Families with small children find 'super' party alternative

SANDUSKY Super Bowl parties are less about the game and more about the food, folks and fun. The NFL's big game gives people a chance to get together and enjoy snacks, play games and laugh at the $2 million commercials while watching a minute or two of the actual competition on the field. In our circle of friends, the couple most recently married typically would host the affair. We took our turn 10 years ago, in January 1997. But seven Super Bowl parties later, it appeared the tradition would die. Most of those couples had grown into multiple-children families, and it became impossible to play games or enjoy casual conversation while relaxing in front of the TV. One or both parents had to spend a lot of their time monitoring the children, most of whom were preschool age. There were bumps and bruises, spills, sharing issues, broken toys, and a general trashing of rooms. While everyone pitched in to clean up at the night's end, I for one was glad we hadn't hosted that gathering. So last year we tried something different. We were one of five families who took advantage of Castaway Bay's "Island Evenings" waterpark passes.
Matt_Roche
Jul 24, 2010

SANDUSKY Super Bowl parties are less about the game and more about the food, folks and fun.

The NFL's big game gives people a chance to get together and enjoy snacks, play games and laugh at the $2 million commercials while watching a minute or two of the actual competition on the field.

In our circle of friends, the couple most recently married typically would host the affair. We took our turn 10 years ago, in January 1997. But seven Super Bowl parties later, it appeared the tradition would die. Most of those couples had grown into multiple-children families, and it became impossible to play games or enjoy casual conversation while relaxing in front of the TV. One or both parents had to spend a lot of their time monitoring the children, most of whom were preschool age. There were bumps and bruises, spills, sharing issues, broken toys, and a general trashing of rooms. While everyone pitched in to clean up at the night's end, I for one was glad we hadn't hosted that gathering.

So last year we tried something different. We were one of five families who took advantage of Castaway Bay's "Island Evenings" waterpark passes.

A projection TV displayed the game on the large wall by the activity pool, making it viewable from most areas in the park. Although the noise of gushing water, heaters and screams of excitement eliminates the possibility of audio, the broadcast included close caption.

So while those of us interested in the game sat in beach chairs to catch some of the action, others enjoyed the water roller coaster, slides, wave pool and whirlpool spa. We took turns watching the youngest children play in the Toddler's Tide Pool, which offers a tandem slide, water pipes, spraying gadgets and sea creature play structures. Depth of the warm water ranges from 6 inches to a foot and a half. And best of all, that pool had one of the best views of the game!

We liked the experience so much that four of the families returned for this year's Super Bowl.

The whirlpool spa has an opening which connects the indoor and outdoor areas. Last year, we spent some time in the outdoor part, where steam rose from the water while snowflakes fell on our heads. This year, however, the entrance to the outdoor area was closed due to sub-zero wind chill values, which, we were told, had made the inside water only lukewarm the previous day.

Last year, we all brought treats to share, just like the Super Bowl parties of old. We took breaks to eat and visit at a section of Adirondack chairs and tables by the wave pool near the back of the park. It also served as a good spot to store our belongings.

On the way out, however, we noticed the list of rules which included the prohibition of food being brought into the park. Oops. So this year we took along a few snacks to keep the kids going in between meals.

Some of us paid a visit to Big Daddy's Snack Shack, which is located within the waterpark. Menu items include pizza, hot dogs, pretzels, deli sandwiches, nachos, salads, soft serve ice cream, cookies, beer, soft and frozen drinks.

Guests can use the Caribbean-themed indoor waterpark from 4 to 10 p.m. for a reduced price, last year it was $7.95 and this year $15. However, Cedar Point season pass-holders, which many of us are, can spend the entire day (9 a.m. to 10 p.m.) for $15 that's $14 cheaper than the normal price. Children 2 and under are free.