“Three, two, one, go!” The Beach employee released my son’s tube, and gave it a push. Ricky whooshed down the hill, bumped the rims of his track, raised his arms, and went spinning to the end of the run.
The weather may not be predictable, but kids are. When it’s winter, they want to play in the snow. Beach Mountain, the winter attraction at Beach Waterpark, gives kids a chance to make snow balls and snow angels, and slide down a 400 foot hill, even if the sun’s shining and there’s barely a flurry in the air.
The day we visited, there was plenty of free parking and only a short line to get tickets. We followed the path marked by haystacks, and came to a table where parents sign waivers for children under 18. Next, we stood in line for tickets, then hooked our two-hour ride tags to our coat zippers and headed to the hill.
On our way, we passed two fire pits where groups were gathered with cups of hot chocolate. We also saw two birthday parties going on. The Beach’s website calls its parties “the coolest,” including tubing for two adults and eight kids, along with pizza and drinks in the heated pavilion. (Of course, more guests can be added for an additional fee.)
Next, we came to the play area. Inside it, kids crawled in and out of a fabric igloo, made snowballs, and slid belly first down a very small slope. Meanwhile, a snow machine sprayed fresh flakes of real snow (no additives or artificial materials).
While kids in the play area got soaked from the snow, careful tubers can stay pretty dry without special gear. I’d recommend snow pants, but my son and I didn’t wear, or need, boots, and our cloth gloves remained comfortable and warm the whole time.
At the foot of Beach Mountain, we walked along a gravel path and then grabbed a tube from the pile. Next, we started up the “Magic Carpet” to the top of the hill. Ricky described the carpet as, “Kind of like an escalator without stairs.” I thought it was a little tricky to keep my balance on it, and I almost tripped getting off, but the little ones surrounding me mastered it without any effort, and there were plenty of Beach employees “highly trained in helping keep you safe!” just in case.
At the top of the hill, 10 lanes welcome riders, so we experienced very short wait times. One of the lanes is wider, and designed for people who want to slide together. Since there’s a one person per tube rule, one of the advantages of this lane is that it allows younger children to feel safe with mom or dad riding in a tube beside them, holding the handles together. Getting in and out of tubes is easy, “even backwards,” according to Ricky, and the ride is “swift, fast, and fun.” Ricky rode again and again, never tiring because the “magic carpet” took him to the top while I waited at the bottom, where I heard happy kids shout, “I win!” after a race with friends, and then call out, “Let’s do it again.”
Planning to Go? Here are some Tips to Remember:
• Recommended for children ages 3 and older; may be too tame for older kids.
• Children must be 42 inches tall to snow tube.
• Save a few minutes in the cold by buying tickets and filling out waivers online.
• Tickets are for a two-hour time block and start on the hour, so plan your arrival time accordingly.
• Wear snow pants and dress in layers.
• Dress warmly and bring a change of clothes.