attendees came over with a tabletop bucket full of ice and bottled water. Ahh, just perfect!
This picture looks a lot like the first one I put up, but I wanted you to see the cabanas. They were colorful and cute. You can also see a bit of the lazy river, the wave pool, another children's water (this one had a mushroom waterfall), and another of the large slides.
We were lucky because even though the forecast called for brief thunderstorms, most of our day was storm free. When it did start to rain, I had just come up to the cabana to drink some cold water. I looked down to see where the kids were, and right beneath me...my daughter, her boyfriend (who was a good sport about all of my youngest son's 'Juan' jokes... "I 'juant' you to come here") & my youngest, the name prankster himself (you can barely see his head on the float next to them) were floating along the lazy river without a care in the world. Here they are under the 'bridge' and you can tell it's raining, but it wasn't a cold rain. It felt good to be standing (or floating in it), but then the thunder rolled and they ushered everyone out of the water.
By that time, everyone had worked up an appetite anyway, and we settled in to have some lunch. There were places to eat inside, but we opted to eat in the cabana. We ordered a party size pizza, and thankfully the attendee told us it was the size of four traditional large pizzas. Yeah, not for us. We opted instead for a large, which fed all four of us quite well. We'd have wasted a ton of food if we had gotten the party size. That would be a great option, however, if you had a large group with you. We saw quite a few field trips there (identifiable by their matching t-shirts). That would have been a great option for them. There were other items on the menu as well, all of the traditional American food selections you normally find at a water park were there. :) It was nice to sit in the covered area (with a ceiling fan) while the storm passed us by.
Just about the time we finished eating, the storm was long gone and it was time for us to get back to the water play. The kids headed to the big slides, and I headed to the lazy river. ;)
The water park was laid out very thoughtfully, with a lot of seating and plenty of shade outside. For those not swimming, or just wanting to chill in the air conditioning, there were a lot of places to sit inside as well.
Although we could have stayed at the water park portion of Daytona Lagoon all day long and been happy, we decided instead to get out and explore the dry park. The first area we went to was where they had the go-karts but because it had rained, they said we couldn't ride. The ground had to be 100% dry. I get it. Safety first. So, we headed into the arcade.
It was one of those huge arcades with things to do for kids of all ages (what, a Pac Man machine??? Oh yes, count me in, that's my fave #oldschool).
The boys raced each other here, and my son started out by saying he 'Juan'ted to beat his sister's boyfriend. Have you guessed the boyfriend's name yet? ;)
I liked that everything was life-sized.
And of course, if there's a basketball anywhere in the vicinity, my youngest is going to find it. He'd have used all of his play card time here, if we'd have let him. ;)
The kids went in to play some laser (or 'lazer' as the sign said) tag, and caught me trying to sneak a picture. They instantly lined up into a 'gangsta' pose that made me laugh, not only because they did it, but because they all thought of it at the same time. It's hard to see in the picture, but it was cute just the same. They had a good time in there, and it must have gotten pretty competitive because one crew who passed us called them 'cheaters' when we left, though they were clearly joking and just ribbing them because they'd been beat. My family is very competitive, lol, even my daughter who is quietly fierce about it (not a showboat about it, like her 3 brothers). :)
There was an obstacle course high in the air that you could climb, and all of the kids loved doing this...in fact, when it was time to leave, they went back up for another round. I'd say they did this thing about ten times, lol, which is good because it meant they were having a good time. Safety harnesses attach to you while you go through each of the challenges.
One thing to note, you have to have closed shoes. My daughter and son only had slides. Thankfully there was a gift shop inside of the facility (and in the huge gift shop, not related to Daytona Lagoon, next door) that sold water shoes. My son got a pair of those, and I happened to have tennis shoes and flipflops along with me, so my daughter wore my athletic pair. They were a bit too big, but they did the trick. ;) You also have to have a shirt/bottoms on, so don't come in with just a swimsuit on if you're right out of the water park, and if you're a fella, make sure to have a shirt with you too.
Here comes little man, down the zip line section of the challenge course. :) It was hard to get pictures because I had my point-and-shoot camera and it kept focusing on the ceiling lights. Still, I wanted you to see the set-up, because this was truly fun for the kids. Everything was, actually! Daytona Lagoon has got it going on when it comes to family fun. This is the kind of place you want to go with the whole family. It's great for bonding, playing and just generally having a good time.
The last thing we did was play a game of mini-golf. My daughter got the only hole-in-one of the day. That's how she rolls (get it? get it? sorry, I truly can't help myself), and then it was time to go get dinner. You could eat on-site. They have both inside and outside diners, but we were ready to go explore the boardwalk (a five minute walk) and have a sit-down meal on the beach. :)
We headed to the prize store, to turn in our tickets (won in arcade machines) and points from our play cards. The hardest thing here was deciding what to get. Even the big kids enjoyed picking out prizes. The boys conspired to get magic ink and throw it on my white outfit...I don't know why they thought that would alarm me. I'm a mother of 4, I know all the tricks (ha! #supermom). I should have retaliated at dinner, and told them I lost my wallet. Why didn't I think of that then? So much for #supermom status. ;) That's okay though, the day was perfect through and through, and I was happy to spend the time with the kids.
Tips to Know Before you Go:
- There is a parking garage right next door. Get your ticket validated inside of Daytona Lagoon and the fee is minimal. We paid $4 to park there all day long.
- You can rent cabanas that overlook the water park on the 2nd floor, or tents on the ground level
- There are places to eat inside and outside.
- There are showers
- Bring shoes! You can't climb on the inside attractions without close-toed shoes, fully enclosed and with at least a strap on the back.
- Bring shirts (boys) so you can play inside. Swimshirts are okay!
- There is a gift shop on site.
- There is a gift store next door (not related to Daytona Lagoon). They sell swim shoes if the gift shop doesn't have your size.
- The Daytona Beach boardwalk is a 5-minute walk
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