New England Today - Travel
A Splash of New England Ingenuity
Indoor Water Park Makes Every Day a Summer Day on Cape Cod
by Kim Knox Beckius, June 19, 2017
A warning bell sounds. A storm’s a-brewin’. Soon, there will be flashes of lightning and crackling thunder. And excited kids—and grown-ups—jumping into the water.
“No, no,” you’re probably thinking if you’ve ever been a parent, had a parent, or known a parent. This is exactly the type of weather that ruins pool and beach days. Not so at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa, where New England’s newest indoor water park guarantees perfect swimsuit weather for 10 to 13 solid hours each day, 365 days of the year. When the lights go dim and “rain” drenches tubers inside this 30,000-square-foot aquatic fun zone, it means the action is revving up. The lazy river that wends its way around a towering lighthouse becomes a rushing, stormy river several times each hour, ensuring tube riders are never bored.
It’s no accident that these sudden storms mimic New England’s famously capricious weather. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about Cape Cod’s only indoor water park, which has a wave pool, four twisting tube slides, a water umbrella, and a separate Pirate’s Bay water play area for little kids. Each element was ingeniously designed to reflect the resort’s location in the heart of one of New England’s most popular vacation destinations. So, when the sea’s too rough or cold for a Cape Cod whale watch voyage, you can always spy a humpback spouting as you drift along in your tube. Can’t take the time to visit Martha’s Vineyard? The island’s pastel-painted gingerbread cottages are among the facades that give the enclosed space its distinctly New England character. And when the weather outside is perfect? The clear, retractable roof opens to reveal sunny skies and starry New England nights.
Building a year-round indoor water park at the Cape Codder was a dream from the start for the Catania family, who added the hotel to their hospitality holdings in 2000. Investing in Cape Cod and transforming this beloved coastal region into a four-season vacation spot has been a passion for the second-generation owners of this restaurant and hotel business, founded in 1973 by V.J. Catania. They’re driven to share a too-well-kept secret: Cape Cod’s scenic beauty doesn’t fade the moment the calendar says Labor Day.
When school is back in session, and summer warmth lingers even as cranberries redden and foliage colors emerge, the always-84-degree water that whooshes down slides and courses through the park is “just right” for adults including corporate groups and couples. If you’re ready to take the plunge, the water park can even be the “something blue” backdrop for a memorable midweek wedding. Like the surrounding resort, this watery realm was created with all-ages fun in mind. A color-morphing professional light show transforms the ambience after little kids’ bedtime. And you’ll find Klondike Choco Tacos on the Gazebo Cafe menu… along with chardonnay.
It’s not the beverage selection, though, that gives parents the freedom to unwind. It’s the layout of this water fun complex, which is a manageable size and easy to surveil. While kids bodysurf and splash down a pair of slides, you can monitor their every move from a soothing spot in the 24-seat whirlpool. The fenced-in kiddie play area’s attractions—a pirate ship, mini slides, a dump bucket, water-spurting sea creatures—are designed so that preschoolers have no place to hide. And vigilant lifeguards—six to 12 per shift depending on crowd size—also amp up parental peace of mind.
Water park day passes are sold on a limited basis: You can check availability online. And lockers and towels may be rented for your convenience. But the best value is an overnight stay, which, when booked directly with the resort, includes guaranteed water park admission, towels, and access to all resort amenities including the Rainbow Falls heated outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, also open year-round. With 266 spacious, clean, coastal-chic guest rooms, suites, and even fractional ownership residences, you can choose accommodations to suit your family’s budget and needs, whether you’re a family of two, five, or 53… reunions are a Cape Codder specialty.
Without leaving the resort, you can dine well at the family-oriented Hearth ‘n Kettle, the Grand Cru Wine Bar & Grill, or the outdoor dining area, where bands play four nights each week in the summertime. Carve out time, too, for sophisticated or pampering skin, body, hair, and nail services at the Beach Plum Spa, where treatments are available for kids as young as 5. Collect tickets in the game room, play pickleball, toast marshmallows, and lounge by the bonfire. Each season brings new enticements. And in the unlikely event you exhaust all of the on-site possibilities? Good news: You’re on Cape Cod.