It’s almost the end of Summer 2014 when I went with my wife and 2 kids (4 and almost 2 years old) to Keansburg’s Runaway Rapids waterpark, and had a very fun afternoon together. The park is away from the busiest Jersey Shore areas and it’s convenient for people leaving in the Northern part of the shore, as well as those coming down the Parkway and who don’t want to make the trip down to Seaside, Jackson or Wildwood. It’s a bit smaller than other water parks, but it packs a lot of attractions and can keep you entertained for many hours.
Going with little kids, it’s nice to find the large kiddie area. The “Toddler Reef” is well done, with small slides (including the popular frog slide) that even a one-year old who just learned to walk can handle, as well as other water toys. It lays into a very shallow pool (just a few inches) so the kids can get used to the water before attempting any “challenge”. Next to it it’s the big climbing structure where older kids can have endless fun, exploring the towers, climbing nets, easy slides and water puzzles. There’s also the big tipping bucket on top of that, so make sure your kids are not scared of it before sending them up.
At the Southern tip of the park there’s a big tower, with various water slides starting on each level. They go all the way to the biggest ones starting from the top, but the first level is a perfect beginner slides, where 2-3-year olds can try going with their parents, before venturing on their own to the slightly higher second level (they’re both still very slow). All this kids-area feels very safe, having a lot of lifeguards at every step that keep watch on the little ones.
Crossing the bridge to the other side at the park, you can see the bigger adult slides (most have a 48″ minimum height requirement, so the kids should be at least 5-6 years if they want to try). The best thing about them is that even on a weekend there are never huge lines like you see at other NJ water parks. You can keep an eye on the lines and go at the right moment when you won’t wait more than 2-3 minutes. Very convenient if you’re there with your family and don’t want to leave them alone for too long.
“Soaring Thunder” is a fast twisted slide where you plunge head-first on a mat. Next to it, you can go down without a tube, but the slide ends up 10 feet in the air so you end up dropping into the pool below. It’s the same pool shared by the rope swing, another fun attraction. And then there’s the “Mountain Blast” where you go on a double tube which is going to spin out of control as it goes down the wide slide.
Of course there’s no water park visit without the leisurely floating around on the lazy river. It’s something you can do with the whole family, but you’d have to hold smaller kids in your lap in the tube. The good thing at Runaway Rapids is that there are plenty of tubes available, so you don’t have to wait like in other water parks, where they’ve gotten really scarce lately. The course is nicely landscaped, and there are activities along the way, water sprays, hanging fish and more. And once out of the river don’t miss the hot tubs. My kids seemed to love that more than most other rides!
I know the town Keansburg doesn’t have the best reputation, but rest assured that the water park is perfectly clean and safe. I’ve taken friends here and they’ve all said it’s so much better than they thought, and they didn’t expect to have so much fun. Most even said they prefer it, being smaller and less crowded, to the major ones in the state. And don’t forget that the main Keansburg Amusement Park is right across the street, with dozens of rides for all ages as well as two go-karts tracks.
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