Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rothbury, Michigan: Double JJ Ranch

Yes - they do spell out "Double" and include two J's in the name.  I never really understood that but it is Double JJ Ranch.  This place has always seemed interesting to me.  They offer soooo much!  A summer visit looks like a lot of fun with the ranch and golf options.  However, this blog is solely based on a visit to the Gold Rush Waterpark.  I went for a one day experience - no overnight stay.

The waterpark is not connected to the buildings that you can stay in.  So you will need to drive to the waterpark (possibly walk in the summer) and change your clothing there.   I thought I should mention that since other waterparks I have been to, that offer overnight accommodations, are attached to the waterpark.

I had a ton of questions before visiting this place:  Do they have food options?  Are there places to sit?  Lockers?  What is little kid friendly?  And many more!  I hope this blog post helps you plan for a future visit there.

The ice cream and coffee shop on the main floor.

They serve Starbucks!

They had Hudsonville Ice Cream (our favorite)!

Seating to eat ice cream or just hang out.
There are windows to watch what is going on in the waterpark.

Arcade located on the main floor.
We did not visit this but I have heard it is fun.

Yes - you can even ride a mechanical bull!!

This floor area offered line dancing ;-)

The area near the large blackboard offers pizza.
We did not order from there but I have had one friend report that it is really greasy!

Need a snack or forget a swimsuit?  This little store is there to help.

Craft area on the main floor.  We did not visit this but it looked interesting.
We have visited these at Great Wolf Lodge in Northern Michigan.
It's a great time filler if you are staying overnight.
Finally - the waterpark!!  It is on the lower level of the building.  Beware, they have limited waterpark hours in the winter (or at least they did when we visited in February 2013).  I purchased a Groupon deal to the waterpark with intentions to go early on a week day.  But, soon after I purchased the deal, I found out that they were not open during the week and didn't open until around 5:00 pm on Friday.  It still worked out for us but it wasn't the original plan.  

For our visit:  

The room was VERY warm!  We had to wait in line to check-in/pay.  The check-in process was slow so we found ourselves taking off extra layers of clothing to try to stay comfortable through the cheek-in process.

There are lockers that you could rent.  We decided to keep our stuff on a couple of lounge chairs.  I'm glad we did!  When we first arrived (2nd group in line when they opened) there were a ton of chairs available.  It didn't take long before there was no place for people to sit.  I had a friend go later the same weekend.  She was there for 6 hours and a seat never became available during her entire visit!!!  

There are also changing rooms, restrooms, and showers.  I was happy to see that they have a family changing room!  It's small but it offers a couple of large changing areas (with curtains for privacy) and a restroom.

After waiting in line, while fully dressed in a really warm room, I was looking forward to getting into the water to cool off!!!  To my surprise, the water was very warm!  Kind of like a hot tub!  Some people may like this but I was personally disappointed.  I had to visit the inside/outside hot tub to cool off!


You can take pictures but beware - it is so hot in the room that my camera fogged up every time I attempted to capture a moment.  My iPhone didn't have this issue so I carefully took pictures where I could stay dry.

Picture with my regular camera.
They offer a lot of great options for little kids!

Wave pool that is pretty shallow in most areas.
The chair I had my stuff on was right in front of this so my kiddos could play there safely while I watched.

Area for little kids and toddlers!
The water slides:  They were fun but it took a bit to figure out what was needed for each slide.  You have to pick out the correct tube (most of the slides need a tube).  Next, you have to carry the tube up many stairs.  The larger tubes were exhausting and, in some areas of the stairs, hard to squeeze through.  I think there is a slide that does not require a tube but that section was closed when we were there....

This holds 4 people and can be used only on the large slide.

This looks like it might hold 4 people but it is only a 2 person tube.
It is to be used only on the large slide.
Double tubes are blue or clear.
The single tubes are clear.

To the left of the picture is where the large slide exits.
The small slide comes out on the right.
The small slide uses the single tubes!

This is the only "deep" area in the park.
In my case, it was nice to only have one spot where my kiddos could not go without me.

We called this the toilet bowl!  You take a double raft (I think a single raft too) down it.  It is a fast slide that spits you out into a big "toilet bowl".   You circle the bowl a couple of times before exiting through a small hole and ending up in the lazy river.  By far our favorite slide!

Eating options in the waterpark:  There is one area to buy food in the park.  You can not bring your own food into the park.  However, you will have a wristband for each paid person so you can leave the waterpark to visit other areas (or even go to your car to eat).

The food options were great for my kiddos.  However, it was disgusting!!  I have no idea how they pass inspections!  For my visit, there was one person working and a lot of people ordering.  The person took orders and cooked.  No gloves were used and no proper temperatures were taken!  I also did not see any cleaning taking place.  The young man that was working there seemed friendly.  It was his first night and there was no support to help him!  A manager even stopped by once, saw the line, and just turned around to leave!  Eventually we got our food.  But, there was no place to sit to eat.  We took our food over to our "saved" lounge chairs to eat next to the water...   I even saw people sitting on the floor in the slide tubes to eat.  To add to this, my friend who went a couple of days later said that the ice machine was broken for her visit.  If you ordered a drink that needed ice they had a bucket full of ice for guests to use.  However, it was there for all to access and no scope - nasty!!!

Overall, I wasn't impressed!  I did like that it wasn't far from home, I got a great deal through Groupon, and it was small enough where I could actually rest a little while my kids played safely.  

Will I visit again??  Maybe...  If there is another deal and we need to get out for some winter fun!  I am now prepared for what they offer and I have low expectations - LOL!  I do think it would be fun to check out the summer activities they offer!

I would love to hear your experiences if you have visited there.

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