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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer Fun at the Water Park

By Opal Carew

This month’s topic is about Labour Day weekend, such as memories about family traditions or trips. I don’t like crowds and avoid them if at all possible, so I tend to avoid doing trips on Labour Day weekend. Also, with the kids going back to school the following week I’ve always preferred to have a nice settled weekend before launching into the hectic fall schedule.

We do have an August tradition in our family, though. It all started after we had our first child. This tiny baby kept my husband and I pretty busy, as all babies do, so after a year with no time to ourselves, we decided a little couple’s time would be a good idea. My sister-in-law agreed to take care of our son while hubby and I went away for an overnight trip. We had nothing definite in mind, but decided going to our neighbouring province, Quebec, would be a nice change. We live about two hours from Montreal, but we didn’t want to go to the city, so we found a nice bed-and-breakfast about a half hour north of Montreal in the Laurentian mountains.

It was a lovely place and the setting was gorgeous, but we wanted a little more excitement and discovered a water park nearby. Since we both love water parks, we decided to check it out.


Well, we were astounded. The park is part of a ski resort in the mountains. You actually take chair lifts to the top of the mountain for several of the water rides. One is a white water rafting experience, but I find that one a bit bumpy and cold. The one I really love is where you ride a tube through a series of water slides down the face of the mountain, connected by pools of water. It is wild and seriously fun!

It usually takes about twenty minutes to travel down the mountain. There’s a mild current in the pools, so your tube gets caught in a circular motion rather than going right down the next slide. Then more tubes come down and bump into the tubes already in the pool. Suddenly, you find yourself gliding over the edge and on down. See a video of this water slide (click on ride #11 on the map.)

My husband and I were thrilled to find this park and it immediately became a tradition. Every year we would get someone to take our kids (we had a second son within two years) and we’d head off to Mont Saint- Sauveur and our favourite water park. Once the kids were old enough, we started making it a family affair. Soon they invited friends to join us. Since it’s an hour and a half away, we’d drive up early in the morning, then when the park closed at 7 p.m. we’d go to a restaurant for dinner, then drive home. It makes for a long day, but one we thoroughly enjoy.

Once the kids were old enough to drive, they’d sometimes go on their own, with a carload of friends, but we always make time to go as a family, too. This year my eldest son graduated from university and he’s taking a gap year to earn money so he can go to the UK for his Masters next year. That might be preceded by an internship in Belgium next summer, so that means there might be an interruption to our tradition, but I hope it continues once he returns.

I think it’s great having traditions like this with shared adventures, and it helps a family stay close.

Do you enjoy water parks? Do you have any unusual ones to tell us about?

5 comments:

Sarah Raplee said...

What a lovely tradition! I agree that having adventures,traveling and playing together strengthens family ties and creates lovely memories.

Some of our grandkids' favorite Disney World memories are of the water park there.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Opal,

Family traditions help members stay connected. Growing up we had the summer BBQ that included extended family; week at the beach with just the 5 of us; and then the traditional Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners with family who lived out of the area traveling home to join in.

As an adult I started those traditions with my own family but will admit, in the last 10 years those specific activities have not been carried on.

The tradition I have now that I most love is driving around to look at all the lights on Winter Solstice and then coming home to hot chocolate, tea, or maybe champagne and sharing again the sights we've seen.

Opal Carew said...

Sarah, we love the water parks at Disney, too. Before they had those, we took our kids to the Wet'n'Wild park in Kissimmee.

Judith, it's great that you started traditions with your own family, but I know what you mean about continuing them. Some of the traditions we started when our kids were younger we've since dropped, because they didn't continue to work for us. My favourite is playing board games over the Christmas holiday, and that one is still going strong!

Opal Carew said...

Oops, I meant the board games are my favourite tradition we continued, not that we dropped.

Paty Jager said...

Sounds like fun! I've only been to one water park and that was last summer when we had all the grandkids.They had a wonderful time and I enjoyed watching them have fun and going of a few of the adult slides.