Relaxing at the Gaylord Texan’s Water Park: 4 Lessons I Learned This Week


IMG_1334My family just returned from a three-day getaway to our favorite local water park at the Gaylord Texan. There’s a chance that you may not have even known that the Gaylord had a water park. Since it’s one of my favorite local summer destinations–I wanted to tell you all about it!

The Great Wolf Lodge is right across the street and a whole lot bigger. Yes. (I know that saying this next statement here in Texas is probably enough to get me hanged…) But, bigger isn’t always better when you have little kids!

We have four young children who are mediocre swimmers at best. We don’t need a lot of adventure rides or slides; we just need a place where the little ones can play in the pool and where mommy can feel like they are safe (while she sits in a chair and works on her tan).

The Gaylord Texan’s water park called “Paradise Springs” accomplishes this mission quite perfectly for us. The main pool has a huge, almost beach-like, area that is only one and two feet deep for several yards. It makes my heart happy. There’s also a great, 600-foot lazy river, a large serpentine slide and a zip line (for Daddy or kids who can reach high enough to grab on). This gives us just about all the adventure we need. IMG_1323

My only gripe with the park is they limit what food you can take in with you. But, they did adjust the rule this year to allow a couple baby snacks and that worked out just fine for our crew. (They do have a restaurant, bar, and snack shop out there for additional sustenance–the poolside service is great and easy!)

Water parks usually stress me out. Too many people. Too many opportunities for danger. But, the Gaylord is the exception to this rule for me. In fact, I had so much time to relax and unwind while my kids played for hours on end in the water in front of me, that I had time to reflect on our experience and even draw some helpful conclusions from it.

Here they are:

  1. IMG_1316Don’t Buy Your Daughter a Strawberry Smoothie on Day One. I mean, unless you enjoy supporting the entitlement culture, making a purchase like this on day one will commit you to making this same purchase on day two (in part because her brother spilled half of it on day one and you feel bad), and then again on day three. Delayed gratification is a much better lifeskill to teach our children. Buy the smoothie on day three. (Oh, but go ahead and buy yourself a little treat in a plastic cup whenever you can and then just hide it.)
  2. Four-Year-Olds Possess an Admirable Amount of Conversation & Friend Making Confidence. Mine just happened to engage every. single. lifeguard in deep conversation. We prayed no one would drown while he distracted them. He talks. He compliments. He asks questions that he is sincerely interested in hearing the answer to. And, he makes friends. It’s no wonder. Then, I think about how many years I spent as a lonely mommy. And, how daunting it can be to say even a feeble, “hello” to another mom at the pool. Maybe I need to take some “friend-making” cues from my middle son.IMG_1362
  3. Don’t Worry About What Your Body Looks Like. As I sat in that chair I did what all women who sit in a chair (at a location where other women are wearing bathing attire) do: I “shopped” for a new swimsuit while checking out who had better abs than I do. Guess what I also noticed? Ninety-nine out of 100 women at that park did not look anything like an underwear model. There were women with thigh gaps but flat chests. There were women with big chests and sturdy legs. There were fuller women and there were super thin women. There were pregnant women. There were “I-just-had-a-baby-two-weeks-ago” women. There were moms, daughters, grandmas, cousins in matching swimwear, and teenage girls trying to look twenty-five. They all had different bodies. And, they all probably would have enjoyed their time a lot more if they had stopped worrying so much about covering their flabby abs or jiggly arms and just realized that “normal” women were in the majority. Stressing over not having a perfect body is a perfectly ridiculous way to ruin a good time for our children.
  4. Let Daddy Parent Differently. Dads aren’t moms and that’s not a bad thing. I’m not going to get in the pool and throw my two-year-old, puddle jumper and all, five IMG_1347feet into the air. But, he is. And, guess what? The little guy loved it. Let dad parent differently. Let dad show them how to do the zipline and take them down the slide even if they were barely tall enough to qualify to ride. It’ll be ok. They’ll be ok. And, hey, while dad’s got them entertained you have more time to relax and enjoy that tiny umbrella-topped drink you are hiding.

Looking for a great local getaway where you can do some reflection of your own this summer? I recommend the Gaylord Texan!

(These opinions are entirely my own and I received no compensation for this post! I just love this place and wanted you to know about it too!)



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