The Caribbean Cove Hotel and Water Park in Indianapolis, IN, is a kids’ dream come true. Granny and I took the opportunity of Labor Day weekend, 2011, to enjoy some special time with our two oldest grandchildren, Sara Riley, 9, and Charlie, 6. They are the children of son Jeremy and daughter-in-law Regina.
Not surprisingly, we “stopped in” on our other son, Andy, and daughter-in-law, Nan, to again see our newest grandson, Owen, and his big-sister-just-turned-two, Audrey.
The big attraction at the Caribbean Cove is the indoor water park, but they offer packages that include the renowned Indianapolis Children’s Museum and/or Indianapolis Zoo. Customize the packages according to what interests you and your children. Not surprisingly, our grandchildren are animal lovers, so the zoo is a guaranteed hit. And the Indianapolis Children’s Museum is the world’s largest and it’s award-winning, making it a no-brainer.
The Hotel is easy to find with Google Maps directions, the check-in is easy and Sara Riley and Charlie were in the water in no time.
There are three water slides, two for individual sliding and one in which one or two riders can slide on single or tandem tubes (provided). The two single slides are totally enclosed, so the back-and-forth, up-and-down rides in the dark are reminiscent of the Space Mountain experience in Disneyland.
There is also a lazy river for those who just want to float on a tube and relax. Charlie and Sara Riley both gravitated to the wading pool sea turtle pictured below, at which they threw themselves and slid across her shell again and again.
The water park hours vary by season, but we enjoyed it from 930 AM until 10 PM. There is
no other limit to the amount of play and fun one can have, except that the park closes for cleaning from 3-4 PM daily.
Safety is well-addressed, even for the hydrophobic. Lifeguards patrol constantly. They never sit, they never stop. The perimeter of every body of water is perused carefully, and each guard’s route overlaps the adjacent one. They are trained to know where the hidden areas are and check those extra-carefully. Every two hours everyone is ordered out of the water for a five-minute safety check, then play resumes. Adults are welcome in every area, in the water or out. So, if you, like Granny, didn’t want to get wet, you can just sit and watch.
Or, eat and watch. There is a food court on the mezzanine that offers pizza, hot dogs, ice cream, drinks and more. The babies never have to leave your sight, nor do they have to go off-campus for meals. Ours chose to eat and get right back into the water.
Our room was spacious, clean and well-appointed. A foldout bed from the sofa meant we didn’t need to take a bed with us, or order an extra from the front desk. To add to the adventure, however, Sara Riley and Charlie chose to put their sleeping bags on top of the mattress.
Our afternoon at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum couldn’t have been better. It didn’t take long for Sara Riley and Granny to locate the Barbie exhibit. After dinosaurs and trains, they went no further.
Charlie and I went on to see the third floor, but let the closing time of 5 PM sneak up on us. The exhibits on racism, neighborhoods, Egypt, the water clock and others were fascinating. It doesn’t take long to figure out how they gather so many accolades.
Our next-to-the-last day was reserved for the Indianapolis Zoo. Water sports
had tired us out, so everyone slept late except me, and I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the early hours. We had a nice breakfast and decided to go straight to the zoo instead of spending time in the water park first. It was a good choice, as the high today was expected to be 79, compared to 94 the previous day.
The big hit at the zoo was the shark-petting pool. Both kids loved it. We started there and we finished up there, returning after having seen all of the other exhibits. The mud sharks are safe to pet because they are bottom-feeders, have dull teeth and turned-down mouths. Still, zoo employees instructed us to pet the sides of the sharks, not their heads!
It’s a good thing ring-tailed lemurs don’t run wild in US forests, because people would probably feed them like racoons. They are so cute, but can you imagine the mischief if they ran amuck?
The plight of the African wild dog is highlighted on several signs around their exhibit. I wanted to be sure to
give dogs equal time with the cats.
The cheetah was the first cat for us to see, and they were magnificent. One stood alone, then two came into view and proceeded to groom each other and play. It did the heart good.
Lions and tigers were in the “Forest” display, but we found them during nap time, so there wasn’t much to see and
less to photograph. Besides, that would have given an unfair balance to cat/dog coverage.
Tropical Storm Lee has given our home and our clinic a good lashing in our absence, and we are happy to report that no damage has occurred.
Our biggest concern is cleaning up after the bayou we live on has flooded. In addition to some huge logs that floated in, there is a boat in the back yard. And, not the first we’ve seen in our 14 years here.
Oh, yes, and there’s recovering from the “storm” of taking care of a six-year-old and a nine-year-old for three days. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.