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A trip to the Rockin' River Aquatic Center in Round Rock

There are only three things that scare moms more than the prospect of nuclear war: puberty, permanent markers, and waterparks.

Bearing that in mind, and trying to momentarily forget the scalp laceration I received at a water park when I was a child, I donned my $5 WalMart sunhat, threw about 40 lbs. of gear into the car, and got the kids loaded, all of them chanting, "SWIM-MING! SWIM-MING!" and headed off to the nearby Rock'n River Family Aquatic Center. It was only about a 10-minute drive, and I spotted the friends we were meeting there right away. The cost was only a few dollars per person, so I paid and we went right in.

Noticing that it was pretty crowded, but not dangerously so, I knew I had to get the lay of the place, since it was our first visit. I said, "Kids, I need to check this place out, so come with me, let's look around," and we went on a mandatory mom-guided exploration of the place. I was happy to find that there wasn't any water deeper than about 4'6" in the whole place, which was shallow enough for our middle child to be able to keep her head above water easily. We were ready to let the fun begin, and I propped the baby on my hip so we could keep her safe.

There are four main areas:

* A current-driven "river", with clear, vinyl, neon-colored innertubes with handles to float around on. You can just get in the tube and let the tube carry you along. It's somewhere between "Ahhh" and "Whee," except when the river takes you under some high-powered "fun" squirters, and then it's a bit like a mini-firehose in the ear! As we were about to go under them, the baby said, "Mama, I wandoo get swirded." After: "Mama, I don' wandoo get swirded."

When we arrived, I was kind of concerned about the river, because my little girl can't really swim. But there were plenty of innertubes and people in it, and she was fine. The river was her favorite part.

* An open play area including a playscape, with multicolored pipes everywhere, a rope ladder, and many water squirters madly squirting away. There was also a sort of "lounge" where you could sit and talk to friends on a long, circular bench. In this area, there is also a model of the original "round rock" that the city of Round Rock is named after, including lots of baby, non-round rocks and a zen-like flowing fountain to make it nice and decorative. The original round rock is in Brushy Creek.

The kids at the pool seemed pretty well-behaved, and we didn't have any run-ins or social issues at all. A good crowd.

* Two water-park-height water slides, one with an open top, and the other, called the "Black Hole," shaped like a long, dark green Crazy Straw. My son just loved the water slides, and I stopped worrying about him going on them so often. He even told me that he went topsy-turvy and tumbled down the "Black Hole," and that he felt a little bruised, but okay.

* The baby pool, which the baby did like, although she seemed a bit confused about what she was supposed to do there. It had a nice, padded bottom (so does the baby) to avoid scratching the little guys' feet or bumping their heads. The baby pool is also shaded, which I took note of for future sunny days. Shade is imperative for light-skinned people like us. The baby wouldn't go near the playscape, because it had a sort of rumbling sound coming from it, probably from the water being pumped through.

I was very impressed by how many lifeguards there were. Also, the lifeguards seemed fairly low-lethargy, which can be an unfortunate issue for some lifeguards. I guess I don't blame them, though. I'd probably fall asleep from sitting in the sun all day.

The only thing I would change about this aquatic center is to maybe make everything easier to see. We moms each lost track of our kids about 5-10 times. Mostly, the kids would finish one thing and just run off to the next thing that caught their eye, is if they were having "fun," or some junk. But, everyone was safe, so it worked out fine.

After we'd played for a couple of hours, we sat down in our towels to talk to our friends and share some of the snacks they'd brought. We had some really good conversation, and had a lot to talk about, since they're homeschoolers, as well. We talked about our kitten, who is training to be a toe ninja at the toe-jo, and is receiving special forces training to be able to spot suspicious patches of thin air. We learned about what it's like to clean up after a rabbit (bleah) and talked about homeschooling co-ops.

We ended up by agreeing to meet at one of our homes the next time, to make it a little less stressful on moms. But today the kids were begging to go again, so, maybe we'll go back next week! Overall it was a fun, safe time.

Here's the pertinent info:

Rock'n River Family Aquatic Center
3300 E Palm Valley Blvd
Round Rock, TX 78664
Phone: 512-671-2737
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