Yesterday was Chris’s birthday, and we decided to celebrate by heading over to Ottawa’s newest attraction, the Calypso theme water park. Considering the recent heat wave, cooling off in the water sounded like it would hit the spot.

√  Swimsuits and towels: check
√  Sunscreen: check
√  Life jackets for the girls: check
√  Snacks and water bottles: check

The number of slides and games was impressive. The more we walked around the park, the more slides we discovered. We were surrounded by tall, swirling, colourful, fun-filled slides, and the happy sounds of splashing, laughter and music everywhere we went. I challenge any grown-up to go to Calypso and not turn instantly into a 10-year-old child.

The pirate ship area was the girls’ favourite, with its water slides and activities for kids of all ages. In fact, this section attracted an unexpected audience: 18-25-year-olds. At the very top of the pirate ship was a colossal wooden barrel adorned with a skeleton head, which periodically fills with water. When the bucket is full, it tips over and causes what can only be described as a tsunami to crash down over the entire setup and its occupants. Evidently the 18-25 year-old crowd enjoyed the refreshing tidal wave, anticipating its every descent. Note to parents: hold small children firmly by the hand, lest they be washed away.

Stepping out of the kid zone:

The Acid Test twirls and releases you into a giant bowl whose edge you spin around three times, before eventually being sucked into a hole in the middle and being led back to a pool area. Recommended for anyone wondering what it would be like to be flushed down a toilet. Highly amusing.

The Zoomerang starts off with a pitch-black twirl; the light reemerges just in time for you to realize you’re about to experience a several-storey-high drop of death, gain tremendous speed, climb up a ramp until gravity takes over, and speed back down toward the pool area. An adrenaline rush to say the least.

In the midst of all the fun, I had occasional nervous moments. Although we were always careful to hold on tight and sit securely with the girls, I had fleeting images of one of them bouncing off the tube, or other equally unpleasant thoughts. I never have those fears on roller coasters; so why was this worrying me now?

Then it dawned on me: roller coasters involve being somehow strapped to the riding vehicle, which is in turn tied to rails or other guiding system. You could send me to the moon on a coaster and I’d probably go back for seconds; but the free fall nature of the water slides, especially with my girls, occasionally made my mind wander to the dark side. Rails good; free fall bad.

A note to anyone heading to Calypso (or any other water park): wear flip-flops to the washrooms. The fact that it’s a water park doesn’t make them any cleaner. In fact, I’d say the opposite, since there isn’t a single spot on the washroom floors that wasn’t covered in a wet, brown film. My 3 1/2 year-old let out a loud “Ewwwww!” with a frown when she saw the person in the next stall barefoot on the giant petri dish that is the floor.

That being said, the rest of the park is much cleaner. Everyone, especially our girls, had a great time. Highly recommended to anyone visiting the Ottawa area.


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