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Published: June 12th 2010
I think kids are happiest in water. My 15-month daughter is no exception. So for her dad’s birthday, I decided the perfect outting would be to a hotel with a water park. I found 4 in the Twin Cities, Minn. area, and decided on Grand Rios at the Ramada off of Interstate 694 at Lakeland Avenue. It was a good choice.
I picked it for a bunch of reasons. First, the room rates were cheapest at $70 for a king room. We only needed 3 waterpark passes, so I didn’t see any reason to pay a higher room rate and get the four passes that came along with it. The water park at the Depot in downtown Minneapolis mostly looked like a big pool with a few waterslides. The waterpark by the Mall of America looked fantastic if you have a family with older kids. For my 15-month-old, we were mostly looking for a zero-depth entry pool for her to splash in. Slides for her, big waterslides for us, a lazy river, and a hot tub were extra perks.
Once we got there, I was thrilled with my choice — which I figured had a 50/50 chance of being
We opted for the king size bed. The room was about $70.
a good one. It was the perfect spot for us, and I observed that it also seemed to keep kids into their teens happy. I’d say this waterpark would keep kids up until at least 10 pretty happy. We took turns going down the big waterslides (which college-aged kids were also enjoying) while the other splashed with Josey in the zero-depth area. The water was warm, and it wasn’t too crowded. On Saturday, it was too busy for us to grab a tube to go down the lazy river on, however; but on Sunday morning the waterpark was pretty empty. We had purchased the 4 p.m. to 4 p.m. two day pass for $16.95 with a 20% discount. My advice: be sure to buy the waterpark tickets when you reserve your room. I didn’t, so first I waited over 20 minutes to check into the hotel (there was a long line at 5 p.m.) and then we had to wait in line again by the waterpark to buy those tickets.
The first day, we just set our shoes and coverups next to the lockers in the locker room. Although I was a bit worried, everything was still there when
we returned. On day two, as we had a camera with, I got a locker.
The room was adequate. It wasn’t anything special, but it gave us a bed (which was hard) and bathroom (which was larger than a lot of hotel ones). There are over 200 rooms at this Ramada. When you step out of your room, there are hallways after hallways that all look the same and stretch on forever. It would be easy to get lost.
On Saturday, we dined out at a restaurant in Arden Hills (Lindy’s has great steak), but on Sunday morning we opted for the brunch in the hotel. There were only two staff on duty, and most of the time they weren’t in the dining room area. I had forgotten to bring money and so I asked that the meal be put on our room. My advice: don’t do what I did. One hour later, when we went to check out, the charge hadn’t been applied so I waited for over 1/2 hour until they got their act together.
Overall, I recommend the waterpark. The hotel staff aren’t fabulous, but you’ll still have a blast with the family.
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