26 Nov
Posted in: travel
By    Comments Off on Take a Trip: WaTiki Indoor Waterpark

Take a Trip: WaTiki Indoor Waterpark

View of WaTiki Waterpark slides

We travel to the Black Hills of South Dakota a couple of times each year. Several times while we’ve visited Rapid City, our kids have asked to stop at WaTiki Indoor Waterpark. We’ve always managed to avoid the waterpark, until last weekend.

WaTiki Waterpark Rapid City, South Dakota

Our second oldest chose to celebrate his 10th birthday at WaTiki. It seems most of our friends have driven the four hours to enjoy the water slides in the 30,000 square foot park, so we had a vague idea of what to expect. We spent four hours at the park and, quite literally, wore the children out. There are quite a few stairs to hike up to enjoy the three large water slides. I haven’t a clue how many times the kids trudged up the stairs with tubes in hand to slide down only to do it all again…over and over and over.

Looking down on the lazy river at WaTiki Waterpark

Our kids wouldn’t use any other words besides fantastic, amazing and awesome to describe our morning at WaTiki. I have a few issues with the park, none of which will keep us from visiting again, but were nonetheless annoying.

Two boys riding a tube on a water slide

1. The resort has signage warning patrons to swim at their own risk. Lifeguards may not be working. During our visit, there were several lifeguards on duty, but what their job entailed was unclear. The number of children sprinting through the park or trying to throw each other into shallow water was ridiculous. Parents and lifeguards alike did nothing to alleviate the problem.

2. There are no showers, just rinse off stations in the changing area. We were not staying at the attached hotels and were planning to spend the rest of the day in Rapid City. We would have appreciated showering facilities. Both the rinse off stations and restrooms had soap dispensers, but no soap.

3. We brought our own towels, but towels are available. The clean towel bin provided by WaTiki was quickly used and not replaced during our four hour stint.

4. The hot tub was filled with children much too young to be in the superheated water. Not once did a WaTiki employee address the situation. I understand why children were drawn to the hot water. Once the sun moved behind clouds, the inside of the waterpark became downright chilly.

5. The park has an expansion project underway. It seems the current facility could use maintenance and deep-cleaning.  The build-up on slides, stairs and the waterline of the lazy river was noticeable. I hope there’s a plan for some general upkeep in conjunction with the expansion.

I wouldn’t visit WaTiki during the busy season or around holidays. We arrived at 9 a.m. on a Saturday, and by noon, the park was packed with people. We never had to wait in line for any of the slides, but the lazy river and hot tub were congested to the point where they were no longer fun to be in. If we go back, we’ll go when it first opens for the day and plan to leave before the crowds take over.


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