Following our recent visit to the Connecticut Science Center, we headed about 30 minutes away and spent the rest of the weekend at the Holiday Inn in Waterbury, home of the CoCo Key Water Resort. My kids, the water bugs that they are, were very excited for this weekend, as we had visited a water park this last summer for the first time during our vacation on the Delaware shore. They were looking for a repeat performance, only indoors – they really couldn’t even imagine what it would be like!
Similar to most outdoor water parks, the only difference that we found at CoCo Key was that it was indoors. According to the hotel desk clerk, the park is 55,000 square feet and holds a maximum of approximately 1,000 people. The weekend we were there, they expected about half of that number of guests in attendance, and to us, the crowd size was perfect – not crowded, but not empty. If it was at its maximum occupancy, our experience would have been much different, for sure. CoCo Key has two raft-waterslides and one body waterside – Shark Slam, Barracuda Blast and Pelican Plunge – all of which are enclosed tubes twisting and turning up and down the outside of the building. The slides did not feel cold at all (the water is kept at 84 degrees), and we were there on a weekend that outside temperatures were in the 20’s. The park is on the small side, so the lazy river snaking around the park is also small, and in the center of the park is an activity pool with lily pads and water basketball, and an indoor/outdoor hot tub in the back corner. For the littler kids, there is Parrot’s Perch, an interactive playground with 3 smaller waterslides, water canons and a giant bucket that dumps hundreds of gallons of water every 5 minutes.
For our family, the size of CoCo Key was perfect. My 4 year old daughter (who wasn’t big enough to go on the larger water slides) loved Parrot’s Perch and played on it for hours. She’d run up into the playground, come down the slide and make sure that every 5 minutes, she was waiting for the giant bucket to fill up and unleash its water on top of her. This area also had a zero-depth entry area, which is similar to a beach entry – you can walk in to the water gradually without having to go down a ladder or steps. My 8 year old daredevil son absolutely loved the big slides, especially the two he was able to go down in a tube. For the tube slides, the height requirement was 48″ while for the body slide, it was 42″.
One of the best things that we noticed was the amount of lifeguards present all around the water park – I think that I counted about 8 in the Parrot’s Perch children’s area alone. They were all paying attention to the people in the water too, not chatting amongst themselves as we’ve seen in other places.
The locker rooms had bathrooms, changing areas, lockers and showers, which all were clean. Within the water park area, there is a food stand which offers some fast food choices and ice cream. The service here was very slow and the food was okay and expensive, but since there is no outside food allowed in the water park, we didn’t have much of a choice come lunch time. There are a good amount of tables and chairs between the food stands and the water area, and although it wasn’t too crowded during the weekend we were there, if we hadn’t arrived early, we probably wouldn’t have been able to claim a table for the day.
Although the hotel that houses CoCo Key at the Waterbury location is a Holiday Inn, it was unlike any other Holiday Inn I’ve ever seen. Centered around a large atrium, interior rooms have small balconies that overlook the atrium/restaurant area, and the hotel seemed relatively new, decorated in warm colors that were perfect for this winter weekend. Upstairs from the water park is a small arcade, and hotel amenities include an indoor pool, restaurant, fitness center and free in-room wireless internet. It is also very easily accessible, right off I-84, and there are a lot of restaurants and shopping within a 10 minute drive.
If your family is looking for a fun getaway that the kids will enjoy, try CoCo Key. CoCo Key Water Resorts are located across the country and are housed in different hotels (the Mount Laurel, NJ location is inside a Marriott while the Boston location is inside a Crowne Plaza) and I believe that each location is independently managed. The CoCo Key website offers different packages, including options with overnight stays and otherexcursions to local attractions.
Disclosure: My family received a complimentary two night package at the Holiday Inn, which included passes to CoCo Key Water Resort, as a prize won from Traveling Mom. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.