The Greatest Ride at the Water Park [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]
Aaaah! Summer is finally here! The piping hot days have most of us flocking to a water park at some point to keep cool. While some head straight for the water slides or the wave pool, there’s one water ride I won’t miss that always cools my heart in the summer heat.
I stand in line, finally make it to the front, and pick up the big round inner tube. I place it in the water and finally climb aboard… and float and float and float! Round and round I go on the lazy river!
Sure, the lazy rivers can be just that – lazy. But, thanks to technology this little trough of a river in the center of the park has grown up to be much more!
Most lazy rivers are a simple concept. A large water pump slowly circulates a long ribbon shaped pool that snakes around and around a designated area of a water park. Riders board at a certain point and lounge on an inner tube as the current gently sends them on a long, slow ride. Some parks require floaters to get out once they’ve made a lap (quite annoying) while others will let you float until the park closes.
The water level is usually quite shallow, anywhere from 2’ to 4’ deep and the width is enough for several tubes to pass.
While a lazy river is found at most water parks, they can also be found at resorts, casinos, and even in the Mall of America!
Some of the more sophisticated rides include tunnels, soft water falls, or even interactive buttons that riders can push to release a flood of water or a rapid onto the course.
One of the most unique lazy rivers I’ve ever been on was at Morley’s Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey. There’s included a swim up bar and a section that circled a stage with a live musician playing. That’s true Jersey Shore, heaven! Plus, you can enter at multiple points and you don’t have to get out and re-enter, once you’ve completed a lap.
The origin of lazy rivers in amusement parks can be traced back to the earliest days of amusement park rides. At first, simple boat rides inside a wooden trough, gave way to the more exciting chute the chutes rides, which takes riders up a ramp in a boat, around a trough river in the air, and back down ramp for a spectacular splash landing!
Lazy rivers are a much gentler version for all ages. This type of ride is engineered to be more relaxing than hitting the slides, but amusement park technology keeps on evolving!
A wave river is a similar type, with large waves are generated along the path and the water is generally at a higher speed. Some may include little rapids to give riders a thrill! This type of ride appears at all Schlitterbahn water parks.
The newest hi-tech sister version takes place high in the sky! A rider sits in a raft that is propelled through a series of tubes, ramps, and troughs on a high speed curtain of water.
While the rivers are mostly used for relaxing and play, some parks offer aqua therapy, where walkers or swimmers can go against the current for exercise.
These rides are perfect for kids and families, but parents should keep an eye on the kids. While the water is shallow, most people are on this thing to relax, and not for horseplay. A lazy river can turn into an annoying nightmare if a fleet of screaming kids come barreling on through. Bear that in mind! The last time I was on one, a family of kids and parents carrying on turned the ride into a ton of ticked off riders! It got quite vocal. I just laid back and enjoyed the show!
Name: Lazy Rivers
What: relaxing river ride at a water park or resort
So, for me… I’ll eventually make my way to the slides, but not until I’ve spent a few quality hours soaking up the sun as I sail down the lazy river! I hope to see you at the park this summer, just someone wake me up if I’m taking a snooze as I float my cares away!
PS – Don’t forget the sunscreen!