I’ll never forget reading about Alabama Splash Adventure on my good friend’s Instagram account:
“Such a fun day at the water park! I have to say, since I grew up in Orlando around many water parks, including Disney ones, that I set my expectations pretty low for this one. But, it did not disappoint! My kids had a BLAST and are already asking when we can go back!”
She had me at Disney. And her kids are the exact same ages as mine, so naturally, I was intrigued and we took our kids for the first time shortly thereafter. Fast forward to today, we took our kids back for the third time, and I must say, it gets even better each visit!
We arrived right when the gates opened (10:30 a.m.) and proceeded into the park. We were greeted with a fun, colorful “Main Street” of shops and restaurants as we made our way to the water park portion of Alabama Splash Adventure. We got a locker (which, might I add, blew my mind)! The lockers open when you scan your wristband barcode. How amazing is that? No need to keep up with a locker key or remember a combination code. Then we were off to play!
Salamander Bay, Splash Island, and Pirates High Dive Show
We started our adventure in Splash Island, which is perfect for preschoolers to tweens. I LOVE that Alabama Splash Adventure lets us parents go down the slides with our kids until they feel comfortable going without us. Splash Island offers rows and rows of deck chairs and umbrellas for parents (and anyone) to sit and relax while the kids explore the eight slides suited just for them. Just off Splash Island, you’ll find the Pirates High Dive Show (with several shows daily) where acrobats put on a swashbuckling jumping and diving show for the kids, complete with pyrotechnics!
After Splash Island, we headed to Salamander Bay, a toddler/preschooler-friendly play area complete with slides, sprinklers, climbing toys, and a water see-saw. Surrounding the pool play area were deck chairs covered by large shady umbrellas.
Wave Pool, Lazy River, and Castaway Island
After that, we headed to the Kahuna Waves wave pool (while my husband and I each took turns going down the nearby Upsurge Slide) before heading to the Warrior River lazy river for some rest and relaxation.
By this point, we’d all worked up an appetite, so we headed over to the new and improved Island Pizza. My kids love their pizza and talk about it year-round. We even saw a sign that Alabama Splash Adventure’s pizza won a statewide theme park pizza award. So they felt completely validated in their expert pizza opinion!
With renewed strength, we headed to Castaway Island for another age-appropriate step up of slides and water fun. This area is well suited for mid-elementary ages and up, but also extremely fun for preschoolers since they allow the kids to sit in parents’ laps to ride the curly slides until they feel comfortable going alone. This area was probably my favorite part of the park—I loved the size of these slides (more adult-friendly)!
FREE! FREE! FREE!
There are self-serve fountain drink stations throughout the park that you can walk up to at any time during the day and get yourself any ice-cold Pepsi beverage, lemonade, Gatorade, or water—absolutely FREE! What? Yes.
While I’m on the topic of FREE, I must also point out that the park has various FREE sunscreen (SPF 30) stations (one less thing to lug around)—how fantastic is that? They have FREE life jackets available in all sizes as well. And . . . drum roll . . . that is not all! The park also offers FREE Wi-Fi. All you work-from-home parents now have no excuse not to take your kids to a day at the water park! Ha!
While I have mentioned kid-friendly attractions, I’ll now point out the slides that are appropriate for older children to adults: the Freefall slide, Neptune’s Plunge, and Upsurge are all well worth the tall climb to the top and will have you wanting to get back in line as soon as you splash down after each turn. Be sure to also check out the Mist-ical Life-Size Maze and Twister slide (my personal favorite).
In addition to this, the new Rocket Racer multi-person slide is set to open later this summer. It looks perfect for young and old alike. I can’t wait to try it out myself!
Did you know that Alabama Splash Adventure rents private, shaded cabanas so you and your family can take a break from the sun, take cat-naps, watch t.v. (yes!), charge your phones, cool off with a fan, or take a work conference call (remember the FREE Wi-Fi?)! It is such a genius idea—every theme park should have private cabanas!
And That’s Not All . . .
Did you know Alabama Splash Adventure also has a completely separate amusement park section? We loved the Dropzone freefall ride and Yo-Yo flying swings best this year, and we also enjoyed the Little Harbor boat ride, Centispeed (a roller-coaster for children), Splash Express Train, and Jump Around frog ride. There are so many fun age-appropriate rides for kids, so make sure to make time for them!
A Few Tips/Ideas:
- Bring a towel.
- Bring pool shoes because the summer sun, hot cement, and bare feet don’t mix.
- Bring a puddle-jumper if your toddler is attached to his or hers; otherwise, you can use the park’s FREE life jackets (all sizes). Kids can even wear puddle-jumpers and life jackets on the slides.
- Buy tickets online to make your check-in even quicker. Military and healthcare workers receive a discount, so be sure to bring your ID with you to the admissions booth.
- You can leave and come back. If your toddler is pitching a fit and is cranky because it’s nap-time; go home, let him nap, then come back refreshed and ready to play the rest of the day.
- Bring a shirt, shorts, and shoes if you intend to go to the amusement park section. You will not be allowed into the amusement park simply wearing your swimsuit and bare feet from the water park section. We wore swimsuit cover-ups and flip flops.
- As mentioned above, no need to pack sunscreen, ice, cups, or drinks — all are provided FREE in the park.
- Did you know Alabama Splash Adventure offers birthday parties?
Where Am I?
I still can’t believe all this is in Birmingham’s back yard! We felt like we were on vacation (or a staycation, daycation–whatever you want to call it), so much so that after the first time we went, when we pulled off at our exit to go home, our oldest asked, “Are we back in Birmingham now?” Ha! Bravo, Alabama Splash Adventure. Bravo, Birmingham. We’re definitely adding this to our list of Birmingham must-see attractions.
All in the Family
The Alabama Splash Adventure owners—Dan Koch and his soon-to-be 90 year old mother (I know–wow!), Pat, aka “the General”—have 60-plus years of experience in the water park and amusement park industry. When they purchased Alabama Splash Adventure in recent years, they renovated, renewed, and re-visioned this theme park from the ground up, and their work ethic can be seen in the park each day.
The General is currently out of town with some of her grandbabies celebrating graduations, weddings, and ceremonies. But she will be back in July to help run the park per usual. You will often see the Kochs are at the park from open ’til close each day personally greeting guests, cleaning the park themselves, and even making the funnel cakes.
Their strong leadership is evidenced in the cleanliness of the park as well as the extreme attentiveness, politeness, and professionalism exhibited by all the life guards and park employees. Trust me, you’ll be blown away at how well this park is run. My husband remarked on the way out was just how many lifeguards he noticed, and how none of them were socializing with one another or playing on their cellphones. Each lifeguard was incredibly attentive to their station, and we felt our children’s safety was in great hands.
Our kids are already asking when we can go back, and we’ve only been home one hour!