On a blustery rainy winter day where the temperatures topped 39 degrees Farenheit in DFW, it is hard to believe that my family geared up to spend the day playing in a waterpark. But, we had heard that Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark (Grand Prairie) was hosting a Breakfast with Santa event. So, an intrigued Kid Allergy Travel decided to partner up (via sponsorship) to see just what that would be all about.
The draw here is first and foremost the waterpark. It is truly epic in size and offerings include:
- Industry firsts in slides: LassoLoop, the Yellowjacket Drop, and the Aquanaut.
- Longest lazy river in Texas at 600 feet (& it is fast too which was much to Kid Allergy's liking)
- Year round enjoyment due to a retractable roof that allows for a climate controlled interior.
- Full bar via a swank little spot called the Longboard.
- Privacy options with event rooms, cabana enclosures, and lockers available.
- Flowrider® Surfing Simulator. Even the Kindergartner made the height requirement for this amazing attraction. Kids can body surf and get plenty of attention and lessons before being sent out to try. Adults can sign a waiver to try stand up surfing--but be warned it is harder than it looks even for those who are good at surfing behind boats (rope vs no rope really does make a difference folks)! Plus, when crowds get a little thick, they have a padded section that can split the area to allow two to try side by side which helps with turnover.
- E-Racers. This was the only big slide our 5 year old could do, but it was pretty fantastic all things considered. It is a game where our family of 4 could hop on a mat with cleverly designed handles, choose a colored slide, and then race each other to victory!
- Rascals Round-Up. They say this is designed for younger guests but it sure looked like everyone of all ages was having a blast here with all the many levers, fountains, buckets, cones and water blasters that are sprinkled throughout this larger than life splash pad. Plus, this area houses two kid-sized slides that kept my Kindergartner plenty happy. Tip: If you have a little one just pay attention to the alarm sound that signals the upcoming deluge of water coming from the 300 lb tipping bucket.
Holiday Event: Santa Brunch
The event takes place on the second floor where the private birthday party rooms are located. The room has beautiful views of the waterpark in the background, and is decorated here and there with various twinkly lights, Christmas trees, and wrapped presents. Staff is decked out in their holiday attire. There is a pretty standard breakfast buffet spread in the corner: biscuits and gravy, French toast sticks, eggs, bacon, sausage, and fruit.
But...let's just be clear. We didn't really come here for the food or the decor. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE those overly pretentious make your kids wear their Sunday best and sit nicely without making noise kind of holiday gatherings. My kids, however, care more about doing than sitting. And, that is just what you get when you book a Breakfast with Santa here at Epic Waters. Santa and Mrs. Claus are there to interact with every single child and family. It is about really hanging out with Father Christmas as opposed to a 3 minute cameo for a real quick photo opp. This is what matters to your children. And, the fact that my kids got to do this in flip flops and swim trunks was just a bonus in their minds.
After personally chatting and cuddling every child and family, kids are invited to sit criss-cross applesauce on the reading rug to interact as a pint-sized group with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. They read the kids 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. They ask every single child what they want for Christmas. Saint Nicholas even let the kids give a tug on the old beard to see if it was real (spoiler alert: it is!). They get to color shrinky dink type ornaments (clothing alert: with Sharpies!).
They personify the list checking by explaining their Chief Elf is named Peppermint and discuss how to stay off that naughty list. My youngest even stressed out about his behavior on some of those items later in the day like "don't fight with your brother" and "listen to your mommy and daddy when you ask you to do something the first time"--thank you Santa & Mrs. Claus! The event ends with a professional photo of each family with the holiday stars and a bell from one of the reindeer (a-la-Polar Express).
Incredibly. Well. Done.
Our family is by no means waterpark connoisseurs, but we know clean, friendly, and modern when we see it. This destination ticks all the boxes.
But...what made this particular place stand out was the service. Someone in this place has focused on hiring the right employees that create the overall ambiance. There is pride in their work, and I mean, across the board. From the person sweeping the floors who gave us a friendly hello, to the Lifeguard reassuring my 5 year old on the E-Racer what he was about to experience, to the cashier and cooks working at the on-site grill helping us with food allergy concerns, everyone here wasn't some bored teenager jonesing to get to Snapchat on their phone when their shift was done. These kids took pride in the waterpark.
It turns out, this is not a corporate run entity that focuses on simply churning a profit. This destination is owned by the city of Grand Prairie and it is done so as a service for the community. The magic ingredient here is town pride.
- Parking is free. Event ticket or no--always free parking!
- Bring Towel. There are no towel services here except for the option to purchase for under $15 in the gift store.
- Don't miss the Arcade. We are avid game players and this set up does rival a Dave & Busters or Main Event, so carve some time and a budget to stay and play.
- Don't be late for the event. Santa makes his grand entrance at 8:30am and your kiddos won't want to miss this.
- Don't feel obligated to suit your kids in their swimwear. The changing facilities are modern, clean, and readily available. I am a bit of a germaphobe about this kind of stuff but this one really did get a thumbs up from me! Plus, if you are attending the holiday event there will be plenty of photo opportunities.
- Gluten Free options are available. This goes for the event and the one on-site dining facility the Hungry Wave as well. Scrambled eggs, fruit and bacon are all available gluten free for Breakfast with Santa. Hot dog, pulled pork, and grilled chicken breast are all available sans bun. Fruit cup or chips are options for sides instead of the non-dedicated fryer fries or onion rings. Or, salads can be prepared with tuna or grilled chicken alternatively for those gluten free diners looking for something more healthy. Don't hesitate to speak with someone directly as they are open to working with food allergies.
- Visit The Epic. This is a recreational complex across the walkway providing sporting, culinary, kids activities and art/cultural experiences.
- Outdoor Wave Pool is now open post May 2019. An additional 10,000 square feet of outdoor space has been added for the price of admission. Read about Epic Waves here.
Kid Allergy Travel received sponsored event tickets to the Breakfast with Santa Event and complementary meals at Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark. Although this was part of a media visit, rest assured, the opinions provided in the post by Kid Allergy Travel remain our own. Photos by Kid Allergy Travel.
When you are done spending the day at Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark, do you want to find more to do in the Dallas/Fort Worth area? Check out these posts with ideas for around town activities for family: