Just over a year ago, Lucia learned all about the magic that is a water park. She visited her first one and, to this day, still talks about how much fun it was. That’s why one of the draws for us to Cape Girardeau was Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center. It is an outdoor water park with fun features for all ages and bravery levels. We visited on the Sunday afternoon of Labor Day Weekend. I expected it to be blistering hot and crowded; it was neither. In fact, skies were a bit cloudy and the rains were threatening. But more on that in just a bit.
I had a feeling that Lucia would not be interested in any of the big water slides so we came up with a plan of attack for the rest of the park. First item on the fun agenda: the lazy river! Visitors plop into an inner tube and set off with the current down the 700-foot river that winds through the park and even under a waterfall. I’d have been happy floating down that lazy river all day! The spray pad was a lot of fun for Lucia. She enjoyed running through the plumes of water and getting sprayed; it lives up to its name! Beyond there is a zero-depth entry leisure pool with a small slide and play area for the kids that might be a bit too big for the spray pad but aren’t quite ready for the 64-to-170-foot flumes.
One thing I noticed right away about Cape Splash is their unfailing attention to safety. This brings me back to my earlier point about the cloudy skies and threatening rain… Approximately five minutes after our arrival at Cape Splash, just about the time we got our inner tubes into the lazy river, one of the lifeguards began blowing his whistle. All of the other lifeguards joined him and before we knew it, we were being ordered out of the water. I had no idea what was happening so I asked one of the lifeguards and he explained that they’d heard thunder. I was disappointed and in disbelief because I heard nothing that even resembled thunder, nor was there any lightning. So, everyone had to exit the water for a thirty-minute waiting period. Try telling a four-year-old who gets as excited about the water park as she does about Christmas morning that, even though she JUST got into the water, she now had to get out. We lived through the first thunder emergency waiting period but soon after the whistles started blowing again. This second waiting period was elongated because thunder was heard again before the thirty minutes were up so the timer was reset to zero. Lucia was a good sport about it. She waited patiently and was rewarded with a popsicle from the concession stand. While the thirty-minute waiting periods were annoying and disappointing, it really is refreshing and comforting to know that safety is taken so seriously at Cape Splash. There are lifeguards stationed mere feet from one another. They do not leave their perches/posts unless there is another lifeguard right there waiting to make the relief. I even witnessed a young female lifeguard launch herself from her chair into the pool to save a boy in distress. It was the first time in my life I’d witnessed such a rescue and it literally brought tears to my eyes. Additionally, there are height requirements for each of the major water slides. Anyone that doesn’t appear to be tall enough is measured by a staff member stationed at the top of each slide’s tower.
It is easy for families to spend an entire day at Cape Splash. There is a bathhouse to change and shower and lockers to store your valuables. Grab lunch or snacks from the on-site, full-service concession stand (sorry, no outside food or drinks are allowed). And don’t forget your beach towels!
Cape Splash fast facts:
• Open from May until Labor Day (closed for the season at the time of this post)
• Admission (per day): children, ages 1-13 = $5; adults, ages 14-59 = $6; seniors, age 60+ = $5; children, under 12 months = free.
• Season passes also are available.
• Features: 700-foot Lazy River; 177-foot open flume with 25-foot tower; 140-foot enclosed flume; 64-foot and 78-foot flumes with 11-foot tower; vortex (swirl) pool; leisure pool with zero-depth entry; spray pad with zero-depth entry. (I’ll let you in on a little secret: there are plans for Cape Splash to be expanded so it will be even more fun!)
• Contact: (573) 339-6343
My family’s trip to Cape Girardeau, including admission to Cape Splash, was provided by Cape Girardeau CVB and its partners. All words and opinions, as always, are my own.