I am kicking back, relaxing and reflecting on the fact that we successfully researched, scheduled, traveled and experienced our first family vacation and guess what? We are actually not sleep deprived! Well, who am I kidding? We have a toddler so we are always sleep deprived, but honestly, my daughter slept better in the hotel room than her own crib. I told my husband, I am moving in or buying black out curtains and a really loud heating system.
By the way, the picture above? Yep! Only picture of our little family from the whole long weekend in Erie, Pennsylvania, centered around Splash Lagoon. Must. Get. Better. At. Photos.
We did not go on this little weekend alone. It was a joint weekend away that we shared with Nathan’s sister, Amie, her husband, Corey, and their four daughters, all under the age of 7. Yes, four daughters under 7. And, yes 5 children under 7, accompanied by 2 adults. We were outnumbered.
That whole concept at first was a little overwhelming. As we traveled by night, in a snowstorm, to our hotel, I am sure we weren’t all thinking, “Oh, this is going to be one expensive disaster.” No, not at all.
So, we checked in around 7 pm, snapped an obligatory “group photo” for memories and decided to order in. The great thing about Splash Lagoon is that it does have three connecting hotels, as well as a connecting Sport Bar / Restaurant and a handful of local area restaurants that will deliver directly to your hotel room. It was super efficient and convenient.
Our first night in the hotel was perfect! Lo did so well. It helped too that our Hotel Rooms each came with a kitchen efficiency which included a mini refrigerator, freezer, microwave and sink. I was able to pack bottles, snacks, meals, etc that I need for our bedtime routine.
Our rooms were not side by side but close enough that we could bounce from each family’s room. Friday morning we got up and prepared to spend the day at the indoor waterpark.
These photos are terrible quality but I had to show off the excitement and the toddler’s new swimsuits. I bought them Here and would highly recommend this suit. Lo is fearless which makes me a nervous one in the water. She tried to swim out of my arms and face plants over and over trying to dunk her head. Semmer down child or I will have to start drinking at 9 am.
Anyways, Splash Lagoon was great! It occupied all of our children’s attention given their differing ages. This included us adults who built up the courage to tackle some “big kid” slides. To break it down a bit, the park includes multiple age appropriate pools, hot tubs, or play areas. There are water fountains that come out of the floors and water features with buckets and waterfalls in the pools. Slides for parents to take kids down, even for Lo! It may not have been pretty each time, but we did it and had fun.
They had a pool of basketball hoops and floating basketballs, a lazy river (we spent enough time to prune up!), more slides than you have time to wait in line and ride and a giant tree house that releases gallons of water over your head! Don’t worry, an alarm sounds minutes before so you can run to the action or if you are like me, scream like a child and run (no, walk super fast) to steer away.
After a few hours of play, we pushed the little ones to their nap time. I mean, seriously look at those eyes?
We had passed test #1 with bedtime the night before but test #2 came in the form of our first hotel room nap experience. Lo is pretty routine with me and needs her crib at home. So, I was fearful that I would have one cranky baby who would refuse to go down. Little did I know high chlorine waters, mixed with hours of play does wonders. Test #2 success.
We headed to one of the largest indoor wave pools I have ever seen, complete with wall murals, palm tress and large airplane style propeller ceiling fans that I am sure has something scientifically to do with the waves but I took it as recreating the sea breeze in your hair.
The lifeguards were on point. I got the whistle blown in my ear when I tried walking into the pool with Lo with no life vest. To be clear there were no waves and I was going to sit on the “shore.” They did provide complimentary wave pool life vest for the kids and good thing too because once the waves started I realized their concern.
We had reservations that evening at 5 pm (late night – whoop whoop!) at the connecting Sports Bar and Restaurant, Hooch & Blotto’s. The restaurant offers bowling complete with menu and craft beer options. Sold!
We ordered beer for the adults, juices for the littles and pizza for all. And, somehow among the missed afternoon nap (ouch!), free-range of bowling balls, 7 other lanes of restaurant guests, bowling lanes that just welcomed children to walk straight down to play with pins… we made it work, and work well. Heck we even tried to get another hour on the lane! Darn Birthday Party guests.
Since, we only had an hour reservation, we took the kiddies to the arcade at Splash Lagoon to blow off some additional speed before bed.
I know, we acted liked we owned the place!
1 ticket gets your nothing, NOTHING, at any arcade. Sorry about your luck, kid!
We packed the kids in the car, swung through a Krisy Kreme doughnut for the kids (yeah, right, it was totally for us Moms!) and headed to Presque Isle State Park. We are outdoorsy people so it was cool to see the Bay frozen in spots with ice fisherman and the island’s Lighthouses, but if it wasn’t 28 degrees out we would have explored more.
We did get to walk part of the sandy beaches of Lake Erie and see the ice. I could imagine that summers would be a blast, and apparently the beaches of Presque Isle turn up some great sea glass!
Afterwards, we stumbled upon this gem, The Brewerie. This Brew Pub opened in 2006 and is situated in the historic Erie Union Station which opened in 1927. The food was great and so was the building. It was actually fascinating. We snapped the picture below just to prove that we had accomplished this much of our trip so far and were actually SITTING down for lunch. No takeout, no drive thru, hello, new, children, we like you. We think we will keep all of you.
The guys then departed us to explore the area and waterways in the region a bit more, so Amie and I took the kids downtown to The ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum. Children 1 and under are free and general admission is $7. It is a super affordable experience and engaging for the children (and us Moms)! Our 5 littles had so much fun!
We learned about Aerodynamics. Just kidding. We pushed plastic balls across the floor.
The day ended with a return to our hotel, nap engagement which failed miserably in both hotel rooms and a return to Splash Lagoon for an evening swim, treetop canopy tour and a wild animal show.
When Sunday morning arrived, Lo be like, “No! I don’t want to go.” I agreed.
It was a great weekend! I highly recommend all the locations highlighted in the blog post. I also highly recommend letting your guard down, quit worrying and have fun. I think all 5 of our kids surprised us with how well they handled the hotel, the water park and the whole trip.
If you have any questions, please leave them below or email me. Glad to assist with recommendations, etc.