Sunday, June 22, 2008


Erie, PA is really not such a bad town, at least compared to some of the other mistakes on the lake (Cleveland, Buffalo, etc.) and at least for the six weeks a year when it doesn't snow. OK, it's nice there more than six weeks a year. But when I was there in late April, there was still snow on the ground, and lots of it.

June is much nicer, but I think the natives are used to scheduling many of their leisure activities under cover indoors. Which brings us to Splash Lagoon, 77,000 square feet of water park mayhem. It's also connected to at least four hotels and a couple of restaurants, so you can spend about a week eating, drinking, sleeping, splashing and generally whooping it up without ever breathing nature's own air.

I only spent a few hours there one rainy, drizzly grey autumn day in the middle of June.

I was a bit surprised to find that there isn't really a swimming pool as such anywhere within those 77,000 square feet. There is a "Lazy River" you can float along in an inner tube, and an activity pool where pre-teens were firing Nerf basketballs at each other, but nothing like a deep pit of water you could just dive into and soak in for a while. Instead, most of the attractions are water slides. OK, sounds like fun.

The first slide that I went on was called The Black Hole. It's a long narrow tube, completely dark inside. I started at the top, laid back in a comfortable repose, arms tucked in, legs out, and gently slid down through warm, foul-smelling water, banging slightly off the sides until I popped out in a gush of gurgling fluid into sudden, blinding bright light. It was, perhaps, a bit like being born.

After a brief recovery, I decided to try the Hurricane Hole. Again I laid back in heedless comfort, then was shoved down a dark, narrow tunnel, this time twisting and turning and picking up speed. I couldn't see a thing, could only feel myself falling, falling, sliding. Suddenly, I emerged in a wide bowl, circling a tiny opening far below me, slipping around at nearly forty miles an hour and falling closer to the hole with each revolution. Sooner than I expected, I dropped through the hole awkwardly and plopped into a deep pool of churning water, spinning and coughing and gasping for air. It was, perhaps, a bit like being aborted.

I hit the Jacuzzi for a while. When I had recovered sufficiently, I decided to forego the body slides and try one of the slides where you ride on an oversize inner tube.

The first one was called the Cyclone. Much like the Hurricane Hole, this one shoots you steeply down a dark tunnel until you emerge in a circling bowl, drawing ever closer to a narrow point in the center. But instead of a hole you plunge through, this one has a narrow aperture that sucks you toward the opening, through a gusher of water. All the while, sharp streams of water blast down from above, stinging into your eyes and mouth.

This reminded me of a terrifying dream I've had ever since I was about 10, where I somehow get locked in a washing machine and spin round and round, choking on churning water, totally unable to get out or to breathe, until I eventually conk my head on the wall and pass out and drown. Or wake up, whichever comes first.

That was enough on the inner tube. I went back to the body slides. The next one was called the Shark Attack. It was relatively straight and very fast. It was also very narrow and mostly dark. If you've ever had an MRI, and thought that the experience would've been improved if only the hospital staff would shake the unit randomly from side to side with great violence, and squirt about 800 gallons of water into the chamber all the while, this might be a good ride for you.

Again, back to the jacuzzi. There's a big one, dimly lit and not too hot, restricted to adults only. Nice. Hey, how often do they clean this place out? It's not like they can drain it every night and scrub down the surfaces. Splash Lagoon's "fun facts" boasts, "400,000 gallons of water are maintained year round at a tropical 84 degrees." Sounds like one big party for bacteria. Scrub, scrub, scrub. And there's a bar right in the place, and alcohol kills germs...

1 comment:

brulicante said...

I went to Splash Lagoon this past winter with my three kids (who then were almost 12, almost 10 and almost 7), around Christmastime, and it wasn't too bad. I'm very much afraid of water and I cannot swim. But I did manage to ride all of the rides but two, with no life jacket on at all (had to add that in, LOL). I even hit "Shark Attack". Twice. I retreated to the Adult Area Jacuzzi Thing more than once to let my head clear. I'd go back again, but only during the winter season, near Christmas when the place isn't too busy at all, despite my worries about the bacteria in the water. We stayed overnight at the Days Inn attached to SL.

My kids though? They totally had a blast, even in that frog pond area where they could kinda goof around and see how long each of them could hold their breath underwater.

Did you try laser tag? It's located near SL. And we ate dinner our final night at the "Safari Grille" I think it was called. Yummy food. I'd eat there again. But it was pricey.

And PS~ If you happen to feel brave and go back to SL near Christmas, you'd have a chance (possibly) at trying the alcoholic drink, "Jack Frost", at the bar located inside SL. OMG I found that drink to be absofrigginlutely delicious.

Well, that is, if you drink. I'm new to your blog... sorry for that assumption.

Leave.Now. LOL. :)