Saturday, August 5, 2017

Splash n' Putt | What to Do With Kids

It's been a long time since I have set foot in Splash n' Putt but it's something I remember from childhood... and what I remember is passing it on the Trans Canada Highway on a regular basis. 

It was a blistering hot day in July and my family just finished an adventure in Terra Nova National Park.  This water park was exactly what we needed to finish off our mini vacation. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised and we definitely had a great time enjoying most things Splash n' Putt had to offer.

Location:// Located in Glovertown, just outside the west side of Terra Nova National Park. It's a solid two and a half hours from St. John's. See directions here: Splash n' Putt Directions.

Price:// While the price seemed steep in my mind at $190 for a family of four plus tax, considering the lack of similar acitivities on the island made it seem reasonable.  There are other options such as arriving after 3pm to a reduced price with unlimited rides or limiting yourself to the water portion of the park. You can see the Price List on the website here: Splash n' Putt Price List

What to Bring:// Although you may not want to carry anything around, there's definitely some things I would recommend.  There's plenty of green space and spots around the pool for you to store your belongings but I wouldn't recommend bringing your Sunday's Best or any valuables. And if you do forget anything in the car, it's not a big deal because the parking lot is not far and it's easy to go in and out.

1. Beach Towels
2. Flip Flops
3. Sunscreen
4. Beach Bag to carry all your belongings
5. Beach Chairs (although there's some around the pool, there aren't many so bring your own)
6. A water proof case for your phone
7. Change of Clothes (not neccessary if you want to just change in the car)
8. Water and Snacks: Many people brought pinics so make a day of it!

What to Do:// The park includes all of the following activities.  I would highly recommend doing the dry activities like the mini golf and go karts first but on a hot day you won't get too cold running around between the activities.

1. 360 Foot Water Slide:// This is fun for all ages!  This water slide does not splash into a huge pool so knowing how to swim is not a requirement.  This was a huge relief for my little one and my nerves.  My non-swimmer and I slid down in tantum and I listened to him giggling the whole way down.  I would have paid $50 just for that.  He loved it and went down several times.  On the day we went to Splash n' Putt, it was a busy day and we waited between 15 to 20 minutes each time.  It wasn't a big deal for us because the view of the water park and surrounding area was entertaining.

2. Swimming Pool + Splash Pad:// This is fun for all ages!  The Splash pad is set in a small pool of about a foot of water.  We loved every minute of it.  The Splash Pad is in the same area as the swimming pool. The problem in this area was the water was incredibly cold.  Apparently the heat pump was not working the week we arrived; however, upon hearing murmurs from the crowds this is an ongoing problem.

3. Go Karts:// All ages can ride but children under 10 years old and 52" must ride along with an adult. Helmets are provided and must be worn.  My husband and daughter waited for a good hour in this line.  The line is very fast if you are a single rider but there's only a couple go karts with double seats so they ended up waiting much longer than anticipated.  However, the course is long, windy and fun. They both had a blast!

4. Kiddy Go Karts:// Kids can ride above 42". There are only two vehicles. One vehicle allows two riders. They must wear helmets that are provided. While my son was tall enough and old enough, I can honestly say he had a "car accident" where he accidentally slammed on the gas and into a wall. His chest went into the steering wheel and he got a fright although he is completely fine.  Because of my experience while this looked fun for my seven year old, I would not recommend these go karts for children under 6 unless they are used to riding motorized vehicles with their feet and steering. 

5. Bumper Boats:// All ages can ride but any child under 7 years old and 42" cannot ride alone.  As an adult I found these boats difficult to maneuver.  I had to pull the cord to start the motor a couple times and I found that the motor was very hot on my leg.  For anyone riding with a child, put them on your left side.  It was fun though and you were on the boats for at least a couple minutes.

6. Bumper Cars:// This wasn't an activity that we did but it's not for kids under seven years of age or 46". It's inside and tucked away so it's easy to miss. Be sure to check it out!

7. Playground:// If all else fails, there's a playground for any kids not feeling the water. Yup. I've got a kid like that depending on the day of the week.

8. Mini Golf:// Grab your golf putter and ball when you enter but you can always come back and get your equipment when you are ready.

Other Things to Know://

1. There's a well equiped store if you forgot something.

2. Changing rooms and bathrooms are close to the entrance.  They weren't special in any way but they did the trick.  There was also a family changing room.

3. The park was clean and had lots of space to move. That's a big deal in my world.

4. Mary Browns is on spot for something to eat after the park but also during the park if you like.  You can go inside and bring out your food for a picnic in the park or you can eat inside the restaurant.  There is also a balcony to eat while watching your own family enjoy the waterpark. That's the best of both worlds. 

5. Ice Cream - oh yeah, no water park is complete without an ice cream cone and this location does not disappoint. 

Splash n' Putt exceeded my expectations.  I was expecting a run down unfulfilling amusement park but what I got was a clean area with entertainment for everyone.

Happy Adventuring!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Beautiful Brigus | An Adventure in Newfoundland

I had no idea what I was in for on this beautiful Wednesday. It was Regatta Day in St. John's, Newfoundland but it was a little too dreary for my taste.  Wanting to take advantage of the gorgeous weather, we decided to head to the Brigus Tunnel instead of the Quidi Vidi crowds.

Visiting Brigus was my husband's idea. Last summer, he mentioned there was a tunnel in Brigus that he went to as a child that he'd like to show us.  You have to understand that my husband does not have an "up and at 'em" attitude so this is already quite an accomplishment - to suggest somewhere to go. Truthfully, I was unimpressed as I was picturing a giant rock with a hole in it.

As we escaped the city with Starbucks in hand, we headed up through the Conception Bay Highway to the Baccalieu Trail Route 70.  We passed through Kelligrews and Seal cove, then Holyrood making sure to remember to go to the swimming hole at Holy Cross Park on another day.  On through the little towns of Conception Harbour and Colliers.  The drive is beautiful as you wind around the Avalon coastline.  We skipped off the main road to explore Kitchuses and Bacon Cove where we found an amazing site to see: this sunken ship, the Old Whaler... and well, that's about all I know.

Brigus is about one hour's drive from St. John's and if I didn't hear the whining and complaining in the backseat of our Jeep, I would have said the drive went by fast. Soon, we were entering the narrow streets of the tiny town. It reminded me of the Quidi Vidi gut yet it was clear this place is rich with culture.

Our first stop was when we noticed the street name "Jane's Hill".  Our daughter's name is Jane so it was fitting that we would stop here directly in front of the St. George's Heritage Church.  If my four year old son wasn't such a sloth, I would have just parked the car right there and wandered around. Instead we got back into the car and followed the signs to "The Tunnel".  It's not a big town, you won't get lost.  Not for long anyway.

When we turned down the little street towards the Brigus Tunnel we had to pull over almost into the brick wall on the right hand side to let a truck go by.  That was narrow.  A close call really.  I would be a little weary during winter here.  The parking lot had a couple cars - again, I was surprised to see actual humans wandering around.  I wondered why people were here today - a random Wednesday.  You see, I didn't know what I was in for.  I noticed the rock picnic tables right away as my daughter did cartwheels up and over top of them.

The view was incredible as we looked into the Atlantic Ocean at Bishop's Beach.  On the left you could see the houses of the little town up along the hill and to the right you could see the narrows where inevitably boats would come into the harbour.  It would seem that Brigus was where Captain Bob Bartlett, famous for his Artic Exploration, would call home.

This tunnel was handmade over the course of four months and would be how the vessels could board their ships.  I will admit, its super cool as you can almost feel the history as you walk the short distance.

If picnics are your jam, then this place is for you. Not to mention if skimming rocks is up your alley, then these beach rocks were made just for you. Of course, it goes without saying Ryan Caines impresses every time with this. He's got a ways to go to help his offspring.

As we left the Brigus Tunnel area, we entered into the small narrow streets again.  I saw the greenery and could smell the salt ocean in the air.  To my left we saw the lobster traps and couldn't help but take a picture. Wow. Simply gorgeous.

Soon we would find the Hawthorne Cottage National Historic Site where Captain Bob Bartlett and his family lived in the 20th century.  The exterior of the home was beautiful and the gardens were breathtaking. Admission was free to enter the cottage so our family of four went inside. The cottage was perfectly preserved and there was an incredibly helpful guide was on site.  The furniture and the artifacts, as well as the pictures on the wall of famous presidents and politicians told a story.  However, with a seven year old and four year old, you won't be here long.  A simple drop by is enough for us.

In the same area was the Town Hall, the John Leaman Museum and the Country Corner, where you can find their World Famous Blueberry Crisp. Of course, this was something I had to try for myself. When you enter the building you first enter a craft store. Inside were Foggy Island Candles and gorgeous hand blown glass. I picked up a wooden puffin ornament and a pencil case for my son who would be starting school soon by Purple Day Designs.  

Through the craft store was a small ice cream bar but this is where you can get your blueberry crisp and select pastries.  Looking back, I wish I had gotten some of their chowder or fish and chips but that's only an excuse to go back to this beautiful town. My husband had the chocolate chip cookies and was very impressed, giving me a two thumbs up. Across the street is a baseball field with some picnic tables and some gardens so it's a great place to stop and have your messy eats.

We were told by many people to try E&E Drive-in, previously known as Ernie's.  This take-out restaurant is known for their chicken and fries. Of course, this is what I tried - a wing and fries combo.  My husband would have the fish and chips and my kids had the nuggets.  They were really friendly and informative as I always have questions... "what's the best thing on the menu?" There was also ice cream and I've been told they make an amazing milk shake.  E&E Drive-in is not anything special to look at.  It was busy when I got there as almost a dozen people were waiting or placing orders. You have to be specific in what you want like the number of forks and ketchup packages. It does not have any tables inside but there are two outside. With that said, it seems to hold some kind of small town charm. Note that there's no kids meals from what I could tell and drink choices were limited: Pepsi, Diet Pesi, Orange Crush or Birch Beer. Odd, I know but seemed to fit the "personality" of the diner.

As with many of our adventures by the time we've hit a couple hours, we all need a break.  We scoped out a park with a picnic table to check out what was inside our brown paper packages. The food was greasy and plentiful.  The chicken, which was a full wing was better than the fish despite being the same batter. It certainly was different but not quite my cup of tea.  I'd highly recommend the park, which was on the main road.

Next time, I'd like to visit the Paint Cafe and the John Leaman Musuem: Ye Old Stone Barn.

What a beautiful day it turned out to be in Brigus.  You should go.  I will add that there is a Brigus Blueberry Festival every year in mid August. It might be a great time to enjoy all of this and so much more.

Happy adventuring.