Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Soaring Eagle Waterpark: Mt Pleasant, Michigan

My family recently visited the Soaring Eagle Waterpark in Mt Pleasant, Michigan.  Here was our experience:

Our visit started with a one night stay at the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort.  My husband had tickets for an event there.  It was a crazy busy weekend for my family so we decided to join him, not for the event but to squeeze in some family time.  Since we were going to be in the area we decided to spend our family time at the waterpark.

The Soaring Eagle Waterpark is also a resort.  However, there were no available rooms for the night we needed.  So, we didn't stay at the waterpark resort.  We did read on their website that the waterpark has limited "tickets" for each day so it was recommended to reserve your tickets ahead of time.  So, we did just that.  My husband took care of this.  He had to call to make the reservation and it was kind of awkward but it ended up going well overall.  We were given a start and end time for the waterpark.  We had the choice of a full or half day visit.  Since we were visiting on the day that we were heading out of town we decided to just pay for a half day.

So, we showed up the day of our reservation.  

The only "tips" I had received from previous visitors was that it was small and the food wasn't cheap.  Was it small?  Well, kind of... but I didn't think it was bad. However, I went in the summer (when most people choose to be outside) and my friend went in the winter (when indoor waterparks get really busy).   

We went to the hotel desk to check-in (there was a desk for the waterpark but it wasn't staffed).  At the desk my kiddos were given coloring books and crayons.  We were also given paper bracelets to wear during our visit.  It was color coded for the day and time frame we had paid for.

Inside the waterpark:

Locker rooms with plenty of toilets, private showers, private dressing area, and one of the machines I LOVE that spin dries your suit. 

Private cabana's.  I'm not sure how much these were but I did see a family hiding out in one without paying ;-)
There were many lounge chairs around (for free) but it was hard to find any available (people were "holding" them for future use, or for "lockers" for their items).
Lockers:  you can see the staff member at the computer screen.  This is where you pay for a locker, get assigned a locker, and open the locker when you would like.  The problem?  If the computer has an "error" you can't access your locker until it is fixed!!!  This happened to us at an amusement park once and it was a HUGE set back!!  I mentioned that there is a staff person at the computer in this picture - the computer had an error that she was trying to fix it.  We waited in line to get a locker and quickly changed our mind once we saw what was going on.  My husband took some important stuff out to the car and we just sat our remaining belongings on chairs (just like many others were doing).

They provide life jackets for kiddos.  They also have towels but they are small and rough.

A play area for little kiddos.

Another view of the kids play area.

Swimming pool with 1 basketball hoop.

Log walk (not sure of its official name).  Basically, you try to walk across the floating "stumps" while they move around.  There is a net over the area to hold on to for support.  My son opted to not try this because they would not let parents in the water to help (unlike other water parks we have been to).  However, my daughter is a little more brave and successfully completed the task.

This was a favorite for my kiddos!  It is like a water tornado.  The water rapidly pushes you around a circle area (off to the side of the pool).  Even as an adult I found it hard to stand up.  It was fun but my kiddos wore life jackets to make it more enjoyable for their age and swimming skills (or lack of).
Rock wall!  And you just push yourself off at the top so you land in the water.  My kiddos were not interested in this so we didn't try it.  However, it looked fun.

Flow Rider:  wave surfing ride!  My daughter and my husband both tried this.  The staff was very helpful with all ages and skill levels!  The line took a while to get through.  But, they let you ride for a while so if you got knocked off right away they gave you another chance.  You do have to sign a waiver (they give you another paper band to wear after you have signed a waiver so you don't have to do it every time you surf that day).

There are two slides:

No tube, single person at a time, and way too fast for my kiddos!   I highly recommend trying it first before sending your kiddos down it.  My daughter did okay (after instruction from the life guard) but she decided that once was enough.  My son, thankfully he didn't go down (as I was going down the slide I knew it was NOT going to be fun for him).  Thankfully, the life guards instructions were too overwhelming for my little man so he opted out and my husband walked him back down the stairs.

You can ride this as a single or double ride.   It spits you out into a small "toilet bowl" that makes it fun.  My daughter and my husband revisited this slide many times!

My kids were tall enough but my daughter was measured EVERY time she attempted to go down a slide.  So, we were able to go to the staff office (near the locker rooms) to get another paper band to let staff know she was tall enough for the slides - without having to remeasure her every time.

Little Beaver's Bend (lazy river).

Hot Springs (hot tub)

Outdoor seating

Eating area - was very hard to find a table to sit at.

Restaurant: fries, drinks, hot dogs, grilled cheese, club sandwiches, ...
Kind of expensive - especially when you add beverages.
Everything is cooked when you order it so you wait a little but it's fresh.

You can't bring food in but you can go to your car/hotel room, eat, and come back to the waterpark (as long as you have the band and stay within your paid time).

Sample of our bill - not cheap but....

Grilled cheese with fries.

Turkey club with fries

I have many friends that went to Central Michigan University (in Mt Pleasant).  One highly recommended stopping at this ice cream place on the way out of town.  I have since found out it is a popular place.  My experience:  it was a little confusing as a "first timer".  There were two windows.  I waited in line at one only to find out that it was the pick-up window and the other window was for ordering...  There were so many options that it was a little hard to figure things out.  I also checked out their Facebook page before our visit and there appears to be some menu options that are more known by the locals.  I say that because what I saw special options that were being promoted on Facebook that I did not see on the many menus at the ice cream shop.  Would I stop again?  Yes - but I would try to get some more "local" tips to improve my visit ;-)

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