Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Knott's Soak City

I was attacked by ninjas.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to type up a blog post when you're fending off silent shadows of death?

I did write a post.  It was the most inspiring, poignant blog post anybody had ever read, in the history of all literacy.  In fact, it was so brilliant that I was singlehandedly responsible for every single Knott's Berry Farm Soak City ticket sale during the 2012 season.  You're welcome.  What's that?  You don't remember reading it?  Well, they say that mind is the first thing to go.

Oh, no!  Someone stole all my fingers!  It's really, really hard work typing things out with my tongue.  You can't be angry with a tongue-typer, can you?  It's like hitting a man with glasses, only worse.

Disneyland caught wind of how much fun I had at Soak City and sent mobsters to my house to rough me up and scare me out of publishing my review.  They said if I published my blog post that they'd hurt a kitten.... a KITTEN.  I could hear its pitiful, heart-wrenching meows in the background.  A poor, innocent kitten!  Those MONSTERS!

Or, perhaps, the truth:

What in the WORLD was I thinking?  I was in the middle of leaving my job, packing my house, and seeing to all the details of a 1,000 mile move.  I can barely make it to the grocery store on a schedule.  Why did I think I was going to be able to say yes to Knott's Berry Farm's offer of free tickets to the Soak City opening weekend, and then somehow come up with an honest, interesting review within a decent length of time?

If I'd managed to write it within a week or two... or maybe even a month or two, it could have been forgiven.   I did manage to get down the framework of the day, but I kept putting off polishing it up and posting it. 

The thing was, I had such a great time that I felt obligated to turn in the WORLD'S MOST INCREDIBLE REVIEW EVER!!!  It would have been a lot easier if I'd had a crappy time, or even a mediocre time.

Unfortunately for the Knott's, I didn't.  I had a great time.  And the longer I took to post (seriously, how did all the other bloggers manage to post within a day or two of going?  I bet they're the same kind of weirdos that remember to write thank you notes and always pair up their socks before putting them away in the sock drawer), the more I realized that I was going to have to make it a really, really, REALLY good review to make up for how long it took me.

But the days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months... and the next thing I knew it was November, and cold, and I lived a thousand miles away, and writing a review about a water park which was closed for the season just didn't even make sense.



Heya, Knott's.  I bet you thought I forgot about you, didn't you?  Well, I didn't.  In fact, so you know, we had such a great time at your park that when my family came up from Mexico to visit last summer, the first place my parents dragged them was to Soak City.

Anyways, here goes.


Have you ever had one of those absolutely perfect days?

They don't happen very often - not once a week, or once a month, or even once a year.  Maybe it's their rarity that makes them so precious - rich, warm, golden moments where time itself seems to slow in honor.

The day we went to Soak City at Knott's Berry Farm didn't start out like a perfect day.  Maybe that's why it made such an impact on me.

In fact, the day itself started out pretty crappy.

I was fat.  I know there's no one to blame but myself for that one, but it didn't make cramming myself into a bathing suit any more pleasurable.

Also, the Squidgelet was sick.  He'd started in with the coughing the day before, and by the time Sunday morning rolled around, he was trailing green snot down his face, occasionally smearing it around with a grubby little hand.

I know I'm his mom, but when I walked into his room that morning to get him out of his crib, even I didn't want to touch him. 

There was no way I could take him with me.... which meant that instead of the wonderful day of bonding I'd envisioned with The Bean, the kids and myself, I was going to have to take my parents instead. 

Don't get me wrong - I love my mom and stepdad, but it just wasn't what I had in mind.  I was having a hard enough time dealing with the fact that I was going to be parading around in public in a bathing suit (who invented women's swimsuit fashions, anyways?).  Having my plans derailed by greenish, slimy snot and a grumpy baby turned my mood from grumpy into downright foul.

And then there was the DragonMonkey.

“Knott’s Bewwy Fawm?  Go fwimming Knott’s Bewwy Fawm?  Go fwimming?  Go fwimming?  Go fwimming Knott’s Bewwy Fawm Soak City?”

Stupid.  Stupid, stupid, stupid Becky.  Why?  Why did I always forget ,and end up telling the DragonMonkey about things early?  I guess it’s because I liked seeing him happy, but really, I ought to have known better.  No good every came out of telling a three year old kid about something ahead of time.  What was I thinking?  Did I really think he would hear the news, nod sagely, reach for a toy, and continue playing peacefully?

Quite right, Mother.  We are going to Knott’s Berry Farm’s Soak City today.  What a grand adventure we shall have.  Thank you for this lovely opportunity.  Would you please pass me Thomas the Train?  I shall endeavor to keep myself quietly busy while you prepare everything for our outing.”

Nope.  He was three.  This meant that from the moment he'd heard about Soak City the night before, he'd been trailing around behind me like I had him on a leash, tapping me with his hand to get my attention, and repeating the same cycle of questions over and over again.

Where we going to Knott's Berry Farm?
Yes.  Well, sorta.  We were going to Knott's Berry Farm's water park.

Where we going on the train?
No.  The normal section of Knott's Berry Farm had the train.  We were going to Soak City - their water park. 

Soak City?
Yes.  It's across the street from the regular Knott's Berry Farm.  It has water.  Slides.  Pools.  We could go swimming.


Fwimming on a twain?
NO.  There were no trains.  Besides, you can't swim on a train.  There's no water.

Does Knott's Bewwy Fawm have a twain?
Yes.  But we are going BESIDE Knott's Berry Farm - to Soak City.  They will have pools.  And slides.  And swimming.

Soak City?


Fwimming Knott's Bewwy Fawm?
Yes - at Soak City.

Soak City?

By the time we were loaded up in the minivan and on our way, I was daydreaming of taping his adorable little mouth shut.  Just two minutes of silence.  Please? Just give two Mama two minutes of precious, beautiful, blessed silence.  PLEASE?!



There was a brief moment of silence, just long enough to give me hope, and then, "Go fwimming at Soak City?  Go fwimming Knott's Bewwy Fawm?"

"Here.  Have a cookie."  It was a little early in the morning for cookies, but chewing kept his mouth occuppied, and an occupied mouth meant a brief reprieve from "Go fwimming Knott's Bewwy Fawm?"

Parking was easy - I've never been in a more convenient parking lot.  With most amusement parks you have to park way out in Timbuktu, and memorize latitude/longitude coordinates so you can hopefully find your way back to the same zip code.

The parking lot for the water park was wonderfully close to the actual water park (gasp!  What a concept!), so score one for Knott's.

On the other hand, the happy glow brought about by nice parking soon faded when we started dragging all of our stuff out of the car.

Unloading bag after bag of kid-related crap was vaguely depressing, and can best be described by haiku:

I love my children
But they need way too much stuff
Stuff, stuff, stuff, yuck, stuff

Thankfully we didn't have a very long walk to the front gate, where I met a friendly woman at the check-in table.

I tried to be classy, and act like I was someone cool, but I'm pretty sure I ruined it by audibly squealing when she handed me my favorite thing in the entire world:  Free Stuff.

I want to say that I am a classy person with a discerning palate.... but the truth is, I go gaga over anything that's free.

That said, it was some pretty awesome stuff.  There was a mesh swim bag that I still drag with me EVERYWHERE, even though it's been a year since they gave it to me.

I'm not the only one who loves it - it's Fat Cat's favorite place to pee in the entire world,  but that's a different story.  Also, Knott's?  Whatever you paid for that bag was worth it - that thing holds up to a LOT of washing.

Inside the bag was all sorts of cool stuff.  There were a couple of bags of Knott's Berry Farm cookies, which are one of my all-time-favorite things ever.  If you haven't had any, I highly recommend them.

Those cookies are AWESOME.  They come in flavors like "Raspberry" and "Boysenberry" and other fruit like that, so you can pretend you're actually eating something healthy.

Yes, yes, I know there's a reason I don't look good in a bathing suit.  Shut up.   

Anyways, I'm pretty sure the cookies in the Bag of Free Stuff were for me to share with everyone... but the parents were on a diet, and the DragonMonkey is allergic to gluten, so it fell on me to eat all four bags.  I mean, I couldn't just drag them around all day, right?

Oh, the humanity.  It was terrible. 

Because I didn't make a note of it, and because I have the memory of a houseplant, I only remember two other items that were in that bag :

  1. A Knott's Soak City OC towel: this towel has become the bane of my existence.  Don't get me wrong - it's a very nice towel.  The problem is that according to the DragonMonkey, it's HIS TOWEL, HIS KNOTT'S SOAK CITY TOWEL, NOBODY ELSE CAN USE THAT TOWEL, and woe to anyone else who dares to touch it.  He seems genuinely attached to the towel, so for the most part I try to respect his unreasonable passion for it.... but as you all know, I'm terrible at keeping up with the laundry, and, well... a towel is a towel.  Sometimes, when you need to take a shower, you just plain need a clean towel.... and there's nothing quite as creepy as pulling back the shower curtain, and reaching for a towel.... only to have a short, angry person burning holes in your skin with his WHY-ARE-YOU-TOUCHING-MY-TOWEL glare. 

  2. Flaccid, wrinkled, pointy noodles -   I'm serious.  I had no idea what they were for most of the day.... and then about 30 minutes before we were ready to leave, I suddenly figured it out.  All around the park they have little water stations.  You take your flaccid, semi-phallic noodle thingie (I'm sorry, but that's what it looked like), plug it into the little water tower stations they have situated around the park, and VOILA!  It fills with water (one might almost say it becomes turgid), and you have a neat little water gun type toy.  I wish I'd figured it out sooner.  I'm not one for purchasing souvenirs and stuff, but those things are definitely worth the money.  We had some awesome water fights with them.

The entrance to the park was really pretty.

I know this because I spent about 15 minutes there while my stepdad trotted back to the car for some cash.  It turns out that to rent the locker rooms was cash only - that may have changed by now, but that's how it was when we went last year.

For the record, I wasn't going to write about the cash-only thing, but my mom insisted I put it in there.

"This is cash only?"  She shook her head in disappointment at the attendant as my stepdad made his trip to the car.  "You guys are missing out on some business.  What if we didn't have any cash in the car?"

The attendant mumbled something apologetic, and my mom turned back to me, shaking her head.   "Make sure you inform your readers about this."

"Mom, it's not like that.  I don't have 'readers' - like, actual people who hang around and wait for me to review stuff."

"They need to know about it anyways.  What if they didn't bring cash?"

So, there you have it.  A year later:  Bring cash if you want a locker.

Speaking of lockers and boring non-ride stuff like that, the bathroom facilities are pretty legit.  Once again, my mom took her reviewer responsibilities very seriously.  She walked the entire length of the shower/changing areas with pursed lips, examining every nook and cranny, before returning.

"These are very nice facilities," she announced.  "Make sure you let your readers know they're nice."

"Mom... seriously.  It's not that kind of a blog.  People who read my blog aren't interested in the bathrooms, unless I embarrass myself in them, somehow." 

She ignored me. 

"Becky, take a picture to show how nice they are."

"MOM.  I'm not taking a picture in the bathroom.  I'm pretty sure that's against the law."

"Why?  Nobody's here.  Here.  I'll move out of your way.  Take a picture to show your readers."

"Moooooom.  Seriously.  I can't walk around and take pictures of a changing room and shower area.   This is where people get naked, and change clothes and stuff. What if someone sees me?  Someone's going to think I'm a pedophile.  That's the kind of creepy thing that will get me sent to jail.  I'm not doing it."

"Rebeca Bean, just take the picture."

See, there's a problem with bringing your mom to your fancy functions.  She's, like, your MOM.  And when she pulls out your full name... well...

"Fine, fine!  Just... here.  Get DragonMonkey in the picture, so it looks less weird if someone comes in."

Becky Bean:  Taking creepy bathroom pictures because her mom told her, since 1981.   

Also, Knott's Berry Farm Soak City:  Passing my mom's very strict "are the bathrooms nice and clean" standards, since 2012.

Anyways, once we made it out of the restrooms, the rest of the day was, well, it was perfect.

The venue was perfect, as you can see from the exquisitely detailed picture below:

Just kidding.

Dear Knott's:  This is a ridiculously tiny image because I totally stole it off of your website.  Dude.  What is this... a water park for ants? (Zoolander reference for those of you who don't watch it nearly as often as I do.)

Seriously though, you guys need better pictures.  That Toyota Beach House "ride" thingie, with the pullies, and the levers, and that giant bucket of water that dumped on you was, like, THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER.  That picture you have of it looks like a bunch of tiny naked people standing in line for a group shower - which is exciting for some people if they're into that, I guess, but it doesn't really show how totally awesome it is. If you need a recommendation for new pictures I'd go with John Norling Photography - he's done work for Hearst Castle, and other fancy places like that, and is very affordable for how great he is.   Or if you have your own photographer, just have him take some new pics.   Also, if you do have better pictures and I'm just too ADD to find them, you need to make them more ADD accessible. 

After all, how many ADD kids does it take to change a lightbulb?
Hey, wanna go ride bikes?

Anyways.  Where was I?

Ah, yes.  The perfect day.

The venue was perfect.

The weather was perfect. 

Even the DragonMonkey was perfect:

Like I said, the whole day was just perfect.

Now, here's the secret, and yes, Knott's Berry Farm sent me here for free, and yes, I'm a great big slut when it comes to free stuff, but believe me when I say that I'm telling the 100% non-biased truth:

We had that much fun BECAUSE of how cool Soak City is.

And that was due to one very, very important factor:

Soak City is not a meat market.

I feel like I'm doing a disservice to Wild Rivers by even bringing this up, because I honestly loved that place and was really, really sad when it closed down, but if you ever went to Wild Rivers, or Raging Waters, then you know what I'm talking about.

Those places are a creepy dude's dream come true, and a low-self esteem chick's worst nightmare.  I even felt that way when I was 14 years old and in my skinny prime.

Wild Rivers was a lot bigger than Soak City - I'm not gonna lie.  They had more rides, and the kid/lounging area was significantly larger.

The thing is, I never really enjoyed myself there, because I was too busy feeling annoyed and ashamed as I watched 14 year olds mincing around in string bikinis, batting their eyelashes at college-aged guys.  It bothered me on a lot of levels - first off, they were too young for that crap.  I mean, I hate to sound like a boring mom, but I the last time I went I wanted to grab them by their thin little shoulders and shake them.  "You've got your whole life to play 'Who Wants to Hide the Sausage' - knock it off!  Quit the flirting, grab what's left of your childhood, and just enjoy yourselves!  Stop mincing about!"

Also - did they really have to look so skinny, tanned, and perfect in their teensy little bikinis?  Stupid little taut, thin-thighed teenagers.  

The thing is, Soak City didn't have that sex-charged vibe.  Even though everyone was still running around in bathing suits, and bathing suits show a lot of skin, the place had a very family-friendly, easy-going feel to it.  There were a couple of teenagers flirting about, but they were the exception to the rule, rather than the norm.

And you know what?

It was really nice.

For an entire day I just hung out with my family, and relaxed, and rode rides, and just stopped caring about how I looked in a bathing suit, or if we live in an over-sexed society, or the fact that I had to pack a whole bunch of stuff and move 1,000 miles away in a few short days, or any of that.

I went down slides with The DragonMonkey:

I lounged in the sun chairs with my family.

I watched my son have an absolute blast the entire time he was there - there were no meltdowns, or crying, or anything.

I'd go into description of all the rides, but I didn't take a lot of pictures (I was too busy having fun), and, honestly, their website does a better job of describing it anyways, although you shouldn't judge the coolness of their rides from their sparse pictures:


So it was a perfect day, with the exception of one thing:

Holy CRAP, I got sunburned.

Dude.  I mean, I know I'm white.  I may be half-Mexican, but you sure can't tell it from my skin.

My forearm is pretty pale, and, well... here's what it looks like against my leg:

The thing is, I know I'm really white, and I take precautions. Before I even left the house I slathered myself up with SPF 50, waterproof... and then I reapplied it several times throughout the day.  And yet... if you look in the picture above, you can already see the pink starting to sprout. 

It only got worse from there.  When I tell you I fried like a lobster, I'm telling you:  I fried like a lobster. The next week, once it had started to heal, my skin didn't peel.  Oh, no.  I freaking molted.  It was disgusting.

To be honest, I don't think there's anything I could have done to avoid it.  SPF 50 is pretty strong stuff, and it didn't do a darn thing to protect my skin. Unless they start coming out with SPF Wool Sweater, I think I'm just destined to sunburn.

Still, the mom in me wants to warn you.  If you are going to check out Soak City, bring some sunblock.  Lots of sunblock.  The sun reflects (refracts?) off the water and turns it into some kind of nuclear ray with skin-searing power. 

Anyways, there you have it.  If you're in there area, I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking out Soak City OC.  There season passes are pretty affordable in the grand scheme of amusement parks - I think they go up in price starting on May 27th, so if you're thinking of buying, buy soon. 

As far as how The DragonMonkey liked it, well, it's been a year since we went there and he still asks to go back, from time to time.  A year to a four year old is a pretty huge deal, so I think it's safe to say he had a great time there.

Also, Knott's?  Seriously.  I'm sorry it took so long for me to write this up. 

Also, thank you for the memories of a really wonderful day. I know it sounds like I'm sucking up, but I'm not.  It was really that awesome of a day.



Blogger redhorse said...

Wow, that was a heck of a review. I feel like I spent the whole day there. I'm tired, hafta go rest up.

May 23, 2013 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger Veronica Foale said...

I would go visit based on this review, except for the whole distance thing. Apparently Tasmania is too cold for water parks.

May 23, 2013 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger AareneX said...

Good News, Swamp Creatures!

All this fun--and NO DANGER OF SUNBURN WHATSOEVER--can be had at the INDOOR WATER PARK Great Wolf Lodge in beautiful Centralia, WA.

Totally serious. Yah, not as huge as SC, but on the other hand, you can play "beach" in November...which I did, and plan to do again in November. You just cannot imagine the bliss of playing in warm water, in a warm atmosphere, at the beginning of a Murklander Winter.

See you there, then? It's almost exactly halfway between the Beanhouse and Haiku Farm!

May 23, 2013 at 11:01 PM  
Blogger mugwump said...

Now even I, the anti-social,crowd phobic, water hating, kid grown and gone, recluse wants to go.

May 24, 2013 at 7:53 AM  

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