Castaway Bay: Cedar Point’s indoor waterpark offers 82-degree escape to Caribbean

Cedar Point’s indoor waterpark in Sandusky offers 82-degree escape to Caribbean

Castaway Bay: Cedar Point’s waterpark resort offers 82-degree indoor escape to CaribbeanWhile driving along U.S. Rt. 250 near Sandusky, we pass several indoor waterparks on our way to Cedar Point’s Castaway Bay. This must be the Vegas Strip of indoor waterparks, I think as I observe colorful tubes snaking out the sides of one hotel after another.

Castaway Bay isn’t the largest, showiest one on the block. With a 38,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, it’s smaller than the nearby 173,000 square-foot Kalahari Resort and bigger than the 33,000-square-foot Great Wolf Lodge.

For us, it was just right. Castaway Bay is perfect for anyone looking for an excuse to don a bathing suit in an 82-degree-controlled environment when Ohio’s outside temps aren’t cooperating. The contrived, Caribbean theme – with painted blue skies, synthetic palm trees and animatronic parrots that squawk and talk – also is convincing enough when you just can’t get to the real thing.

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We ventured two hours north from Columbus to Sandusky on a cold, winter weekend, eager for an excuse to pretend it was summer. If you stay the night, you have access to the waterpark for two days. Check in is 4 p.m., and check out is 11 a.m.

The resort offers 237 hotel rooms and suites and several onsite restaurants. Prices for a room-and-waterpark combo start at $149 when I checked the resort’s site in March. Day passes to the waterpark are $29 each.

We stayed in a Starfish Room with two double beds, sleeper chair, private screened balcony, small refrigerator, microwave and coffeemaker. The room accommodates up to five guests and comes with four waterpark passes.

We started our adventure by picking up an “Island Times” at the front desk. The one-sheeter states the times and locations of daily activities, such as decorating T-shirts and bags with fabric paint, and visits with Snoopy and other Peanuts characters.

We made our way to the 6,000-square-foot arcade to play unique crane games. One had us vying for large bouncy balls at $2 a pop. We didn’t win anything.

We spent the majority of our time in the waterpark – nearly seven hours playing and splashing. We bypassed the Toddlers Tide Pool in favor of the following:

Castaway Bay Wave Pool
This 100,000-gallon wave pool periodically produces 3-foot waves. A buzzer signals the arrival of waves that continue for roughly 10 minutes.

Lookout Lagoon Family Funhouse
It’s a multistory, interactive play area with a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket and twisty slides.

Tropical Tube Slides
There are three enclosed, tubular body slides that protrude from the side of the building. One affords a speedy slide through complete darkness.

Rendezvous Run
This 35-foot-high, 520-foot-long water rollercoaster propels riders uphill using water jets. It winds near the ceiling and partially goes outside, and you must be 42 inches tall to ride.

For more information, visit

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Bring bathing suit, towel to spray park in Powell

With so many innovative outdoor play areas cropping up around Columbus, it’s a good time to be a kid in the Capital City. Free, public recreation spaces, such as the Scioto Mile in downtown Columbus and Millstone Creek Park in Westerville, also make it a great time to be a parent.

On a recent sweltering-hot day – the temps well into the 90s – my two young children and I checked out the Splash Pad at a community park called the Village Green in the Columbus suburb of Powell.

Opened in 2005, the mini spray park contains a half dozen colorful water features on a circular squishy rubber surface. There are gentle geysers for bathing your toes and dumping buckets for those who really want to get wet.

My favorite, though, is a spray tunnel with water jets spewing from all directions. I giddily ran through it with my 2- and 4-year-old at least 10 times to keep cool.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon and stayed for three hours, leaving as the park grew crowded with parents bringing their children after work.

My children spent equal time at the water area and the adjacent playground. Their fun was punctuated by the occasional passing of a nearby train, exciting my son Max most.

We wore bathing suits, and I brought water bottles and towels for regular face wipings.

The water park is situated near the city’s municipal building at 47 Hall St. The new building resembles an old train depot and houses the Powell police department. It contains nice, clean bathrooms, a drinking fountain and a vending machine with cold energy drinks.

The attractively landscaped park, open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., also includes a bike path and a stage for community concerts.

We left feeling exhausted. But for those desiring a sweeter ending, there is a nearby Jeni’s, Rita’s and Handel’s for ice cream in the surrounding quaint downtown.

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