When I think of the term waterpark, visions of Great Wolf Lodge, Busch Gardens, and Six Flags dance in my head. I envision yards and yards of splishing and splashing, so imagine my surprise when I pulled up to the Chesapeake Beach Waterpark and peeped that it was actually the size of a Brooklyn block (that’s Brooklyn, NY, not Brooklyn, MD). Needless to say, it wasn’t quite what I had expected.
Constructed in 1995, the waterpark serves as the community’s scaled-up pool area complete with two large water slides, one of which uses an inner tube for its spiraling decent. There are six other smaller slides, a kiddie pool, fountains, a waterfall, and a lazy river.
The entry fee for non-county Chesapeake Chiropractor residents over 48 inches is $18.00, and $16.00 under that. Two years and younger enjoy free admission. After 4pm the rates are cheaper at $8.00 and $7.00, respectively; however the park closes at 7. At a fraction of the cost of Six Flags, our family of four (our toddler was free), paid $54 to splash around.
Though my six year old enjoyed himself immensely on the various slides, and my two year old splashed himself to sleep, after a couple of hours, my oldest joined my husband’s chorus of “I’m ready to go”.
I can’t complain too much as there was something charming to me about the waterpark’s intimate setting. I didn’t feel like I needed my cell phone to keep in touch with my husband or that my oldest would necessarily get lost if he got separated from us, which, of course, happened.
In his spirited independence, my son left our family inner-tube while we waded along the lazy river. He merrily swam off with some other kids. Amongst the jubilant commotion of the river’s waterfall, we were separated and couldn’t see him. Oddly enough, neither of us jumped off the inner-tube to find him because we didn’t think he’d feel lost in the small water park. Unfortunately, he did get scared after not being able to spot us, however, that speaks more to the less rational thinking of a 6 year-old than it does to the actual size of the park.
The actual highlight of our trip to Chesapeake Beach, MD turned out to be the drive. It was a peaceful excursion through Anne Arundel County down the never-ending route 2, Solomons Islands Rd into Calvert County, MD. Our drive took us past farms and large estate homes blessed with acres of elbow room. Signs of “live crabs” and “fresh peaches and blackberries” partnered with shoulder-height corn fields and road-side produce stands made us feel like we were deeper south than Maryland.
Mom’s Tip: Be sure to check your Six Flag-esque expectations if you decide to travel to this sleepy town’s biggest attraction – it might not be quite what you expect. Structure your trip around multiple activities. Plan some family beach time; take a visit to the Railway Museum; stay at the Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa, perhaps; or enjoy a nice family dinner along the water. Your trip, whether day or overnight, will feel more well-rounded and satisfying.
Tawanna Browne Smith is a happily married mother of two young boys.
She has a Bachelor’s in International Relations from Stanford University and a Masters in International Economic Policy from the University of Maryland School. Her past work and her husband’s current work have kept her on the go.