I’ll never forget reading about Alabama Splash Adventure on my good friend’s Instagram account last year:
“Such a fun day at the water park! I have to say, since I grew up in Orlando around many water parks, including Disney ones, that I set my expectations pretty low for this one. But, it did not disappoint! My kids had a BLAST and are already asking when we can go back!”
She had me at Disney. And her kids are the exact same ages as mine, so naturally, I was intrigued and we took our kids shortly thereafter. Fast forward to today, we took our kids back and had just as much fun (if not more!) now that they’re a little bit older.
We arrived right when the gates opened (10:30 a.m.) and proceeded into the park. We were greeted with a fun, colorful “Main Street” of shops and restaurants as we made our way to the water park portion of Alabama Splash Adventure. We got a locker (which, might I add, blew my mind!) The lockers open when you scan your wristband bar code. How amazing is that? No need to keep up with a locker key or remember a combination code. Then we were off to play!
Salamander Bay, Splash Island, and Pirates High Dive Show
We started our adventure in Salamander Bay, a toddler/preschooler-friendly play area complete with several slides our kids could maneuver all by themselves (win-win-win!!) as well as sprinklers, climbing toys, and a water see-saw. Surrounding the pool play area were deck chairs covered by large shady umbrellas.
When we left Salamander Bay to check out Splash Island, both kids pitched fits, not wanting to leave. We had to keep reassuring them we were just going to check out some different slides, and they finally caved! Splash Island is a step up with larger slides and splash pad area, but still perfect for preschoolers to tweens. I LOVE that Alabama Splash Adventure lets us parents go down the slides with our kids until they feel comfortable going without us. Just like in Salamander Bay, Splash Island offers rows and rows of deck chairs and umbrellas for parents (and anyone) to sit and relax while the kids explore the eight slides suited just for them. Just off Splash Island, you’ll find the Pirates High Dive Show (with several shows daily) where acrobats put on a swash-buckling jumping and diving show for the kids, complete with pyrotechnics!
Wave Pool, Lazy River, and Castaway Island
After that, we headed to the Kahuna Waves wave pool (while my husband and I each took turns going down the nearby Upsurge Slide) before heading to the Warrior River lazy river for some rest and relaxation. With renewed strength, we headed to Castaway Island for another age-appropriate step up of slides and water fun. This area is well suited for mid-elementary ages and up, but also extremely fun for our preschoolers since they allow the kids to sit in our laps to ride the curly slides. This area was probably my favorite part of the park — I loved the size of these slides (more adult-friendly)!
FREE! FREE! FREE!
After all the fun, we were ready for some refreshments, which also did not disappoint! We enjoyed delicious pizza from Mama Linzetti’s for lunch. There are self-serve fountain drink stations set up next to the restaurants that you can walk up to at any time during the day and get yourself any ice-cold Pepsi beverage, lemonade, Gatorade, sweet tea or water — absolutely FREE! What? Yes.
While I’m on the topic of FREE, I must also point out that the park has various FREE sunscreen (SPF 30) stations (one less thing to lug around) — how fantastic is that? They have FREE life jackets available in all sizes as well. And . . . drum roll . . . that is not all! The park also offers FREE Wi-Fi. All you work-from-home parents now have no excuse not to take your kids to a day at the water park! Ha!
While I have mentioned kid-friendly attractions, I’ll now point out the slides that are appropriate for older children to adults: the new Freefall slide, Neptune’s Plunge (which my five-year-old and I rode together in a double inner tube), and Upsurge are all well worth the tall climb to the top and will have you wanting to get back in line as soon as you splash down after each turn. Be sure to also check out the Mist-ical Life-Size Maze and Wipeout Adventure Obstacle Course.
Did you know that Alabama Splash Adventure rents private, shaded cabanas so you and your family can take a break from the sun, take cat-naps, watch t.v. (yes!), charge your phones, cool off with a fan, or take a work conference call (remember the FREE Wi-Fi?)! It is such a genius idea — every theme park should have private cabanas!
And That’s Not All . . .
Did you know Alabama Splash Adventure also has a completely separate amusement park section? We were too worn out after our day at the water park last summer, but this year, we powered through, and I’m so glad we did! While we skipped out on fabulous rides such as Rampage roller coaster, the Dropzone freefall ride, and Yo-Yo flying swings (because . . . preschool kids), but we definitely enjoyed the Little Harbor boat ride, Centispeed (a roller-coaster for children), Splash Express Train, and Jump Around frog ride. There are so many fun age-appropriate rides for kids, so make sure to make time for them!
A Few Tips/Ideas:
- Bring a towel.
- Bring pool shoes because the summer sun, hot cement, and bare feet don’t mix.
- Bring a puddle-jumper if your toddler is attached to his or hers; otherwise, you can use the park’s FREE life jackets (all sizes). Kids can even wear puddle-jumpers and life jackets on the slides.
- Buy tickets online and earn a $10 credit to use in the park’s shops and restaurants.
- You can leave and come back. If your toddler is pitching a fit and is cranky because it’s nap-time; go home, let him nap, then come back refreshed and ready to play the rest of the day.
- Bring a shirt, shorts, and shoes if you intend to go to the amusement park section. You will not be allowed into the amusement park simply wearing your swimsuit and bare feet from the water park section. We wore swimsuit cover-ups and flip flops.
- As mentioned above, no need to pack sunscreen, ice, cups, or drinks — all are provided FREE in the park.
- Did you know Alabama Splash Adventure offers birthday parties?
- Season tickets make great birthday or Christmas gifts!
Where Am I?
I still can’t believe all this is in Birmingham’s back yard, and I had no idea until today! We felt like we were on vacation (or a staycation, daycation — whatever you want to call it), so much so that when we pulled off at our exit to go home, our oldest asked, “Are we back in Birmingham now?” Ha! Bravo, Alabama Splash Adventure. Bravo, Birmingham. We’re definitely adding this to our list of Birmingham must-see attractions.
All in the Family
The Alabama Splash Adventure owners — Dan Koch and his 87-year-old mother, Pat, aka “the General” — have 60-plus years of experience in the water park and amusement park industry. When they purchased Alabama Splash Adventure in recent years, they renovated, renewed, and re-visioned this theme park from the ground up, and their work ethic can be seen in the park each day. The Kochs are at the park from open ’til close each day personally greeting guests, cleaning the park themselves, and even making the funnel cakes.
Their strong leadership is evidenced in the cleanliness of the park as well as the extreme attentiveness, politeness, and professionalism exhibited by all the life guards and park employees. Trust me, you’ll be blown away at how well this park is run. My husband remarked on the way out was just how many lifeguards he noticed, and how none of them were socializing with one another or playing on their cellphones. Each lifeguard was incredibly attentive to their station, and we felt our children’s safety was in great hands.
Our kids are already asking when we can go back, and we’ve only been home one hour!