There is a place, deep in the heart of Tampa’s urban wilderness, where the locals go to cool off. Like an oasis in the midst of desert wasteland, it is a place filled with life. It is also a place of death defying falls, unrelenting surf, and the never-ending smell of Coppertone. This place has a name, and its name is Adventure Island.
Theme parks are a place where even the hardiest native Floridians can wither and perish during the summer months. They can have the fun cooked right out of them, leaving behind a scorched, dried out husk. But a water park? Well, at least it won’t get dried out.
Three things led to my decision to go Adventure Island on Sunday, the look of joy on my kid’s faces as they splashed in the water, the promise of a little cooling off, and Cheryl telling me I had to go. However, one thing almost called it off before it started: the weather forecast. Our local weather experts had forecasted a 60% chance of rain before noon, a 17% chance of rain between noon and 3 p.m., and a 40% chance of rain after 3 p.m. Personally, I think weather personalities are jumping up and down on the thin part of the branch as it is – without giving hour by hour forecasts. Fool me once,
So we left home at 11:45 a.m.
Come one, it’s a water park for cripes sake! What’s a little rain at a water park? If you can swim around in diluted children’s urine (chlorinated for your convenience), you can stand a little water dispensed from nature’s distillery, right?
Um, yeah. The thing with rain is that it can be quite cold. That’s why we spent twenty minutes getting intimate with the side of a building yesterday afternoon. Being wet is one thing, but the cold wet from a Florida summer storm is pretty uncomfortable fully clothed – let alone in your swimming skivvies. Then there’s thunder.
Being cold and wet is one thing, but throw in a little thunder and lightning and even the slow of foot will be prancing through the parking lot like gazelles on the Serengeti.
We were home by 3:15.