That was because our visits tended to be limited to one day and we prioritized the rides, particularly the roller coasters, over the water park. Plus, the water park comes with extra parental hassle: more gear to lug and more money required in the form of a locker rental.
But the twins insisted on Hurricane Harbor this visit, mostly because they wanted to ride the Bonzai Pipelines, and out came the bathing suits.
The Pipelines were our first stop inside Hurricane Harbor. Since I’m the designated adult for thrill rides, we left the husband with our stuff (thus avoiding the locker rental fee) and trekked up a long flight of stairs (75 feet of climbing) to the Pipelines.
I like water slides well enough but I only realized what I was getting into when we reached the top.
It’s a trap door ride.
Or, as the park calls the mechanism, a Drenaline Drop launcher capsule. Meaning, you literally stand on a trap door, which gives way and drops you into 257-feet of water slide. The video above provides an idea of what it looks like but I admit to more terror waiting for the floor to disappear below me than I ever had waiting to ride a regular coaster.
The end result: the ride is so fast that there’s no room to do anything but fall, slide around, and zoom into the bottom. I’d do it again but parents of little (or bigger) kids might want to review exactly what the ride is like before they decide to climb all those steps.
Overall, the Harbor offers a great deal for kids large and small. For the ones who might be wary of water rides, there are several pools available, some even with beach sand. My twins loved Commotion Ocean, a 500,000-gallon wave pool.
There are more water slides, of course, with some the traditional slide down-on-your-own and others with rafts that can fit the whole family, and still others designed to allow the raft to float around lazily.
The only ride we had a problem with was Typhoon. This slide stacks riders three in a row on a raft and uses conveyer belts to create a roller coaster/water slide combination, with ups and downs. Or, to use the park’s official description:
You’ll be shot back up a lift hill using jets of water and seamlessly integrated conveyor belts. No need to drag a raft back up the stairs. Typhoon gets the action relentlessly rolling without a pause, and once you’ve got some altitude again, you’re free to take plummet after amazing plummet.
It was a great ride and delivered as promised but, unfortunately, on the last drop, I bonked heads with my son, who was sitting in front of me. The back of his head had no damage but my forehead had a nice bruise for a week. I asked Six Flags about the possibility of injury on the ride and they replied:
Six Flags has an excellent safety record and one of the most comprehensive safety programs in our industry. In fact, we are a leader in the development of safety standards used in theme parks around the world, and all of our parks adhere to these standards. In addition to our daily inspections, all of our rides are inspected annually by a third party independent ride consulting firm, by state ride inspectors, by insurance inspectors, by Six Flags Corporate Engineers and by Six Flags Corporate Safety experts.
On the positive side, this is the first problem I’ve had at the park over seven years of attendance. I can also give the First Aid section high marks for double checking the injury. (I wanted to eliminate any possibility of a concussion.)
Bottom line: this water park a fun place for kids if they love playing in the water, whether they want to go on the water slides or not. But if you only have one day for Six Flags, it may not be possible to do both the regular park and Hurricane Harbor. Even my twins, teens now, were exhausted after all the water slides and choose to head home after rather than hit the coasters.