I got a message last Friday with an invitation to a Jeremy’s company picnic at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Elena loves water and slides, so we suspected that she would enjoy the combination of the two.
After lunch, which included the rare treats of Cheetos and part of an ice cream bar, we were ready for the water. The first area had a maximum depth of about a foot, and several little slides around its perimeter. We found the most tame of them, I helped Elena climb the stairs, and Jenny stood at the bottom to catch her. The first time down, she needed a little push, and Jenny reported that she had a somewhat startled look on her face. As soon as she splashed into Jenny’s arms, she got a big smile and wanted to do it again.
We did that one a couple of times, but there was more to explore. Elena waded through the pool to the next slides, which were a little bit bigger and scarier. She adapted quickly, and before long she was smiling and giggling at the top of the slide, not just at the bottom. Usually, when she got to the bottom she was turning immediately to do it again, so she didn’t have much time for mirth. She did slip a few times, but she was wearing a life jacket and after the first few times she stopped swallowing quite as much water.
Our next stop was the lazy river. We each got an inner tube, including a small one for Elena, and held onto each other as we circled around. After a couple of times around the loop, we wanted to get out. At our chosen exit point the river wasn’t very lazy and I had an exciting moment bailing out of my tube while simultaneously keeping Elena from drifting away.
The park had three different sections, and after we reapplied our sunscreen, we took the shuttle over to the original part of the park, where they use water directly from the Comal river. As we walked around, I regretted that I couldn’t go on any of the grown-up slides, but it was worth it to see how much fun Elena was having.
We found another kid area, and Elena picked up right where she left off with the slides. She even took things one step further by deciding to go on the slide all by herself: she climbed up the stairs, got into position, scooted forward, and pushed herself down the slide. A few times, she forgot to sit down when she got to the top of the slide, so I had to help her.
The tour wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the third section of the park. The kids’ area there featured a pirate ship with slides coming out of it. When I took Elena up, there was one boy who was too scared, even though his mother was encouraging him at the bottom. After Elena went down, she said to him “come on, even that baby did it!” We decided that Elena should try the bigger slide on the pirate ship, but in order to do so she had to experience another staple of water parks: the waiting line. It was only about four kids long, and she wasn’t fazed at all by the taller, longer slide.
Elena was having such a good time and didn’t want to leave, but it was time for us to go. We thanked them again and said our goodbyes to Jeremy and Amy. They and their kids stayed until closing time, but Elena needed a nap and we had a dinner appointment, so we got in the car, blasted the air conditioning, and headed home.