We recently moved to Ottawa. As a parting gift from colleagues at his previous job we received two generous gift cards to Calypso Waterpark. As two-time water park season pass holders at Sandcastles in Pittsburgh, it was a guaranteed hit. Thank you! DH took the day off work so we could go as a family on a weekday, hoping the crowds would be a little more tame. Today was the day. It was perfect. Crowds were manageable, wait times were bearable and the temperature was a tolerable at 27 degrees celsius. Swim suits, towels, sunscreen, snacks and water, check, check, check check, and check. We are off! The excitement was high.
For just less than the average car payment a family of four can enter the water park. $136 for our family, plus $5 for parking and $5 for a locker. A little steep, but you soon forget how much it hurt at the ticket booth once you are racing down the Jungle Run, riding the waves in the Calypso Palace or playing chicken with your life on the Aqualoop.
Colassal is the only way to describe Calypso. It boasts more than 35 waterslides, 100 water games, Canada’s largest wave pool, the highest free-standing waterslide tower in North America and a 750 meter jungle themed river adventure, complete with sound effects.
Recently, MSN Travel, branded Calypso the best waterpark in the world! MSN Travel published its top ten list of the best waterparks and put Calypso in the top spot, above Disneyworld’s Typhoon Lagoon and the World Waterpark at the West Edmonton Mall. For us, the best waterpark in the world is only 40 minutes away. I suspect an annual trip.
First up, the wave pool, at the request/demand of JWS, age 5. To say that JWS loves water is an understatement. Right from the first bath he had as an infant, when he kicked and squealed in delight in the freedom of the bath water. Our little amphibious creature. The harsher the assault of the wave, the bigger the smile on his face. He couldn’t get enough. On the other hand, LWS, age 3, enjoyed the waves from the safe, secure arms of Dad. He is our cautious one, when it comes to water. As I tried to keep up to JWS in the wave pool, a workout in itself, I tasted salt! All the water at Calypso is salt water. I have officially forgotten about the cost of admission.
Next the Jungle Run. This was the family favourite; the attraction we all could enjoy, equally. We relaxed as the current pushed us along, raced as the jets propelled us and anticipated the next water feature. Participants under 1.52 meters must wear a personal floatation device. No problem, Calypso offers life jackets free of charge.
On to the Zoo Lagoon. I highly recommend a one adult to one child ratio for constant surveillance. If you can recruit a second adult for an extra set of eyes, I would do it! It was a little nerve-racking keeping track of our guys. LWS had a blast at the Zoo Lagoon. This area of the park is reserved the smallest swimmers. There are levers to pull that make the giraffes, hippos and elephants spit water on the innocence bystanders. Hilarious, when you are three. The slides are slow and short, preventing terrifying our youngest sliders and allowing the older siblings to be creative on how to go down (ie. head first).
Adjacent to the Zoo Lagoon, is the Pirate’s Aquaplay. Stairs, slides, ropes, cannons, walkways, Arr Matey. Once your child is swallowed by the ship, don’t be surprised if it is hours before the next sighting. And then just when you think you might have spotted your child in the depths of the ship, the giant bucket of water dumps, washing out any hope. Fingers crossed, rumbling tummies will draw them out to refuel.
Calypso is educational too. DH and JWS set there sites on the Zoomerang. A fabulously terrifying ride that takes two riders sitting in a tube, and zips them down a slide towards a horrifying drop-off and then immediately up a wall, designed much like a skateboard ramp. This ride is sure to make even the bravest souls quiver. JWS was insistent on trying it, so DH and JWS jumped into line. As the two climb the stairs, DH educates JWS with his first little physics lesson. “You see JWS, it is all about the weight/momentum relationship. So, don’t worry we won’t go that high because you are not heavy enough.” As the slide whips them up the ramp and they approach the upper limit of the Zoomerang (higher than anybody else), DH remembers he failed physics! Friction, he forgot to factor in friction! From a bench below, LLS and I hear a high-pitched scream (from DH) then sighed a big breath of relief as gravity forces them back down to a reasonable altitude. Phew! JWS was laughing and squealing as DH tried to salvage some shred of dignity as they exited the ride.
Other noteworthy features.
- There was plenty of parking. Parking attendants guided vehicles into nice, neat, efficient rows.
- There was ample space to set up a family headquarters. Or the option to rent a private Cabana.
- The food options were decent. I even found a good salad.
- Cash free, card free transactions. We didn’t use this feature but it is genius. Money at My Fingertip.
There are only two things negative things I can say about Calypso.
- The lack of recycling. Only recycling bins for cans were provided. What about paper and plastic?
- It was too much fun! Good luck convincing your children it is time to go home.
We logged six exhilarating hours at Calypso. In all fairness the admission fees are comparable to all other top ranked waterparks in the world, making the Best Waterpark in the World, Calypso, a bargain!