We were semi-disappointed upon arrival at the Splash! La Mirada Aquatic Complex.
From now on, I shall refer to Buccaneer Bay as the nanny state water park due to their forcing T to wear a life jacket when he’s been water-safe, swimming independently, and riding solo on 100+-foot water-slides for almost three years. There was no option for T to take a swim test for the attractions, only for their adjacent pool. This was perplexing as the water in the large pool is a lot deeper than any of the attractions’ pools, and there are many more lifeguards on duty at the slides than the one or two I saw at the regular pool.
Additionally, the height requirements for about half of the place (the slides that are smack in the middle of the place teasing those who can’t ride) is not so clearly stated on the Buccaneer Bay part of the website. After returning home, I finally found where that information is buried (in this FAQ tab). I would have measured and re-measured T before making the drive, but even if I had done that, and despite T measuring clearly at their 48-inch line, we got workers telling us he had to clear the line to be eligible for all attractions (?!), so no bigger slides for him. Knott’s Soak City (where T went during summer camp this season) I feel does much better at outlining who can ride on what at what size on their website. T had rave reviews after his visit to Knott’s and never mentioned feeling like he missed out on anything; comparatively, he was pretty disappointed and didn’t let a moment go by without saying something about his being kept from that greater portion of Buccaneer Bay.
Also worth noting before you visit: No outside food is allowed other than sealed water bottles; you can count on at least a 30-40 minute wait in two different lines at the snack stand during lunchtime; and they can lay claim to fame for the grossest locker room ever also (we went to a public beach facility later in the day that was pristine comparatively). I spared you photos of any of this blight as I feel words are enough to convey that hardship (insert first world problems hashtag here).
However, there’s good news and good times to be had should you decide to spend your last official summer weekend out at Buccaneer Bay, otherwise I wouldn’t have spent two hours of my time putting this post together for you.
First, lunch was worth the wait. The fresh-grilled hot dogs were a nice touch after enduring the long lines and scads of grumpy, whiny, hungry kids milling about. It was nice there was an option to buy lunch, snacks, drinks, and treats on site also so we didn’t have to lug a cooler of food with us on a long drive from home (one less thing for us to carry in also). Next time, we’ll just need to remember to get in line earlier to miss the lunch rush and perhaps help keep the hunger-whining at bay from our end.
Furthermore, we LOVED Buccaneer Bay’s lazy river. The proof is in the photos. I can say that we took about 75 or so pictures of our day out at Buccaneer Bay, and the super-majority of those were taken while on the river (waterproof camera, don’t worry). Honestly, there wasn’t a single photo that showed any hint of disappointment because if there was I’d have shared it above!
And let me count the ways we loved that lazy river…
The random “bucket dumps”…
The sprayers along the sides and under the bridges….
Wait, did I say tubing? I guess T’s wearing that life jacket wasn’t such a terrible lot in life after all when tubes were hard to come by… which they are, by the way, so get lazy, grab a life vest, and be patient because that too is worth the wait.
The people – staff and visitors – and place overall was also pretty chill. Guests were pleasant and everyone seemed very chatty with their fellow chair neighbors. The friendly, approachable staff also made it difficult for me to get angry with them over the height limitations they imposed. After all, they’re just doing a job. It’s not as though they set up those silly rules, right? So that also helped to alleviate any disappointment we experienced. And the other smaller attractions really were a lot of fun, too.
Oh, it also helped that we had a Groupon that was 2 admissions for a low $19 (value of almost $40). Every good mom knows that a great deal can help alleviate most if not all inconveniences experienced, especially when it involves the kidlets.
In summary, unless you can score a great deal like we did with the Groupon, I’d not recommend this for kids T’s size-age (47.75 inches and almost 7 years old). For the drive we did (about 35 minutes and 20ish miles), I feel that our limited experience would have been a rip-off for full-fare ($40ish for our 2 admissions plus $15ish for lunch plus gas money). Exception: If your child is T’s size-age and really won’t care about missing out on that big set of slides, or you have kids much shorter-younger or taller-older, I bet they’ll love it here. I saw kids of all ages having a great time at every turn, from toddlers to teens.
Heck, even we (us?) moms can have fun at a place like this.
We will definitely return to Splash! La Mirada’s Buccaneer Bay… when T is 49 inches tall. We just don’t want to risk anything on height at this place.
This just in! Per Splash! La Mirada’s Facebook page, they now will be open weekends not just through the end of this month but will also open on Saturdays in October 2014! You can look at all the good deals to be had here. They’re also open tonight from 5:30-9 p.m. What better way to spend Talk Like a Pirate Day 2014?! Splash! La Mirada / Buccaneer Bay is at 13806 La Mirada Blvd, La Mirada, CA 90638. For more information, you can go to their website or call (562) 902-3191.