Mancation: Day One. Coco Key Water Resort in Rockford

Every year, I take a week off from work to sync up with my son’s spring break.  This is no mere spring break,mind you.  To make each vacation memorable, I plan an “event” for each day of the break.  We call the week “MANCATION.”
Today was Mancation: Day One.  The featured event was a trip to CocoKey Water Resort in Rockford, IL.

Getting there was a breeze. Coco Key’s attached to the Clock Tower Resort (a typically unimpressive Best Western hotel),right off of I-90.  The Clock Tower’s no Renaissance, but then again, Rockford’s no Highland Park.

The price for entry was totally reasonable: $20 for a day pass, jacked up $5 from $15 for spring break week.  That’s still less than admission + one add-on to either the Field Museum or Museum of Science and Industry.  What’s more, museums don’t have water slides.  And the dinosaurs at the Field don’t talk.  Screw ’em.

What makes a water park worthwhile?  Family fun, sure.  Waterslides, of course.  For us aging adults who can scarcely keep up with the enthusiasm of the children we’ve taken to this playtime paradise,it’s the presence of a hot tub.

I love hot tubs.  I allow myselft o look past the petri dish possibilities of the near-boiling communal skin sauce, and let the bubbling waters relax me into a state of catatonic bliss.  Each time I crawl out of the tub, I’m at peace with the world, my body turned almost pliable. A good 15% of my Coco Key stay was spent submerged in their Lazarus Pit.

The other 85% was spent engaged in high-energy, splashtacular, Mancation fun. There are three high-speed, high-altitude, slides at Coco Key, two of which I rode well into the double digits.  The third slide, a twirling rocket ride in pitch black darkness, intimidated me with its sensory-deprivation approach.  I’ve seen “Altered States.”  I know what can happen.

Time stands still at Coco Key, and that’s by design. Like Vegas, there are no clocks or obvious windows anywhere to be found.  As I was standing at the top of the staircase leading to the top of the water slides, I saw the resort’s eponymous Clock Tower through a rooftop window.  I could see two of its faces; neither of which agreed or were even remotely accurate.  Time stands still at Coco Key.

Not only did time stand still, so did the naked guy in the locker room. Seems like every time I went in the locker room–to use the bathroom,get money out of my wallet, put my shoes away–this guy was toweling off or in some state of undress.  Thanks to his concerted efforts, he can claim a level of dryness never before seen east of Arizona.  But seriously–put the underpants on before the shirt, pal.  

My son and I spent four hours at Coco Key.  Up the stairs, down the slide.  Up the stairs, down another slide. Around the lazy river in a tube, then into the basketball pool.  Running under the ginormous water bucket,then eating chili dogs in folding chairs.  The four hours was just enough time to almost be bored, and plenty of time to feel like we got the most out of it.  His review? “This was the best day ever.”  So goes mine.  Mancation Day One: Success.

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