My family had a wonderful time during our sponsored stay at Water Park of America. The park itself is located adjacent to a Radisson hotel which provides a perfect opportunity for a staycation or part of a bigger trip to Minnesota. This post will give you a review of the park, the hotel, and has some tips for you to make your stay in Minnesota great. Make sure you watch our 3D videos of the park slides and the VR tour of the water park. While this trip was sponsored, the opinions are honest and my own.
Before I get to my review of the park and hotel, I wanted to let you know about a giveaway they are offering through us. It’s a family hotel room plus four passes to the park good for the day you check-in and the day after your nights’ stay plus hotel guests get an early checkin to the waterpark at 9am instead of the 11am regular open (valued at $300). Click the image below to sign up for a chance to win. Official rules and details on the linked page. Registration to win is open until this Friday! (Friday, February 5th, 2016)
Overall thoughts on the the Water Park of America and Radisson
We left for home exhausted from the fun. Two of our kids fell asleep in the car–and we haven’t had a napper in two years! They just didn’t want to stop playing at the park while we were there! As a parent, I know my kids are having fun and getting physical exercise at the same time when that happens.
To be honest, I was concerned about bringing four kids to a water park ages 3, 5, 7, and 10. Before I arrived, I had resolved that I would be running around chasing them the entire time. But to my surprise, it was very easy keeping track of them and I felt extremely safe with the three bigger kids going and playing on their own. The staff was very nice and there were numerous lifeguards who you could tell took their job seriously.
In fact, I have to give all the staff credit. I had worked with the sales department to arrange this trip and while I was taking the pictures for the VR tour below, an assistant director came out to see what I was doing with a tripod and big camera in the water park. While the conversation was awkward for about 5 seconds, it was quickly resolved and very reassuring that they cared enough for their guests to make sure they were protected.
The room at the Radisson was a neat set up. It was perfect for a family. When I saw it I immediately thought about how nice this would have been on my last road trip! Not many hotels have a separate nook for kids. It was a good balance between having privacy for my wife and I and being able to keep an eye on my kids. I have more about the room with pictures and a VR tour below.
Before moving on, I wanted to share a pericope of Danielle, the eCommerce Manager at the Radisson Hotel Bloomington, and myself taking a tour of the park. This is a great way to step into the park yourself and see and hear what it is really like. If you were following our trip live, you may remember this! Give us a shout out and say hi!
Video and VR tours of Water Park of America
I will update this section as more videos are processed. Make sure you come back in the future to see them.
Here’s a highlight of some of the content we made at the park: First, is a VR tour of the waterpark. I have three panoramas stitched together, plus the interior of our room. Drag the image to look around and click on the portals or the images below to change location.
Second, is the video of the family raft ride. You can see for yourself how much fun everybody had. On top is a high-definition video, below is a 3D video. In youtube, you can use the anaglyph (red and blue) glasses, or switch to a mobile device and view it stereoscopically. Or, of course, you can use a headset like oculus to watch too.
Third, is a video of one of their other slides. Same as above, we have a 2D and a 3D version for you.
The Water Park of America had a great mix of activities for all our different ages. My youngest loved the wave pool which had a very shallow entry and the zero-depth activity pool. She could have played there all day. It had age-appropriate slides that were still big enough for adults to ride, as we all know that Mom and Dad get pulled along with the littles! These slides had a water “catch” at the bottom, so kids were not plowing into other little ones at the bottom and it helped them stop the slide safely and made it fun for everyone!
One of the funniest parts for the kids was this giant barrel that sat on top of the zero-depth area and drenched everybody below. You can see it in action here:
As I suspected, my middle two loved the more adventurous activities like the Flowrider® and the slides.
Reagan, my oldest is less of an adrenaline junkie. She and I chilled cruising around the St. Croix River, which is a walking-speed tube ride that tours the water park; basically a lazy river that goes around most of the park. There is really no reason to get out of the water with this!
Reagan also loved the tube slides as well.
Finally, the park was a lot of fun for my wife and I. In addition to what we showed above, we loved the adult-only part of the park too. This image needs no explanation:
If you need a break from the water, the park also had a large arcade.
Family Hotel Room
The family hotel room was one of those features that I didn’t think much about before coming down but really appreciated when we were there. The room itself was just the right size. Smaller than a suite, yet big enough to sleep six, it was the perfect match for our family.
The room was clean and met all of our expectations. Your guest experience starts when you arrive at the Radisson. We were welcomed by a very pretty hotel lobby and well-trained, friendly staff. I appreciate that as a former resort-owner with 25+ years in the hospitality industry. Usually, the check-in experience will set the tone for the rest of your stay. The best part of staying in the room, besides letting your kids swim and tube all day then just walking up to your room to crash, is that you get early access to the water park! On the nights that you stay, you have access to the water park at 9am instead of the usual 11am. This means less waiting for rides, getting a good spot in the park to keep your belongings and two more hours of fun! In addition, when you book a combo hotel room and water park passes, it is way cheaper than doing either of them separately! There are deals and different room types available on their website.
As far as the room goes, here’s a VR tour of the room:
As I mentioned earlier, the room had a double bunk bed. You can see it, and another picture of our room here:
There were a few options for food at the Radisson and Water Park of America. We had dinner at the Split Rock Grill and Bar. I was able to get a quick picture of the nacho’s we ordered before the kids devoured them. This was a good restaurant and a perfect place for the family to eat a good meal without having to leave the premises.
There was also a family-dining area called Camp Many Point that was similar to a cafeteria adjacent to the waterpark. It was perfect for getting the family fed during a day of swimming at the park or to sneak in a quick ice cream cone before dinner.
The last dining option was the Sleepy Eye Cafe. We didn’t eat there, so I don’t have any pictures or much to tell you about it though.
If you are planning a trip to Minnesota, the Water Park of America is in a very convenient location. It’s just across the freeway from the airport (MSP) and the Radisson has a shuttle bus that will take you right to you room and the park. If you are staying for a few days, you can easily make a trip next door to IKEA or to the Mall of America. In addition, both Minneapolis and St. Paul are a short drive away.