Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe
My Dad swears I have been to a water park before; I swear I haven't. Who do you believe? I will say that if I have been before it was a looong time ago, and water park etiquette is something completely new to me. Do you take food in? Clothes? Shoes? Cameras? How does it all work?! Very confusing!
Well I was happy to navigate these uncharted waters for a day of fun with C and my parents. This was an exhausting day of entertainment and laughter and good memories.
Wet 'n Wild is in Greensboro, and took me just over an hour from Chapel Hill to get there - a very easy and manageable drive as it is right off the interstate. The park is huge (see the link below for a large map)! There were all sorts of daredevil rides and slides for older kids; there were 3 separate areas for toddlers and tots that included swings and slides and sprays; I saw beach volleyball; one area was a sandy playground for kids; there was a lazy river, tubes and tunnels, and even a wave pool. This park has a lot to offer.
Albeit, this is an amusement park and, therefore, is not cheap to get into. Parking is $7. Tickets are $33.99 for folks over 49 inches and $22.99 for folks under 48 inches. Kids 2 & under are free. There are discounts for seniors as well as other discounts such as AAA. I highly recommend purchasing online before you go. You can be up for discounts, but you also avoid waiting in line when you arrive.
So let's talk etiquette. First, people get there early to set themselves up with lounge chairs. Like any pool place there are chairs all over this park. People want to get the best ones. If you get there early enough, you can get chairs near the wave pool or toddler pools (prime real estate). Under an umbrella or other shade is even more coveted. If you don't get there early enough, you can probably still find some chairs together somewhere- there are chairs all over the park. There are also cabanas available for rent. These cabanas have service, shade, and you can also have alcohol at some (and cost around $100; whether it's worth it would just depend on how many people you have splitting that tab!).
You can not bring coolers in but you can bring some food into the park. If you want to pack a lunch you check your cooler outside, leave the park for the picnic area, eat, and return to the park with a wallet not quite as bruised. Even outside the park, though, no alcohol or glass in the picnic area. (Hey parents, this isn't Disney so you can get a beer at some select vendors inside the park.)
There are standard amusement park vendors all around, of course, if you want to purchase food there. (For reference, 1 large pizza and 4 sodas will be about $28.)
Lockers are inside for rent, of course. Locker access is available all day (it isn't like lockers at ski resorts where you have to stick in $1 in quarters every time you want to open it.) You can get away with leaving some stuff on your chair, but I wouldn't go crazy with that. At the beginning of each ride are stands for you to leave your shoes, camera, whatever other small items you want. And do take your flip flops around the park with you, despite what your dad says: that concrete gets HOT. Stroller are allowed in the park and can be pushed around easily.
You will want to bring in towels, but there are life jackets of all sizes throughout the park available for grabs. And some rides do require life jackets for kids.
We really did enjoy this park. There was so much here for every age. My toddler had fun in the large, shallow toddler pool. With an octopus dangling swings from his tentacles, slides, a submarine, and fountains spurting up, there was so much to see and experience. (FYI there is even a changing station for kids near the toddler pool, a nice little touch.) My dad had fun heading down some of those vertical drops.
This was a great way to spend a special summer day. It's a splurge, but at the end of a very hot summer, it's a great way to create memories and have fun.
Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park
3910 South Holden Road