A Wild Time
This week we are so excited to be sharing with you one of the coolest and most unique parks we've been to. We've been holding on to this gem for a little bit now, and we're so happy to be finally blogging about it! The park is called Wild Adventures Theme Park and is located in Valdosta, GA.
Wild Adventures is such a neat park because it's basically three parks in one. It's a theme park complete with thrill rides and roller coasters, an animal park featuring hundreds of exotic animals, and a water park with several slides and a wave pool! All of these things are included with your standard admission to Wild Adventures, so needless to say, you could easily spend an entire day in the park and still not get to see everything.
During our visit to Wild Adventures we got the opportunity to meet with the Director of Public Relations and the Food and Beverage Director to talk about some of the park's highlights and future plans! They were some of the nicest people we've encountered in the industry and they welcomed us into the park and made us feel right at home. We'll share some of what they shared with us in this post as well as our reviews of the park. So follow along with us through a trip report of our wild time at Wild Adventures!
There is no shortage of food offerings in Wild Adventures! Whether you're in the mood for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, Philly cheesesteaks, pizza, or BBQ, you're sure to find a restaurant or food stand serving up something delicious at every corner. We started our day in the park by meeting with the Directors near the park's signature Barbecue restaurant: Lonestar BBQ.
This recently refurbished restaurant offers smoked BBQ ribs, chicken, and pulled pork in a modern, Texas-style atmosphere. This place is definitely the pride and joy of the Food and Beverage department (and with good reason). The F&B director let us know that their team slow smokes the meat for hours to get that melt-in-your-mouth perfection. They also offer four unique hand-crafted barbecue sauces with your meal that are available for purchase if you feel so inclined. (You will.) We got all four- Original, Spicy, Mustard, and Vinegar- but I think our favorite was definitely the mustard.
Lonestar BBQ was an unexpected food victory and we highly recommend it. In a park with so many appealing offerings, we'd say this one is a can't miss.
We also ate at Congo Wings! It's rare that we pass up an opportunity to eat hand-tossed wings anywhere we go, so when we saw this place, we had to stop!
The wings were very good. The only downside to this place is the lack of variety. Currently, they only offer one wing flavor- buffalo- which is Brittany's favorite, but not Parker's. Adding a bbq, lemon pepper, or garlic flavor would really enhance the menu.
But overall, you can't be mad at wings and cheese fries. It's literally my ideal cheat meal (which is every meal on vacation if we're being honest). This restaurant seems to have the most potential to us. Even the employees choose to eat most of their meals here! We saw several of them and, of course, stopped to ask them where their favorite place to grab lunch was.
We ended with the most intriguing offering in the park, a Colossal Shake from Mayfield Creamery. This location offers sundaes, shakes, and several flavors of ice cream. Currently, they're showcasing two fun shakes to go along with seasonal theming in the park. One is a cute "Fun @ Heart" shake with sprinkles and lollipops. The other- not as cute. To highlight "Mega Bugs", a new interactive, life-size bug exhibit, the park is offering a real cricket shake!
It's actually not as intense as it sounds. It's a cookies and cream ice cream shake topped with gummy worms, and a real chocolate-covered cricket. Honestly, the cricket tasted like a chocolate-covered peanut, but there's still something about knowingly eating bugs that you can't get out of your head. This shake was awesome and such a fun idea! It's something that you should definitely try, we think you'll be pleasantly surprised! (Plus you'll get bonus points for being brave enough to eat a bug!)
For those unfamiliar with Wild Adventures' history, we encourage you to look into it. It opened originally as an animal park, and the rides followed. It was a family-owned park and, at one time, the fastest growing park in the country. For example, from 1998-2001, the park added seven rollercoasters. Most of these roller coasters are standard kid and family coasters, except for Cheetah.
Cheetah, a 90-ft wooden coaster, is the park's longest roller coaster and has an out and back design. While Cheetah is certainly a fun ride, it is definitely not the smoothest. It was pretty uncomfortable and VERY bumpy. If ever there was a roller coaster that deserved a revamp, whether it's re-tracking or an RMC makeover, Cheetah would be it.
In addition to the park's seven roller coasters, there are several other family-style rides and attractions scattered throughout the park. The highlight for us was the Jungle Safari. This train ride takes you through several animal exhibits, passes under the Cheetah roller coaster, and ends with a feature of the park's "celebrity" elephant, Shirley, who starred in the remake of the movie "The Jungle Book" in 1994.
Splash Island Waterpark
Wild Adventures' water park, Splash Island, is a colorful and fun family-style water park. The park offers a great selection of tube slides and body slides, a wave pool, a ProSlide Tornado, and a lazy river.
Splash Island's newest addition is Ohana Bay, a Hawaiian-themed family area featuring seven slides! Most of the slides in this area are designed for younger children with the exception of Uli Uli Twisters.
What makes Wild Adventures so unique, is that in addition to having great rides, food, and entertainment like any other theme park, they also offer zoo enclosures and animal shows.
The animal exhibits are featured throughout the park which gives guests the ability to see hundreds of different species throughout their visit.
The park features an award-winning tiger show: Tigers of India. The show highlights the agility of these large cats and will leave you entirely amazed.
They also feature an up-close and immersive alligator show which completely blew our minds. Not only were we terrified (in a good way), we were thoroughly entertained. "Gators!" left us peeking through our fingers in order to catch what was probably one of the best shows we've seen in a theme park.
Wild Adventures exceeded our expectations in every single way. We want to thank the Directors of PR and F&B for taking the time to talk with us about the park and what makes it so special. It was obvious after sitting down with them that they are truly passionate about Wild Adventures and all that the park has to offer and plans to offer in the future. We were told that
2019 looks like it'll be a year for the kids, but to expect a larger additions for 2020!
We've seen Herschend Family Entertainment invest a lot of money into Dollywood and Silver Dollar City recently and we can't wait to see what they have in store for this park!
Let your imagination run wild!
See you soon, Wild Adventures!
Summer has finally arrived and theme park season is back in full swing! This weekend was the opening of SeaWorld San Antonio's new summer celebration: Electric Ocean. We decided to check it out, along with the new Sesame Street Party Parade and nighttime shows. While visiting the park we also saw some exciting newly renovated areas as well as some developing construction. We got some photos and we can continue to update everyone as developments are made, but for now, it's fun to guess what the park may have in store!
Electric Ocean is SeaWorld's new summer nighttime experience.
They've set up an area of the park (from just before WaveBreaker to just after Great White) with EDM DJ's, bars, snack stands, and even dance clubs. It's an interesting concept. It's very visually appealing, and it's a fun idea, but maybe because we were there on a Sunday night..it just seemed to be missing the people! The dance floors were pretty empty, with the exception of some of the costumed employees and a few children.
Hopefully it'll get a little bit more popular on Friday and Saturday nights going forward.
The Deep Sea Silent Disco was a dance floor set up across from Wave Breaker. There is no DJ here, you actually rent headphones from the glow shop set up behind it and you listen to your own choice of music. Hence the "silent" disco.
Headphone rental pricing (seems a little much to us).
Cool giant Lite Brite board set up next to Silent Disco
The Chill Out Bar is very easy to miss. We actually walked right by it and had to back track and study the map to find it. The whole idea is a club that stays cold..so we get that the door needs to stay closed. But, they could definitely do with a larger "open" sign! Maybe a sign on the actual door as well?
They had some cool drinks, above is the full menu. (Shock Wave pictured)
We also tried the nitrogen boozy ice cream. It tasted awesome! And it's a fun process to watch. I will say, though, it took them a good 20 minutes to make it. I do think they were just trying to figure out the machine and I don't anticipate it continuing to be such a long process for the rest of the summer, but I would still plan accordingly if you're trying to hit up a show after grabbing your ice cream!
Other fun "Electric Ocean" snacks.
Sesame Street Party Parade
Also new for 2018 is SeaWorld's Sesame Street Party Parade. The park has added new designated parade seating and viewing areas as well as painted parade markers on the grounds throughout the route. It was a cute parade and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The entire parade route was packed with people.
New parade viewing area (a few hours before the parade start)
The floats stop and park and the characters come down and play with the children.
They have bouncing balls, jump ropes, and they dance with them.
SeaWorld also brought back the summer favorites from last year: Sea Lions Tonite, Shamu's Light Up the Night, and Hydro Power Extreme FX
Sea Lions Tonite
Hydro Power Extreme
You can scroll through photos we took of the construction happening in the park as well as some of the newly renovated areas. The park is doing a great job of making improvements. Any thoughts on what they may be doing in these developing areas? Possibly Halloween event related? New Ride? The possibilities are endless!
And there you have it! It's going to be an exciting summer filled with many trips to multiple theme parks, but we are very fortunate to have a couple of really great parks right here in our hometown! Anyone have any plans to visit SeaWorld San Antonio this summer? We'd love to hear from you!
Parker and Brittany Ruhmel- Lovers of all things food and theme park related!