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Key Lime Cove

December 9, 2011

  • 1700 Nations Drive
  • Gurnee, IL 60031
  • (877) 360-0403
  • Website

I think we may have started a new Christmas tradition.  My brother and his family took a trip to an indoor water park last winter between Chicago and Wisconsin.  This year, he noticed a Groupon type deal in the Lake County Journal.  My dad, my brother and all I bought the deal and made plans to meet in Gurnee, IL the first weekend in December.

Our meeting place was Key Lime Cove just off I-94 on Nations Drive in Gurnee.  The day started with a trip to Gurnee Mills Mall and lunch at Rain Forest Cafe.  Our check-in time at the resort technically wasn’t until 4:00, but we were ready to head over there at about 2:00.  My dad and brother went ahead of J and I.  We wanted to check out a few more things at the mall.  When I called my brother to say we were heading over, he said he wasn’t sure if our room was going to be ready.  Theirs was, but the lady at the registration desk must have said something about ours.

It only takes about five minutes to make the short drive from the mall to the resort.  We followed the sign to the registration desk after parking in the large circle drive.  Just walking through the door, we could feel right away that this was not a typical hotel.  Besides the tropical thing that was noticeable right away, the size of the resort was almost overwhelming.

The five minute drive must have been enough.  When I walked to the desk to check-in, I gave the lady my name and she made a comment about me being the third and final check-in from my family. 

After taking care of all the paperwork, the desk clerk gave us our wristbands.  This is an incredibly great idea.  We were not given keys or pass cards to get in to our rooms.  The wristbands had a microchip in them that got us in to the rooms and allowed us to buy anything in the resort without using cash.  The wristbands (which only the adults got) were linked to the credit card I used for incidentals.  The kids were given a different kind of wristband.  Both types were good for admittance to the water park.

We headed up to the floor on the third floor and with help from my brother, we got everything up to the room.  Since it was just J and I, we got a king size bed, but there was also a pull out couch.  The room was rather large and really nice.  I’ve paid much more for a room and gotten way less.  The only odd thing was the bathroom.  The room with the toilet and shower was a little small and separated from the sink area with just a pocket door.  On the plus side, the shower included a clothesline to hang wet swimsuits from.  Like J said many times, they thought of everything.

After getting our suits on, we headed back down to the first floor to the water park.  Growing up, I always hated water parks.  My dad and brother loved them so we spent several family vacations at Wisconsin Dells and Indiana Beach.  I always liked our vacations and looked forward to them, but water parks were not my favorite.  I’m almost legally blind without my glasses so I either had to wear contacts and get super red eyes from the contacts reacting with chlorine or I walked around blind all day.  It was absolutely miserable.

Needless to say, I was a little hesitant to really jump in once we got to the water park, but my two nieces got me involved right away.

The water park part of the resort is huge.  There’s a kiddie pool, a wave pool, a lazy river, a whirlpool for the adults,  four slides, a big toilet bowl slide and a big play area for kids that adults can also enjoy.

We headed to the kiddie pool first where my three year old niece headed right for the slide.  At first, we had to catch because that’s how she remembered it, but she’s grown enough over the year that she could actually go down the slide by herself.  We still had to lift her out of the pool and we stood there just in case she went under and panicked.  My 17 month old niece got in to the action as well.  We started out with her going down with my brother, but he tried sending her down by herself once, with me catching her at the bottom, and she loved it.  As soon as I grabbed her at the bottom of the slide, she was already reaching towards the edge of the pool wanting to go again.

We picked a good day to go as the pool was pretty empty on the Sunday and Monday we were there.  Both days, we were able to take the older niece to the bigger slides and she could go down them at will.  Again, I stood at the bottom and picked her up out of the run off.  Again, she was ok by herself, but she wanted to splash in the run off area.  Plus, if she came down weird, she would get under water and it took her a while to get up on her own.

The ladies were all pretty big fans of the lazy river which starts and ends in the wave pool.  J went around a few times and both my brother and sister-in-law took the girls for a ride.  In our younger years, my dad and brother would hit th slides while my mom went to the lazy river at the water parks we went to, so I think my mom was happy to just get in a tube and float for a while.

It wasn’t until our second day that my brother talked me in to the Toilet Bowl slide.  It’s a tandem ride on a double tube, so he needed someone to go with him.  It’s not that I was afraid or couldn’t handle it, I just didn’t want to take my glasses off.  I finally did and followed him up the stairs.  Again, it was nice because there weren’t many people there.  We were able to hit the slide a couple times with no wait.  The slide was actually pretty fun.  As we hit the first drop, I think the first thing I said was, “Oh shit!  I haven’t done this in a while.”  My stomach dropped a little, but I love that feeling.  We got into the toilet bowl and as we hit the second drop, our tube got turned around and we went down backwards.

After swimming both days, we took the girls to the arcade which is right next to the water park.  I think this was more fun for me and my brother as we took pretty much all the money we put on to the play cards and tried to get as many tickets as we could.  The girls loved watching the tickets come out of the machines and the oldest one knew that the more tickets we got, the more candy she was going to get.  The little one was just happy to sit on pretty much anything that moved.  My mom kept her entertained without spending any money while my brother, dad, and I played skee-ball over and over and over.

Check-out on Monday was 11:00, but the resort allows you to use the water park until 4:00.  We all checked out around 10:00 and just headed down the water park.  All of us except for J who went to the spa.  She had a prenatal massage set up and she said it was entirely worth it.  The price was pretty marked up, but she said it was great and it didn’t bother her that she missed out on th swimming.

Our stay at Key Lime Cove was fantastic…and remember, I don’t like water parks, but this was fun.  I didn’t get sunburned, I could take my glasses off and not get lost, and the kids absolutely loved it.  My brother wants to make this a yearly thing and I think it might happen.  It’s about three hours from Kalamazoo and my opinion is that it’s worth the trip.  There’s so many other things to do in Gurnee that it is really easy to make this a great family vacation.

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