Splashtopia Water Park // © 2010 Splashtopia Water Park
Water slide at Splashtopia Water Park // © 2010 Splashtopia Water Park
Lazy River at Splashtopia Water Park // © 2010 Spashtopia Water Park
On a recent end-of-summer trip to Palm Springs, Calif., my family and I decided to spend the day visiting Splashtopia, the waterpark at the Rancho Las Palmas hotel in Rancho Mirage. It was our first visit to Splashtopia, but based on the way that many resorts exaggerate the features of their so-called “super pools,” we were prepared to be underwhelmed. I’m happy to say that we were pleasantly surprised.
If you are a travel agent in Southern California that either has kids or has clients with kids, you’ve no doubt heard about Splashtopia. Since it opened in 2008, it has enjoyed much positive buzz through the parental grapevine. After all, there are plenty of great pools in the Coachella Valley — where Palm Springs and the other desert communities are located — but even the most swimming-pool-starved young ones get bored eventually. With Splashtopia, however, kids have a wide variety of water features to chose from without the lines and hassle of large waterparks.
Splashtopia features a lazy river; two waterslides (kids must be at least 42 inches tall to ride the waterslides); a sandy beach with sand toys for castle-building; two Jacuzzis; and a water playground with all sorts of inventive fountains to play in. As if that wasn’t enough, it also has a huge “regular” swimming pool.
On our visit, everywhere my wife and I looked there were friendly lifeguards, making us feel safe knowing that, even when our kids were on their own, they were being watched.
Only guests of Rancho Las Palmas have access to Splashtopia, which is complimentary. Agents should also encourage their clients to rent a cabana for the day, which provide parents with a comfortable place to chill while their kids play in the water. The cabanas come with their own fridge, lounge chairs (inside in the shade and in front of the cabana for tanning), food and beverage service and more. Prices range by season — typically $125 midweek, $165 weekend and $225 for holiday weeks. When you consider how much a family of four could spend on a daylong attraction on most vacations, it’s well worth the price.
As we enter prime season in “The Springs,” be sure to keep Splashtopia in mind for families looking for the fun of a waterpark on a smaller, hassle-free scale.