Where to begin?! It's been a while since I've been able to blog and update my site. Life tends to throw me a bunch of curveballs all at once - like a pitching machine gone crazy at the batting cages.
I am so excited to come back with such a wonderful review of Sahara Sam's! I'm always so thankful for the opportunity to review local venues through the US Family Guide, and this one just blew me away!
If you are from the Philadelphia area (including NJ and DE), then you need to check out Sahara Sam's! It's a huge warehouse turned water park right on Route 73 in West Berlin, NJ. Trust me, you cannot miss it! There are tube slides jutting off the side of the building!
The moment we opened the front door, there was a gentleman there to greet us, check our bags (safety check) and kindly direct us to check in. You enter into the arcade and can't miss the big desk/ticket booth in the back. You're bracelet is scanned by the turnstyle to give you entrance into the water park. Holy Moly! If you're like me, the first thing you noticed was the bar. Yes, there is a bar for overworked parents - and a hot tub too! Woohoo! Maybe one day I'll get back there without my kids, but for now they're too small for me to enjoy the adult side of the park.
Ok, so the first thing I noticed AFTER the bar, was that there is something for everyone. My daughter (who is three), was able to enjoy most of her time in the toddler/preschool area of the park. There were two small slides that had a soft cushion for landing, little water swings and sprinklers. The water never goes any higher than 1 foot deep. I admit, I spent the majority of my time in this spot for my girl, but was able to switch off with the Hubs and explore things for myself.
My 6 year old and husband spent most of their time playing in the giant water/playground in the middle of the park. It was massive! There were two medium sized water slides (small enough for my son to go by himself), a giant bucket that spilled gallons upon gallons of water every 20 minutes or so, sprinklers, tubes, water cannons, etc. It was a 6 year old boy's heaven. I also liked the fact that none of the waterslides dumped you into a pool. They all ended like a log flume would - just a few inches of water and a long straight away.
There was also a Lazy River that all four of us were able to ride - my favorite. It was relaxing, not overly crowded with tubes and had a few waterfalls, sprinklers that splashed you as you went by.
The other attractions available were a Surf Simulator that looked fun, but being with the little ones, we opted to just watch. I was told there are only a handful of them on the East Coast. There was a 3 ft. pool with a few basketball nets/balls, a small obstacle course of lilly pads and ropes in another small pool. But let's not forget about those crazy water slides we saw driving in. You had to walk up at least 4 stories to reach the top of those slides. It was intense! I was shocked when my son wanted to go on. Obviously, he was too small to go alone, so my husband went up with him. They loved it! The twists and turns (and let's not forget about speed) were "scary but AWESOME" according to the boy.
As for the venue itself, my husband and I were both impressed by how many lifeguards were stationed at each location throughout the park. I never saw less than 2 - even in the smallest of spots. I even noticed many staff members walking and mingling as well, making sure everyone had what they needed -whether it be a bathroom, chair for their towels, or life vest for the little ones. Yes! There are ample life vests. I was worried we'd have a hard time finding them, but that was not the case.
The lockers and changing rooms were right off the entrance, and there were clothes spinners in the bathrooms for your wet clothes.
I would definitely suggest getting there when they open. The crowds/parties seemed to get there in the early afternoon (1:30-2 PM) which was perfect, since we were ready to go by then. I'm sure once the kids get older, we'd spend the entire day there, but for now, 3 hours was enough to wipe them out within minutes of getting into the car.
All in all, it was a great day. We had a great time, at what I consider to be a clean and fun waterpark. - It was just what we needed to break the cold in January. As they like to say at SS's, "It's always 85 and Sunny."