August 12, 2008

A dark lining in the silver cloud

I guess I should get the "dark lining" explanation out of the way first. I got sunburned—like a lobster! In fact, I think I now glow in the dark. But the "silver cloud" part is that yesterday we went to Splash Country, Dollywood's water park, and had a blast.

Splash Country's Lazy River

Splash Country is very similar to Dollywood in that the scenery and the landscaping is gorgeous. There are a ton of rides, from the mild to the ultra-extreme intensity spectrum. And, of course, there is water everywhere.

Our visit to Splash Country included the perfect day for such a visit. The temperature was in the mid to high 80s, making it warm enough for us to really enjoy cooling off in the water, but not so hot that we were uncomfortable as we strolled around the park or waited in line for the rides. The sky was a deep blue with just enough clouds to give the sky definition and variety. We could not have asked for a more perfect day.

We began the day floating around the park on the "Lazy River." I could have stayed there all day. Other than the splashes from David jumping off of his inner-tube or the sensation of feet kicking our backsides as David swam under our inner-tubes, it was a very peaceful ride.

That's David coming down the left slide

But apparently David's fright from the previous day's Mystery Mine encounter had tempered because he was certainly ready to get back to the high intensity rides. He started with a rafting ride that begins way up high and runs down a tube through a series of twists, turns, spirals and drops and then shoots you out of the end of the tube down a huge drop and into a large pool. David loved it!

Then after some time at the wave pool, David and Kim rode the water drop slide. This thing is huge! It's a simple water slide except that it has a 100-foot drop that remains essentially vertical for three-quarters of the drop. Then it begins to bend to horizontal. By the time you reach the bend, you're traveling at a speed of 63 miles per hour. Again, David loved it. He and Kim both did this slide. I wisely stayed on the ground and photographed them. Kim said lots of water got in her nose. David said, "Woohoo! That was awesome!"

Splash Country also has a couple of large playgrounds sporting a variety of water-themed things for the young children all the way up to the old children (like Kim and me). One of the playgrounds is more gentle and seems to be intended for young children (up to about teen-aged).

Water, water everywhere

The other playground is huge and has the most amazing things in it for the kids to play with and enjoy. It's basically a huge jungle gym with things to climb on, slides everywhere, and all kinds of role-playing, adventure items. But scattered everywhere are twists on these themes that include water. Above two of the slides are large buckets on swivel hinges. These buckets fill with water as long as they remain upright. When the children turn them over, they dump their water on the slide below. So the more devious children (that would be David) can stand up above the slide and flip the buckets over at just the right moment to douse the kids sliding down the slide with about two gallons of water.

But these buckets of water are very small compared to the huge bucket at the top of the whole playground. This bucket holds more than 200 gallons of water. It has a high capacity pipe of water feeding it at all times and the full 200 gallons fills up about every 10 minutes, at which time that huge bucket tips over and dumps the 200 gallons of water over the whole playground. It's like a tidal wave every ten minutes.

Kim and a tired David at Splash Country

At the end of our day, David was exhausted but happy. Kim had gotten a decent tan and some good exercise. And I was burned to a crisp, but had a bunch of great photos.

We got to bed at a more reasonable time last night, so now we're ready to head back to Dollywood and see if I can exacerbate my sunburn some more. Oh, we might also ride some more rides and look around some of the cool shops and take another two or three hundred pictures.

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