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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Fun City--Huck's Harbor

Fun City--Huck's Harbor

We decided on the last day of my summer vacation to take a trip to
 Burlington and try out Huck's Harbor water park.  The water park
 was crowded on the hot day in July as we all clamored for relief 
in the water.

Location:  3001 Winegard Drive, Burlington, Iowa, 52601; 
866-792-9948.  Getting there was easy.  We took the Roosevelt 
exit from highway 163/34 and went North one block.  
The Pzazz Entertainment Complex which includes Fun City and 
Huck's Harbor was visible on the right.

Summer Rates:  Monday-Thursday, $6 per person; Friday,
Saturday, and Sunday, $10 per person.  If you are staying at
the hotel, water park adimission is included with your stay.
There's no mention in any of the brochures we picked up or
on the web-site about childen of a certain age being free.

There are specials on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer.
The Tuesday special a $2 admission with a regular admission
 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Thursdays from 5:00 to 9:00 pm is $3
admission. We went on a Tuesday to take advantage of the special.
The web-site read that that it was $2 admission after a regular price
admission so I was thinking we pay one full price then everyone
 else was $2.  Wrong!  The special is one full price and one $2
admission, then another full price, etc. There were six of us in
two parties of 3, but I said we were a party of 4.  My charge:
$17.50.  Huh?  Two regular price admissions would be $6 plus
$6 or a total of $12, then add on two discounted admission
$2 plus $2 or a total of $4 making the total $16.  Was the extra
$1.50 tax?  The other adult paid for a party of two for a total of
$8.50.  Again why the extra $.50?  Another tax?  There was
so much going on that I didn't question it, so I'm still not
sure why the additional admission fee.

Lockers are available to rent for a $5 deposit--cash only.
Tubes are free.

Sunday through Thursday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday,
9:00 am-10:00 pm.  Check web-site for any closures for private

Description:  Huck's Harbor is an indoor/outdoor water park.  The
indoor portion, which is open year around, has a slide tower with a
tunnel body slide and a tunnel tube slide.  Half of the catch pool is
roped off for swimming.  A hot tub is nestled behind the slide tower.
There's a kiddie play structure with dump bucket and water features.
An umbrella water feature and small frog slide are nearby. The indoor
water park includes a rock climbing wall seperate from the pool.
Bathrooms are located behind the play structure and a snack shack is
located near the indoor entrance.  There is also an entrance from the
outdoor water park.

The outdoor water park contains a lazy river, a large swimming pool
with lanes and depth that vary from 4 to 5 feet and have hoops and
nets for water sports.  There is a kiddie play area with slides and
dump bucket, very similar to the indoor structure.  There are two
slide towers.  One contains two racing slides.  The other has four
slides--two that require tubes and two that are body slides.  Three
of the slides empty into the same catch pool, while the red tube slide
goes through a "toilet bowl" spin and empties into its own catch pool
that then flows into the lazy river.  The lazy river flows around the
slide tower and kiddie play area.

Bathrooms/locker rooms and a shower are available at the outdoor
water park near the entrance.

Rules to Know:  General safety issues like walking, etc.  We did see
some "floaty" devices for small children.  The rules for the lazy river
have sit with your bottom in the hole of the tube as the number one
rule, but after taking a lap on the river I noticed that this rule wasn't
followed or enforced.  I asked a lifeguard if the sitting in the tube rule
was enforced.  First, they were confused that there was a rule--I then
pointed to the sign that is visible for guests, but I guess not visible to
the lifeguards.  Then, once the lifeguard realized it was a rule said,
"we don't care."  Got it!  There's a rule posted but not enforced,
followed, or cared about.  Understood.

Then there were some "unwritten" rules of tubes being carried over
the bridge to be used on the slides.  A lifeguard was positioned either
on the bridge or just after the bridge to make sure no tubes were being
taken over the bridge for use on the slides REQUIRING tubes.  I didn't
understand.  So, I asked.  I was told that is just how it is by two
different staff members.  I was told that if you want to ride the slides
requiring tubes that you get a tube from a person exiting the lazy river
near the slides or I guess tubes would be stacked nearby.  Okay, I'm
scratching my head trying to figure this out as there were NO spare
tubes the day we were there.

Our motto was once you found a tube you hung on to it for dear life--
tube scarcity!  So the way around this silly rule that I'm sure is for
insurance purposes--something about the visibility of guests navigating
the stairs both up and down with tubes in their hands--is to get in
the lazy river with your tube and ride it around and get out near
he slides and then ride the slides.  I can also tell you that both
Adventure Bay, which is the water park at Adventureland--click here,
and Pella Aquatic Center--click here--both require guests to traverse
steps with tubes in hand.

This is where the tubes are supposed to be.
And, the lifeguard that argued about exchanging the tubes and
enforced the silly "no tubes over the bridge" rule.

We encountered the same "tube rule" driven lifeguard towards the end
 of our stay saying that there were certain tubes that stayed in the
lazy river, etc. when two people in our traveling party wanted to trade
single tubes for a double tube as they exited the lazy river and were
eading back into the lazy river.  Again, huh?  You must have a tube to
ride the lazy river and this rule is enforced by a blow of a whistle,
but no real consequence of getting out, etc.

Alcoholic beverages are okay to be consumed anywhere in the water
park, even going on the slides!  Cheers!

Food:  The same snack shack serves both the outside and inside
water parks and has windows to both.  Efficient!  Prices are readily
displayed outside the snack shack, however, there were some items
available that weren't listed on the menu such as large pretzels with
cheese and nachos.

The boy got a slice of pizza and ate every last bite, much to the
husband's disappointment.  I wanted water.  The nice gal at the
snack shack told me the water from the tap didn't taste the best so I
bought a $2 bottle of water and asked for a cup of ice.  No problem.
I then poured the water bottle into the cup and once the water bottle
was emptied, I went off to find a water fountain to refill it.  There
were two--one near the entrance to Fun City's indoor arcade area
and other between the bathrooms next to the hotel front desk.
It took some doing, but I was able to refill the water bottle with
cold water for FREE!

The Tiki Bar is also located in the outdoor water park serving
alcoholic beverages.  Guests need a special bracelet that they can
get at the admission desk when showing an ID.  Guests can
smoke in the Tiki Bar area as no food is permitted skirting the
"no smoking in restaurants" law in Iowa.

Cleanliness:  The pools were clean.  I tripped over one of the umbrella
bases that were just sitting on the ground not holding an umbrella and
not under a table.  I then told a lifeguard just walking by, not noticing
the umbrella stands, that people were tripping over them.  He did
move the stands to the side near the fence.  The trash remained on
the ground.

Friendliness:  There were a few friendly faces.  When I asked for a
map of the park at the admission desk, one lady said they didn't
have any, but said they were available at the Snack Shack.  I said
how would I find the Snack Shack without a map as I hadn't
been there before?  Dilemma.  The other lady in the admission
area offered to get a map for us.  We waited and visited with
the man putting on our bracelets--the same many who didn't
notice the umbrella stands later in the day--and I asked about
 the different color bracelets--some for paying admission,
others for hotel guest admission.  A huge crowd was there
nd even finding a parking space had been difficult so I asked
if they had a capacity limit and was told yes.  I asked how
they would know if they reached it and I got a shrug.  I looked
for a capacity sign and couldn't find one.

The nice lady hadn't returned and we wanted to get started,
so I went off to find the Snack Shack and look for a map.
The nice gal at the Snack Shack told me they didn't have any
maps.  That's when the other lady found me and gave me
what she had. I thanked her and asked if she gave some to the
Snack Shack and she said yes.

Web-site:  www.thepzazz.com  click on Fun City and then on
Huck's Harbor for water park information.

Pros:  Huck's Harbor seems to be a family and group destination.
There is something to do for folks of all ages.  The adventureous
in our group gave a thumbs up to the red "toilet bowl" slide.
The boy liked being able to go from the outdoor water park to
 the indoor and vice versa.  The lazy river was fun, once we
were able to secure tubes.  The large swimming pool offered
a place just to swim.

Cons:  The large crowd decreased our enjoyment of the water park.
It wasn't until 4:00 pm or so that we had more fun.  The pavement
can get very hot and there is walking from one are to another,
so flip flops or water shoes may be beneficial.  We were okay, though.

There is no way to exit the water after riding the red "toilet bowl"
slide other than to ride your tube into the lazy river until you find a
place to exit.

The splash pool for the three slides only has one exit out of the water.
The tube slide   dumps into the splash pool farthest from the exit,
so either you navigate your tube past two other slides and their
water rushes OR you exit into the lazy river.  So, this in itself,
makes the whole "use the tubes people are giving up to ride the
slides" rule even more inefficient, as it is difficult to navigate a
tube across two water currents to get out of the water when
sitting in the tube.

The slide tower with the four different slides is a nightmare.
There's no organization and people pass other people waiting
in line.  One of our party said to a gentleman walking by that
he had just passed others who had been waiting in line for
some time only to be rebuffed and the man kept going.
There needs to be some signage indicating where to stand or
walk if you are riding a body slide or a tube slide.  Guests
are navigating tubes on stairs--again making the no tubes on
the bridge rule even more ridiculous!

The in my opinion, misplaced attention of the lifeguards was a con.

The zero depth entrance to the lazy river turns into a small wave
pool at times with many guests sitting on the edge of the entrance o
r just standing in the area--the water is deeper than the kiddie play
 area and shallower than the large pool--this makes for quite a bit
of congestion.  There are NO lifeguards in this are to help guests
get on/off tubes if needed or to clear the congestion.

The alcoholic beverage consumption can also be a con depending
on yourpoint of view.

Fun Factor:  Once the crowd dispersed and we could get our hands
on tubes, the fun factor went up.  Again, the boy enjoyed being able
to go back and forth between the indoor and outdoor water parks.

The location next to Fun City and all it has to offer can increase the
fun factor if you plan that experience and cost into your stay.  Just
know that swim attire is prohibited beyond certain points.  We
explored the area in our swimsuits, coverups, and t-shirts without
issue.  Just be sure to dry off.

You can use your admission fee and any other expenses at the
water park towards your Fun Club points.  Either present your
Fun Club card or ask for and save your receipts and have the
purchases added to your Fun Club account.

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