Although I have already shared many photos from our January family staycation at the CoCo Key Water Park located in Boston's North Shore, I would like to take the time to share more details about our weekend for those of you who may be considering CoCo Key as the location for your next family getaway. It was the perfect place for my family of 5 (children ages 6, 6, and 9) to have some fun away from home without extensive traveling or the expense of a resort. Our staycation consisted of 2 days of the Ultimate Water Park Package.
Our stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston North Shore began late on a Friday afternoon and ended on Sunday morning. We picked the children up from school with our suitcases packed and made the drive to the hotel in Danvers. We were pleased that there was plenty of free self-parking available at the hotel. Checking in was a breeze and we even received warm chocolate chip walnut cookies to take back to our room, which was one of their newly renovated family-friendly guest rooms.
The Family-Friendly Guest Room . . .
- Conveniently located in a wing close to the water park
- Clean and well-maintained
- 2 double beds and 2 junior twin beds worked out fine for the 5 of us
- There is a dividing wall between the double beds and the pair of junior twin beds
- The kids' side was decorated in a fun tropical theme
- The kids' side had its own TV
- Located between the beds is a nightlight and a flexible reading light
- The light switch on the wall glowed so that the children could turn on the ceiling light easily at night
- The 2 ottomans were perfect to sit on to watch TV, as well as to push up to the night stand for a place to draw or color
- Our bathroom was located between the adults' side and the kids' side of the room
- There were Crabtree & Evelyn toiletries (including mouthwash) and plenty of extra towels
- I liked that both trash receptacles in the room were divided to take recyclables in one half and regular trash in the other
- Our kindergartners could barely reach the faucet knobs, so a small stepstool would have come in very handy
By the time we checked in and got settled, we felt like everyone was too tired to go to the water park that evening, even though it would be open until 9pm. We decided to go out to grab some dinner instead and then went to the arcade for a short time before returning to our room. We went to bed with the plan to sleep in the next morning, go to the breakfast buffet at TradeWinds, and then head to the water park, where we would stay and have fun until the children were too tuckered out to play any longer.
When we entered the water park, we immediately noticed the climate change. It is a temperature controlled area and is constantly 84 degrees. You need to be prepared to dress for the tropical climate even if you are not planning on getting wet. It is not only warm, but also very humid, just like the summers in Massachusetts.
The CoCo Key Water Park . . .
- When we arrived around 11am Saturday morning, the water park was buzzing, but not overly crowded
- We stayed a total of 4 hours, which included a short break for food and drinks in the middle. That was plenty of time for the children to explore and try out different parts of the park and then return to their favorite parts again and again.
- There were plenty of lifeguards posted all around the water park
- There was also plenty of tables and chairs in the center of the park. We were able to claim a table and could leave our towels and shoes at our table.
- Be careful if you bring a phone or a camera into the park. Most children (and even some adults) will get you wet without a second thought. I saw many people dressed in street clothes get wet against their will that day.
- I very much liked that there were life vests provided for younger children
- There are lockers and cabanas available for rent, but because our room was not too far away, we really did not need either
- In the center of the park, there is a complex structure composed of multiple slides and chutes, some of which actually extend outside of the building, walkways, stairs, tipping buckets, and more.
- On the far side of this structure, there is a pool that is 3-1/2ft deep for older children and adults, where there is actual swimming, basketball, and more. We did not spend any time in this pool because our children are still swim training.
- Also on this side is a fenced off hot tub for teens and adults, which is not monitored by lifeguards
- On the side closer to the entrance is the Dip In Theater, which is a pool for younger children that has a large sail that doubles as a movie screen.
- There were mostly Disney and Dreamworks animated films showing. Although you can sit in the water to watch the film, you cannot really hear the movie.
- There were plenty of slides for both younger and older children. There were some slides for which our kindergartners did not meet the height requirement. There were even slides that I would only recommend for teens and adults.
- Although the water slides were fun and the children enjoyed floating in the Lazy River, I think all 3 of our children loved playing in the fountains the most.
- The Dip In Theater contained several types of fountains and tipping buckets and that is where my children spent about 2/3 of their time at the park.
- The water park is a great place to people watch
- By the time we left the park around 3pm that Saturday, it had gotten quite crowded
- Even when crowded, nobody seemed to get in anyone else's way and there was never longer than a short wait to go on a slide or ride the innertubes
The Key Quest Arcade is conveniently located between our hotel room and the water park. We stopped by whenever we had time to fill and ended up going a total of 3 times during our 2-night stay. This arcade does not use tokens or tickets, but rather reloadable arcade cards (like gift cards) that you can load with credits. You just need to slide the card through each machine you want to play. The card also keeps track of all the points you have earned from playing so that you can redeem them for prizes later.
The Key Quest Arcade . . .
- There was only a small number of games designed for younger children
- Although the arcade had the classic games, it also had current favorites, such as Guitar Hero and Fruit Ninja
- I never found the arcade to be overcrowded and only remember my children having to wait once or twice to play a certain game
- The prizes were standard little toys you would expect to see at an arcade. It would have been nice to be able to pay the difference to get an item when you do not necessarily have enough points. That way your child could take home a CoCo Key plush or a t-shirt, which to me would have been preferable to the little gumball machine toys they chose.
During our stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton, we had the chance to sample food at 2 out of the 4 dining options. The two that we did not try were the Starbucks Coffee Shop located in the hotel lobby and the Wet Rooster Bar, which is located off to the side within the CoCo Key Water Park. It is mostly for adults and serves alcoholic beverages.
Dining in CoCo Key . . .
- Gator's Grab and Go serves kid-friendly food within the water park
- Some of the items offered are slushies, soft drinks (with free refills), chicken fingers, fries, and pizza
- One serving of chicken fingers and french fries cost us $5, which seems very reasonable for a water park
- The food was good quality and it was great not to have to leave the water park to go searching for food
In addition to eating at the water park, we also dined at the DoubleTree by Hilton's in-house restaurant twice for breakfast and once for dinner. The TradeWinds restaurant offers a breakfast buffet each morning, which included (but was not limited to) breakfast cereal, bagels, croissants, toast, bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, home fries, and fruit. The food was great and our children never complained because they could pick and choose what they wanted to eat.
Dinner at TradeWinds . . .
- Despite the dim lighting and elegant atmosphere for dinner, this turned out to be a very family-friendly restaurant
- They had a children's menu, crayons, activity placemats, and covered straw cups
- The type of food is mostly American
- The service was excellent
- Overall the food was very good. You can read my review of TradeWinds here.
- The prices are slightly higher than your average family restaurant, but TradeWinds is slightly more upscale.
The idea to go to CoCo Key originated when I was trying to think of a fun, but different way to celebrate our 3 children's birthdays this year, which all fall in the month of January. Although we did not book a birthday party at CoCo Key, we were able to experience some of the things a birthday boy or girl would during their party at the water park.
Birthdays . . .
- The management surprised our children with a chocolate cake topped with buttercream frosting from Montello's Nut Free Bakery. It was delicious!
- I had the chance to meet the CoCo Key party planner, who seemed very nice to deal with, was professional and organized.
- We were greeted by CoCo, the water park's official mascot
- CoCo was so colorful and happy that the children were not afraid of him at all. They shook his hand and happily cuddled up to CoCo for photos.
- We also had a chance to see a sampling of the house magician's magic tricks
- The children were extremely impressed by his card tricks (as were my husband and I)
By the time we left on Sunday morning, we had created some wonderful memories with our children. You can read more about our staycation here and here. You can also view all 91 of my photos here.
(I also need to mention how great it was that the front desk at the DoubleTree by Hilton had Pepsi for sale at 11pm when I was up working late and needed some caffeine!)
Suggestions for Improvements?
- Add nachos to the Gator's Grab and Go menu (a request from our 6 year old son)
- A better assortment of CoCo Key souvenirs
- A stepstool for the bathroom in the hotel room
- More kids channels on the hotel room TVs in addition to Disney Channel and Cartoon Network
If anyone has any questions about my family's experience at CoCo Key, please feel free to leave them in a comment below or use my contact form. I will do my very best to answer them for you.
Thank you to the Coco Key Water Park and the DoubleTree by Hilton for providing us with complimentary accommodations, meals, arcade credits, and water park passes for us to base this review upon. All opinions are my own.
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