We didn't have water parks when I was a kid. The diving board was our main source of adventure -- that, and games of "Marco Polo."
Now, this isn't another old-guy-whining column; quite the contrary. I've adjusted in my dotage and, rather than begrudge today's generation for having what mine did not, I've embraced the new world excitement.
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And besides, it's fun being a middle-aged kid. Show me a water park and I'm there -- with the kids.
That's why this double-dandy season pass special is so exciting. The Fox Valley Park District is offering dirt-cheap season passes that can be used at both of its water parks -- Phillips Park Family Aquatic Center and Splash Country Water Park.
But you have to hurry in today to purchase the pass, as today, April 30, is the last day of the discount. On Sunday, May 1, regular prices will apply.
Preseason prices range from $30 to $60 depending on age and residency, but regardless of which pass you choose, it's a blue-water bargain -- with added benefits. As a pass holder, you get to enjoy the water park for one additional hour each Friday from 11 a.m. to noon before it opens to the public -- the equivalent of a private party for pass holders.
Speaking of parties, a season pass provides a 10 percent discount off water park birthday parties and a complimentary friend pass if purchased before May 1.
So one pass at one price opens the door to two parks for 10 weeks this summer -- every day. (OK, maybe my generation did get the short stick).
Phillips Park has four slides -- two of the winding flume variety. The other two are drop slides that provide the sensation of going over the edge of a cliff on a waterfall, albeit with a safe landing pool below.
Splash Country has two twisting flume slides as well and its famous "lazy river" -- the second longest of its type in Illinois -- that winds through dumping buckets, sprayers, water jets and bubbling rapids.
Both parks include kid-friendly sections with spray guns, waterfalls and sand areas, with beach volleyball courts for teens and adults.
That type of wide appeal was the idea behind the creation of Phillips Park when it was researched in the late 1980s. In cooperation with the city of Aurora, the park district envisioned an aquatic center that would create a family atmosphere -- not just a place where parents would drop off their kids.
Phillips Park opened in 1991 and in the two decades since, the original vision has been realized repeatedly. On June 18, Phillips Fest will celebrate the park's 20th birthday.
What should also be celebrated is the fact that admission and season pass rates at both water parks have remained unchanged since 2007. Family fun is priceless, and keeping it affordable assures that it stays that way.
The season for wet and wild fun begins June 4. Start your summer today with a season pass.
• Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org