Live in Jersey or the Philadelphia area? Looking for a fun outing for your family? We recently spent an evening at a local indoor water park, so I’m telling you a little bit about it and sharing a special offer to my local readers. Sahara Sam’s Oasis in West Berlin, New Jersey (about 30 minutes from Philly) was a blast for our little ones, but has plenty of attractions for kids of all ages (even grown ups!).
Owen (3 years old) LOVES the water, so when I told him we were going to a water park he was beyond excited. The park has a variety of rides and attractions in a 70,000 square foot indoor space. Soon they are opening an additional 10,000 square feet expansion with an indoor family pool and two new twister slides. There is also an outdoor area, which we didn’t get to explore because it wasn’t open yet for the season. Outside there’s a leisure pool, volleyball, splash pad and wave pool; I would definitely like to go back when the expansion and outdoor areas are both open, because I love a pool!
In fact, there are two main reasons why I find Sahara Sam’s to be appealing:
- You can have fun during the chilly, dull days of winter at a water park, where it’s always 85 degrees.
- You can take your family to a pool! We go to the beach often, but it’s definitely not the same experience as a pool. Unfortunately, pool clubs can be very expensive in our area for an annual membership. Sahara Sam’s has affordable pricing for their annual passes, especially if you catch their sale after Thanksgiving.
Here’s what I noticed, including what I liked and didn’t like, and a few tips from our visit to Sahara Sam’s:
To get into the water park, you must first walk through a large arcade room. Obviously, this is cool, tempting and exciting for children. For parents, not so much. After spending money on water park tickets, I don’t really want to spend more on arcade games. Good thing Owen immediately forgot about the games as soon as we walked into the water park.
I was surprised by the cleanliness. The lockers, changing rooms, and bathrooms were all spotless and in good condition. Wet spaces, like a YMCA pool, can sometimes give me the heebie jeebies. But I didn’t feel at all gross or uneasy while walking around Sahara Sam’s. Their life vests, which were free to use, were also in good shape.
There was a large bar in the front of the water park area. It seemed odd to me – as someone with small children, I couldn’t imagine drinking while they were playing in water. But Sahara Sam’s has a lot of rides for older kids and I’ve had a beer on the beach before while with my family, so maybe not so odd?
I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be anything for Carmendy to do at the park, since she’s only 20 months old. But she had a grand time. She floated around the lazy river, The Congo Bongo, with us. And she loved the slides and splashing around the toddler lagoon area. Owen loved the playland area with slides and water that poured down all over him. There was plenty to keep our kids busy for a few hours. (And I don’t know if I could last any longer than that…water play with small kiddos is exhausting! Three hours was enough.) However, there was a lot more that older children can do at the park, including bigger slides and a surf simulator. I found myself wishing that Owen and Carmendy were a little older so they could experience more. One day! For now, they were more than happy with the play areas for the small children and toddlers.
I was also worried about the crowds; I had heard prior to our visit that Sahara Sam’s can get overly busy with long lines, especially when the outdoor area isn’t open yet. But we went on a weeknight and it was not crowded. I talked to other mothers that night who said the only “bad” time is on weekends around lunchtime. So if you’re planning to visit, try to avoid mid-day on weekends; it’s definitely a lot more fun if you don’t have to wait in lines.
Overall, we had a great time together as a family. Owen and Carmendy did not want to leave (someone may have come close to a temper tantrum when we started to pack up our things to go). If your family is in the area, I would recommend adding Sahara Sam’s to your list of places to check out. We’re planning to go back again!
If you want to visit Sahara Sam’s too, here’s a special discount code for Ice Cream Off Paper Plates readers! Use the promo code ICECREAM while ordering tickets online at SaharaSams.com for $23.95 admission per person, the biggest discount that Sahara Sam’s offers on its single day tickets. This discount code is good through the end of July 2016. Plus, the code also works for Diggerland Construction Theme Park, another fun place to visit with the kids!