4.15.2012

Field Trip: Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark

After a year and a half of Evergreen membership we finally took the kids to Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark.  The boys had a day off of school last Friday and coincidentally T took the day off of work; I guess the planets lined up for us because it worked out perfectly!

I've previously posted on visiting the aviation museum, which you can read about here, but this venue is totally new for us.  The waterpark since on the same property as the Evergreens aviation, space and Imax theater.  The waterpark hasn't been open for very long, maybe not even 2 years!  It's quite a site to behold and up until Friday it has been a place the kids have been begging for every time we go to the museum.

From the Evergreen website:  
Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark is an educational waterpark that includes ten waterslides, a wave pool and a children’s museum dedicated to teaching students about the power of water. Consisting of classic Evergreen Museum building design, the space features nearly 70,000 square feet of educational fun, topped by a massive Evergreen International Aviation B747-100 aircraft on the top of the building.

Yes there really is a 747 atop the waterpark building! Photo by Lynette_1_2_3 via Flickr

Driving down the highway you cannot miss the waterpark.  Soon after the water park opened for business we went in to check it out, well as "in" as they allow you without paying admission.  Obviously there is the inclosed waterpark, a cafe, lots of seating and a water museum.  Sadly we didn't spend anytime look at the museum portion of the venue but that's for another time.  However, let's get down to the water park.  There are 4 large, loopy, tube slides that start all the way up in the body of the 747.  You see those white tubes coming out of the body of the plane?  Those are just two of the slides.  The slides are called the Mach 1, Tail Spin, Nose Dive and Sonic Boom.  All but the Mach 1 requires that you go down in an inflatable tube (provided by the water park) and you can either use a single tube or double up with a friend or child and use a two person tube.  All slides also have a height requirement.  The Mach 1 is 48" while the other slides are 42"  So most kids around 5-6 years old and up will be able to ride the most of the large slides.


Rear view of the 747 on the roof and better view of the tube slides coming out of the body.  Photo via stuckattheairport.com
Photo by pdx.rollingthunder via Flickr

As the large tube slides enter the building you can see that they snake all around the ceiling making for some great color action.  The blue tube I believe was the Nose Dive Slide and that slide along with the Mach 1 (which is orange and not shown in this photo) have some translucent portions of the slide so you are able to see the people whipping down within the tube.  My kids spotted me shooting down the Mach 1 while my tube was still jetting across rafters!


The park also include a large wave pool and I think the wave pool was the fave for my two boys (aged 6 and 7 1/2).  For the most part the wave pool is relatively calm but every 10 minutes ago a loud buzzer sounds off alerting the waterpark that the waves are beginning.  And begin they do.  First very rhythmic but quickly those waves come at you fast, furious and choppy!  Everyone goes crazy.  And the fact that the park allows you to take a innertube into the wave pool is beyond fun.  My boys got a hold of a couple of tubes and went for it!  Even T got into a tube (lazy river style), propped Crash on his lap and they had a blast.  I had fun, once I got over the anxiety of Big Red wanting to go in the deepest part of the wave pool (5-feet) for maximum bounce.  Just a side note:  In the summer months the water park shows indoor movies, at night once the park officially closes,  on the giant screen located within the wave pool and I'm still kicking myself for not going to see Jaws!

Wave Pool.  Photo by pdx.rollingthunder via Flickr





Looking out from the wave pool towards the rest of the park.  Photo via pdx.rollingthunder via Flickr



Kiddie Play Area. Photo by tamarajo via Flickr
Steps away from the edge of the wave pool is a kiddie splash area.  This area is perfect for toddlers that aren't to keen on being submerged in the area.  As you can see in the above photo there is a space shuttle and directly under are two side by side slides (these are the 2 largest of the four slides in this area).  They aren't very high maybe just three or four steps and you're at the top.  I would say this is probably best suited for a 3-4 year old.  Crash went down and it is obvious it is for the slightly taller/older toddler because the height off the edge didn't allow for her feet to hit and she kind flew off and landed on her knees - but the park does have some nice padded mats at the end of all four of the kiddie slides.  One either side of the space shuttle are two planes sitting atop "clouds" which are really little slides.  This was perfect for my 2 year old.  Two steps up and a nice, wet, slide down onto a padded mat.  Also in this area are lots of water jets/fountains to run and splash through.  

There's a second large pool towards the front entrance of the park.  This pool is great for lounging without waves and also houses the exit to the Mach 1 slide, a gigantic hot tub, some basketball hoops and The Vortex.  

The hot tub holds a lot of people, its really the size of a small dipping pool.  There's a lifeguard constantly watching out for the patrons in the hot tub and unlike many other hot tubs your children are allowed to go in!  Please be aware that the water is very hot which took my kids a while to get used to and that there is a 15-minute time limit to using the hot tub.  This is not to say that you can't go back and forth into the hot tub, because you can but you can only remain in for 15-minutes at a time.  I believe this to be a good, fair rule that way all patrons at some point and time can enjoy the hot tub while visiting.

Photo via aquaticintl.com

The Vortex sits at the front portion of the above pool.  It's a circular whirlpool enclosure that I just love.  We have one at our local community pool and really we cannot get enough of it.  If you haven't had the opportunity to get into one of these whirlpools you must do it, if you have kids they will love it.  The Vortex, although still in the photo below, is one furious little beast.  The whirl is fast and forceful.  Linger on the edge a little to closely and you'll be sucked in and swirled and whipped around and around.  If you're not a strong swimmer or have someone waiting to yank you out you'll be trapped in their for awhile.  
Photo by evergreenmuseum.org

Just to the right of the Mach 1 slide is a giant kids play structure and at first glance you may wonder why there is a playground located within the water park.  But this is not an ordinary play structure.  It is rigged with all kinds of fun water accouterments!  There are twisty tube slides, perfect for kids who are preschool aged up to just barely reaching the minimum height requirements for the giant tube slides.  There are water jets shooting water from the ground and from various parts of the actual structure.  There is a big, umbrella like toy that you can spin and turn with a wheel and and water sprays out of this rotating umbrella contraption.  There are also rope swings and little tunnels you can climb through. 



Photo by evergreenmuseum.org


Photo by pdx.rollingthunder via Flickr
Hanging above the structure is a fire/safety hellicopter that fills up a giant bucket of water.  Once that bucke is full it pours it down onto the structure.  It's pretty fun to watch and pretty scary if you aren't aware of it.  There is a canopy over the center of the structure that spreads the water out onto the sides and there's a spot in front, on the ground that points out that standing in that area will allow for maximum soakage!  The theme of the structure is fire safety in the woods/forest so this water dumpage makes sense.  I thought that having this structure in the water park was genius!

So let's get down to the other important but maybe not so fun stuff.
  • There is ample seating spots in the water park.  Keep in mind that you are there to play not to just lounge around, it is indoors so you are not soaking up the sun.
  • There are lockers available to you for a fee of $8-10 depending on size and there is an attendant that will unlock your locker for you so no need for a key. Instead you are given a writs band identifying your locker number. Don't be cheap and just leave your belongings on a chair or table
  • Life vests are available free of charge from infant to adult size.
  • Admission is:  Free for those 3 and under, $10 for a non-swimmer spectator, $25 for those under 42" and $30 for those over 42".  There is something called economy pricing which is about $10 less for swimmers but I have no clue how that works.
  • Membership does NOT get you in for free, instead you get $5 off per person
  • There is a cafe available if you need one
  • There are 4 family change rooms/rest rooms as well as the standard men's and women's locker rooms
  • The premises are very clean, the floor is not slippery, they are routinely going out with a mini zamboni looking machine to suck up any puddles of water and there are lots and lots of lifeguards on hand!  
  • There is a giant parking lot with lots of free parking!
  • If you are so inclined there is a Comfort Inn less than a mile away that will give all waterpark guests 15% of a room for the night
  • As of this Friday the park has been running on off season hours so please check hours ahead of time



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