New Jersey has been my home for almost half of my life. As most homeys, I tend to take for granted local attractions. At the back of my mind, I don’t have to rush to visit local destinations because those places will not go anywhere. Can you relate?
Then, last month I got an invitation to check out Mountain Creek’s Water Park in Vernon. Yes, you read that right. There IS a water park in that famous winter place. How come I had no clue it existed before? Considering our family goes in that town every summer for that past 13 years.
My husband and I are quite familiar with the area. We had no issues reaching Vernon, NJ. However, during the last 3 miles, (if you are using the Google maps app), there were some issues. It sent us to a different resort which is about a mile away from Mountain Creek.
When we got there, I learned that we were not the only ones who had that experience. In fact, majority of people there had the same problem too. My tip, if you are on the last 2 miles, ignore the “voice” and stay on Rt. 94. The entrance of the resort is on that road. You will not miss it.
The Water Park
For starters, prepare to do a lot of walking when yougo to this park.
There are 21 attractions inside and each one is decently spaced to shun overcrowding. Get ready to trek approximately a quarter of a mile between each attraction. Take note, the location is on a mountain too. While the paths are clean and nicely paved, it is not flat. So expect a lot of uphill and downhill strolls.
The High Tide Wave Pool was a big hit with the kids. It’s like going to the shore without the fear of rip tides or the mess of sand.
The Thunder Run which is like a long river ride was both relaxing and exciting. The trek up is so worth it.
If you’re not much of a thrill seeker but love to unwind, Mountain Creek is a great place to do just that too. While the rest of our gang were busy with the rides, Child#1 and I enjoyed the majestic views of the mountains from our cabana. We also had a calming walk around the park.
Now, for the million dollar question… Is it Food Allergy Friendly?
Here’s the full disclosure. When I was invited to visit the park, I did not do any research if the place is allergy friendly. I want to be as unbiased as possible for our visit. That being said, I treated it as any normal day out for us.
Since we are already familiar with the place, I already know a place or two to go to just in case there’s no food for them inside the park.
Anyway, like most theme parks, Mountain Creek Water Park does not allow outside food. When they were checking our bags, I told the security that three of my kids have multiple food allergies that’s why I have a snack bag (loaded with 2 big bags of chips, 2 boxes of Enjoy Life Cookies, 2 boxes of Made Good bars and half a dozen of homemade muffins).
Yup, that’s a lot of food but I have growing kids remember?
With that much food, the bag checker called the attention of their head of security. He then asked me if I have a doctor’s letter. Since I was not prepared, I told him, I can call our allergist if he likes. Then I also showed him a bag filled with 3 sets of Epipens, 3 inhalers and a bottle of antihistamine.
I think he was a bit surprised to see the contents of our medicine bag. So he told me, it is okay to bring in the snack bag. It’s just snacks after all.
Around the park, there are very few choices. For a meal though, the Big Bear BBQ offered have some gluten free selections. While the menu don’t have any allergen info, the chef was very accommodating and helpful. Child#2 and #3 were able to eat the BBQ ribs.
While the ice cream shop offered dairy free ice cream, I chose to give the kids Italian Ice because non of the staff can tell me what type of non dairy milk was used to make the ice cream.
Since the kids were busy trying all the rides or walking around, we don’t pay much attention to the food. In fact, we went to our go to restaurant after we left.
To answer the question of being allergy friendly, I’d say they do try. They have provided some items that do not contain most allergens. The chef is knowledgeable and the staff are helpful. But, everything is not in black and white. My experience may not be the same for others.
That’s is why I took this opportunity to reach out to the management of Mountain Creek Water Park and voiced out my concerns. I told them how important it is for families like us to readily have access to food allergy information not inside the park itself but in their website as well.
As of writing, I received an acknowledgment email from them stating that they don’t have a clear answer regarding my inquiries. However, they are working on doing improvements to make better cater to families especially those who have food restrictions.
Our whole family had a great time at Mountain Creek Water Park. In fact, the kids can’t wait to go back. Not only is the place beautiful, the atmosphere is also very relaxing.
For a 6-7 hour day adventure, it is definitely a must-go. Just don’t expect to get amazing dining experience. You can reserve that before or later.