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If you've found your way to this blog space you're probably interested in all things waterpark resort and you've come to the right place! Check back regularly for weekly updates from me and don't be shy about sharing your thoughts. To see what our former editor Rin-Rin Yu had to say, vist our Archive (2007 and earlier).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Check "It" out

Waterpark Resorts Today’s first annual “It” book just made its debut, and we’re pretty proud. The magazine’s first stand-alone appearance marks a significant point in the growth of the waterpark resort market – that it’s here to stay.

What do we consider an “it” resort? We chose the top 10 based on revenue, which reflects which resorts really know how to sell more than just a room. These are resorts who know their product, can deliver their product and bring return customers with each purchase. And while money doesn’t define success or popularity, these properties are catering to their audiences in unique ways that truly separate them from the rest.

So sit back, perhaps in an inner tube in a lazy river, and read all about It.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Drowning in Blame, part II

Wave pools are apparently finding themselves to be quite a hazard, as a couple of recent waterpark drownings were due to wave pools. And as someone commented on my previous post, it can be fairly difficult to keep a child at arm's length when you're being pushed back and forth by those waves. (It's also fairly difficult to keep an eye on a small child who is curious about everything, like my niece, but that's for another blog).

The last time I rode the wave pool, I was surprised by 1. how deep the water was, and 2. how rocky the water was. While I understood that the point was to mimic the actual ocean, nonetheless I was still concerned - lifeguards can actually see people drowning under all those inner tubes, packs of people and moving water? Even I couldn't keep track of my companion, whose inner tube kept floating off in another direction.

Here's where I think humans have reached their fullest capabilities and technology needs to step in. Underwater cameras that alert lifeguards to a motionless body at the bottom of a pool can only be a good thing (unless the body keeps moving with the waves). Handing out lifevests to all children and adults who can't swim is another good option. And going with your child into the pool, rather than sit in a lounge chair, can give you a better view of him or her, even if you get separated.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Drowning in Blame

Children dying is one of the most tragic events to ever occur.

Children dying while having fun is even more tragic.

Children dying while having fun, in front of someone whose job is to make sure they don’t die, is probably the worst.

And this is exactly what’s happened in recent weeks. A four-year-old at the Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, Va. drowned. An 11-year-old girl on a school trip drowned in a wave pool at Bingemans Big Splash in Kitchener, Ontario. And another four-year-old at the Wilderness Resort in the Wisconsin Dells also drowned.

More disturbingly about the Wilderness incident is that, according to police reports, the lifeguard asked her supervisor, twice, if she should go in after the child, to which the supervisor declined because “guests get angry when lifeguards enter the pool for non-emergency situations.”

Now I’m sure that the Wilderness and other waterpark resorts may have gotten complaints after a lifeguard disrupted guests when he or she went raging across the water to save a child who was actually just playing.

Well, guess what. Some guests are pret-ty angry now that the lifeguard didn’t enter the pool at all until it was too late.

I partially blame the supervisor. Perhaps the supervisor had received lectures about the one-too many exuberant lifeguards racing across the pool to a false alarm. But he should have realized his job, first and foremost, is to maintain a safe environment, not a “fun” environment. That’s up to the other resort staff to do.

I also partially blame the lifeguard. If she had any doubt, as she did, she should have jumped right in. That’s her job.

I then have to blame the parents, who are probably already blaming themselves over and over. But if the child was within an arm’s reach, as is usually recommended or required, they would have noticed something was wrong within ten seconds – enough time to pull their child out and save him.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Sliding While Intoxicated

Recently there’s been discussion in the news with two words appearing in the same sentence: Waterpark and Alcohol.

I’m confused. Why is this even a discussion? Nothing screams “LIABILITY” louder than handing a supervising parent or adult a cocktail in a place targeted at children with basins of water everywhere.

This isn’t Spring Break. This isn’t Cancun. This isn’t lying on the beach all day with a book. This is a family place, with nonstop water activities, slides, rides and things involving water. It's also a place that requires safety, reading the rules and remembering to follow them.

Now, I’m sure these parks aren’t encouraging patrons to get sloshed at the bar and then pass out in the lazy river. But lifeguards have enough on their plate making sure people bobbing up and down in the wave pool actually do bob back up, without having to wonder who’s inebriated on their inner tube. And then there’s the fact that these parents are also expected to watch their children among all the frenzied activity of the waterpark.

Just like beer and liquor don’t mix, neither should waterparks and alcohol.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Breathe Easier

In college, I was chased out of the pool area for not walking in already wet from an apparent shower. Showering before entering the pool was strictly required at the university gym, and I was berated for being the dirty one polluting the swimming environment.

It was a good idea, since people seem to think that chlorine is a magic eraser of dirt, oil, sweat, and other bodily goods that create a giant human soup in the swimming pool. And, more recently, these same organic materials are making headlines by polluting the air above the swimming pool with di- and trichloramines, the byproducts of chlorine.

Most recently, the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, has been hit hard with such headlines. Guests of the waterpark resort have been complaining about rashes and respiratory problems, sending in the health department and NIOSH to investigate what’s wrong.

Even if chloramines aren’t the culprit behind the Great Wolf Lodge mystery, aquatics facilities should encourage guests to shower before entering. At the very least, the act will put clean people, sans dirt, into the water. While hotel resorts are a service industry catering to guests’ needs, patrons need to learn a little etiquette. Just like wiping your feet before entering someone’s home, taking a shower before entering the water shows respect for the establishment and for the surrounding customers in the pool.