Category Archives: Travelling Bananas

Riding the Waves in Winter

A Weekend Warm Up at Niagara Falls’ Americana

It’s been a long, cold winter here. So cold that as we left the house for our most recent road trip I was asked, “if your penis falls off from frostbite, can you grow a new one?”

Yes, it was that cold.

What is a good, hearty-ish Canadian family to do (on a budget) to get a break from the constant indoor recesses and mad dashes to and from the van? Any more long days stuck together enjoying each other’s company could start to turn ugly.

A short trip out of town to an indoor waterpark is just what the meteorologist / Travel Bureau of Ontario ordered. And so we did.

Destination: Americana, Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls has several indoor waterpark resorts from which to choose. They vary in accommodations, amenities, and price range. A few years ago we took our then six and four-year-old sons to the Americana Resort. We were expecting our fourth son and wanted to get away for some special time with the oldest two. Do not feel badly for the third-born, he had Grandma and Grandpa exclusively to himself all weekend.

We had a great time back then, so when we decided to take the whole family, the choice to return there was easy. It is a great entry-level park. They have a variety of features including a wave pool, four slides, splash pad for water play, and a wading pool spot for the younger family members. There’s a hot tub, but unfortunately I did not get to try it out because the first visit I was pregnant and this time there were too many kids to track. Towels and lifejackets are readily available, so no need to pack those extras.

More Than Just a Pool

Our room had two queen-size beds and a pull-out couch so all six of us could sleep in comfort. The boys pleaded their cases as to why Mom and Dad should get the couch but we pulled rank, so at least four of us were happy (my apologies to the youngest two, but they were the least likely to appreciate a comfy bed, and yes, they slept just fine. Mostly).

Must be broken, weird.

Must be broken, weird.

Standard in every room are the usual coffee maker, mini-fridge, hair dryer, etc. The fridge and microwave came in handy since we brought food for a lunch, breakfast, and snacks. This also helped us with our bottom line (kids eat a lot).

The entrance to the waterpark is through the arcade. Yes, it is very much like Las Vegas for kids. The trick it to never start putting the coins in the machines.

Anticipation, Amenities, and TV Angst

Everyone had a great time, and as usual, the excitement began well before we even left the driveway. The boys all had their bags packed two days prior to departure. When he spotted juice boxes in the cooler, the five-year-old cried out, “this is the best day EVER!” We all agreed it was going to be one of our favourite experiences, that is until the same five-year-old began reading all the house numbers out loud. After we shut that down, he thought we’d all appreciate a constant update on the speedometer, “120…117…121…”

As we pulled into Niagara Falls, the oldest two read aloud various signs: “Oh, heart-shaped jacuzzies,” “heeeey, efficiency sweeties,” “are we staying in a sweetie?” “It’s pronounced “suite” and no, we’re not millionaires.

Shhh...we're busy watching the security camera channel.

Shhh…we’re busy watching the security camera channel.

The hotel TV did not function like Netflix which caused much angst for our youngest son, “WHY CAN’T YOU SKIP THIS? SKIP. IT.” He also couldn’t understand why the TV didn’t cater to his personal viewing needs, “I said I want to watch ’Sponge Bob’”. Once he realized he had to deal with commercials or we would turn it to the French-only channel, he simmered down.

But Wait, There’s More

Staying overnight in a hotel is very educational. Did you know there is no escaping a fart in a hotel room? Truth. Also, no one will own up to it, but many a finger will be pointed.

Fun fact: if a five-year-old says he packed extra underwear, he’s lying. Related note: hotel room heaters dry clothing remarkably quick. And yes, your mom is a genius.

Maybe not all hotels have this feature, but apparently the dresser in our room smelled exactly like Grandma and Grandpa. It remains unclear if they meant that my parents smell like a bureau or their house does, I was too busy trying to brew a tiny pot of coffee to seek clarification.

Parting Wisdom

A word of advice if you stay at the Americana in Niagara Falls: take the roll pillows and hide them before you even let your kids in the room. I spent approximately 1/3 of our time there uttering threats through clenched teeth for them to “stooooop iiiiiiit” because:IMG_8247

Anything can be a weapon if you just try hard enough

Bottom line: this was better than camping and I almost have all the chlorine rinsed out of my hair.

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