Earlier this month, we had an unexpected opportunity to take the kids for a weekend stay at Schlitterbahn's new beach resort on South Padre Island. We usually make a day trip to the coast every summer, but don't usually stay overnight so we can keep the cost (and stress levels) down. So this was a treat for us all.
After realizing I wasn't quite "swimsuit ready" for an early May poolside debut, I prowled the internet for a new swimsuit. It was a little more money than I'd usually spend on swimwear, I picked out a two-piece swimskirt set from Land's End, and let me tell you, it was so worth it. There was no worrying about my swimsuit-worthy butt on this trip.
Anyway. As any good mom would do, I stocked up on food and sunscreen, and we skipped out on school early so we would arrive at a decent hour. (I was worried the drive would take forever, but turns out the map on my phone was over by like 3 hours--that was a relief.) The drive was what you'd expect with four kids in the car for four hours. And we don't do the car DVD player thing. We play it old school, although we did add a podcast recording of Treasure Island to the mix.
The kids were of course bouncing off the walls the first night we were there. We had dinner at the Seaside Grill, which is outdoors right on the coast. The food was better than expected, and the service was great, probably because we were the only ones brave enough to venture out into the breezy evening (plus it was the off season). And we didn't have to stress about our noisy kids bugging anyone in the tiny dining area.
Before bed we took a swim in the heated guest pool. It was so nice, except when we got out. There was also a swim up bar, but we were too busy with the kids to enjoy a drink right then. Getting the kids to bed afterwards was crazy.
The room itself was great. We were given a two room suite with two king-sized beds, bunk beds, a sitting area, dining table, and full kitchen (I would have brought more food if I'd known that last part). We thought Amelia (who'll be three in August) would have been okay in a big bed, but we ended up having to call the front desk to ask for a playpen. They brought it up super-fast and the kids dropped like flies (and so did we) right after.
The next morning we had breakfast with the other blogger families. Afterwards, I went on a tour of the resort and water park while Chris ventured off with the kids. I got to hear the behind-the-scenes info on the resort, and let me tell you, I was impressed. One of the biggest things that convinced me to go on the trip was the fact that Schlitterbahn sourced almost all of it's wood for the resort from a devastating wildfire that destroyed hundreds of acres of forest here in Texas. It was all destined to become mulch until Schlitterbahn said hey, we could use that.
I won't bore you with numbers, but just about every piece of wood you see in the resort is reclaimed from the Bastrop wildfire--from the furniture in the hotel rooms, the picnic tables, even the beams and trim in the indoor waterpark. I have never heard of a theme park taking such efforts in sustainability.
Not only that, but much of the decor, from the signage to the nautical elements and even rope is reclaimed--the rope comes from old ships that have been salvaged by local companies. No factory-made kitsch here. Even their gorgeous carousel is a vintage piece sourced locally.
And the sustainability doesn't stop with the decor. The retractable roof of the indoor park was salvaged from an out-of-business garden nursery's greenhouse. And all of the water used in the park is recycled back into the system or used for their entire landscape irrigation. It felt good to bring my family to a place that cared so much about the environment and the community.
After the tour, I joined back up with Chris and the kids for lunch and a full day at the outdoor waterpark. I was initially worried about how much Amelia would be able to participate with the lazy river and rides, but it worked out wonderfully.
The park provides kid's life vests free of charge, and they are readily available throughout the park. And none of the water goes deeper than about 3 feet. There were double inner tubes with seats for little ones, and we had a blast going from the lazy river to the rides without having to get out of the water. There were also several play areas with plenty of seating to sit back and enjoy watching the kids. We could leave our bag and towels at a table without worry, and it was just a great atmosphere overall. The boys even rocked out the Boogie Bahn. The only not-so-great part about the day was that the water was still a little chilly outdoors this early in the year, but I'm sure it would be perfect during the scorching Texas summer.
We spent the next morning and early afternoon at the beach and indoor water park before making the drive back home. Things were definitely reaching their peak by then (kids and mama were getting a little cranky and ready for home). But overall we had a great time, and the Schlitterbahn Beach Resort was worth the time and work that go into a family trip--I only wish we'd traded babysitting a couple nights with one of the other families while we were there!
Where's your favorite family vacation spot? Planning any fun trips this summer?
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Labels: reviews, summer