With all of summer’s activities, it can sometimes be quite difficult to find the time and money for a vacation. Before you know it, summer will be over, kids will be back to school, and you will find yourself wishing for a few more days to spend as a family. Don’t fret. It is not too late to sneak in a few more days of fun with your loved ones before fall. I was thrilled to receive a discount on our stay at Clay’s Park Resort to facilitate this post.
Make Memories at Clay’s Park Resort
Located in North Lawrence, Ohio, Clay’s Park Resort was the vision of Otis D. Clay as a place where families could come to have fun together, and it was exactly that vision when it opened on Memorial Day in 1948. Sixty-five years later, that vision lives strong as families from all over come each summer to make lifelong memories. Whether you come for the day or become a seasonal camper, whether you have no children, young children, teenagers, or grandchildren, or even if you just need some time away from the children, Clay’s Park Resort is the perfect place for making memories.
While chatting with Dennis Batdorff, Director of Park Operations, he explained to me that his wife recently asked him what he liked most about his job. His answer, “What I love most is that I get to see families spending time together.” As he spoke, the thought brought tears to my eyes. At that exact moment I looked around me to see laughter and smiles. I immediately knew exactly what he was talking about. In a day and age where many families are so disjointed, his words are particularly meaningful. The best part is that with Clay’s Park Resort in our own backyard, memories such as these are easy to make without traveling too far.
Clay’s Park Resort Review
Having grown up having fond memories of my family camping, it is important to me to share similar experiences with my own son. Like many families, money and time are both limited, so I knew I needed to find a place close to home that would still feel like a vacation without breaking the bank. Having been there once before, Clay’s Park Resort came to mind because of all the fun we could have at one location with one price. My husband, not as much into camping, was skeptical, but we enjoyed ourselves so much, we extended our stay an extra night.
Clay’s Park Resort Staff are Friendly & Knowledgeable
Upon our arrival at Clay’s Park Resort, we were greeted at the gate by a friendly and helpful employee who made us feel welcome and excited to begin our mini vacation. The staff that checked us in were equally friendly. We were very impressed with how knowledgeable the woman who showed us to our site. She was able to help us find the perfect tent site to suite our desire to be near both a playground and restroom facility that also had shade and water access. We were further impressed when a security officer stopped by to introduce himself and to see if we had everything we needed.
Clay’s Park Resort Adventure Water Park
After setting up our camp site as quickly as possible, we could not wait to head over to the Adventure Water Park, a man-made, 10 acre lake divided into four amazingly fun zones. There is a Kid Zone, a Chill Zone, a Thrill Zone, and an area designated for canoeing and kayaking. The sand bottom not only provided tons of fun for the kids, but it also made for a very pleasant and clean lake swimming experience. Anyone who has ever stepped into the bottom of a mucky lake, will appreciate what I am talking about. My favorite part about the lake is the island in the middle proudly showcasing the American flag. There is just something very Americana about the entire experience.
Safety is Priority at Clay’s Park Resort
One of the first things I noticed is that Clay’s Park Resort takes safety seriously. Life jackets are required in all but the Chill Zone. Guests are encouraged to bring their own well fitting life vests that are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. However, complimentary life vests are available first come first served. Friendly staff helped make certain all life vests were fitted to each guest correctly. This was comforting to me since my son does not yet swim on his own. I was also pleased with the numerous lifeguards and safety personnel. They appeared attentive at all times and did not hesitate to address situations.
I know some of you might be grumbling a little at the thought of wearing a life vest, so I find it worthy to mention that during my stay, I overheard three different people comment that they were thankful for their life vest as some of the activities were more rigorous than they had expected. I am glad that Clay’s Park understands the importance of our safety and enforces it.
Many places that boast being family friendly do not always appeal to families with children of varying ages, but Clay’s Park seems to get it. The Kid Zone area is intended for those under 80 lbs. This zone gives the younger children the ability to experiences the Thrill Zone on a smaller scale without worrying about getting knocked around by bigger kids. Included in this area is a mini barrel, an inflatable obstacle course, another inflatable for climbing, ring swings, and a rope ladder to cross. Life vests are mandatory in this area even for accompanying adults. Within this area is a smaller, shallow area with a small inflatable slide that is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.
Every hour, a safety break is implemented to help make sure all guests are accounted for and to help swimmers from getting over exhausted. It also provides lifeguards an important break to keep their eyes fresh. Personally I utilized this time as a reminder to reapply the sunscreen. While it can often be difficult for children to understand why they must stay out of the water for a break, Clay’s Park understands this too. They have added a very entertaining area in the sand with water pumps, troughs, hoses, and spouts to keep children entertained. My son enjoyed this section so much that he spent most of his time exploring, creating, and interacting with the sand and water.
I was also impressed with how well the staff at Clay’s Park Resort handled a missing child while we were there. A woman had approached me asking if I had seen her grandson who had been speaking with me earlier. It just so happened that a break was called. I quickly saw how useful the breaks were, as we were able to quickly assess that he did not return out of the water with the other children. Park staff were then notified. Within seconds an announcement was made over the loud speaker with the child’s description. Every guest in the park quickly began scanning, and a woman found him halfway around the lake in less than a minute of being announced. Please allow me to take this opportunity to stress keeping a close eye on your children especially around water as they can get in harms way in the blink of an eye. Please alert park staff immediately if you notice your child is missing so they can help you.
The Chill Zone offers an inflatable valley ball court, floating mats and hammocks for adult sunbathing, and a basketball hoop. Here life vests are not required. Adults are also welcome to bring their own floatation devices for sunbathing into this area.
For those that seek a bit of a challenge, the Thrill Zone is for you. It is the perfect place for teens to set aside all their electronic gadgets and get some exercise. Test your endurance on the Wibit Spinner as riders try to bounce each other off into the water. Conquer a giant inflatable iceberg. Take balancing to a whole new level on the spinning barrel. Challenge your arm strength on the ring swings. Race a friend on one of two 150 ft Wet Willie Slides then plunge into the waters below. If you are bold enough, whiz down one of the dual zip lines as I did. It is exhilarating! The hardest part is talking yourself into willingly walking off of a deck built high into the air knowing the only thing keeping you from dropping off into the water down below is your own slippery, wet hands. Due to the nature of the features in this zone, life vests are also required here, and the water is significantly deeper in certain areas.
Canoes and Kayaks
The fourth area of the lake offered a boat dock with both canoes and kayaks. We found this to be a nice change of pace when we had been swimming for a while. Although this amenity is included in your admission cost, be prepared to offer something as collateral in exchange for your oars. I offered my sunglasses, and I saw others offer things like beach balls and shoes. Don’t worry. You get them back as soon as you return your oars.
Beach Front Concession
A beach front concession stand offered many typically priced options from sandwiches, hot dogs, and wings, to candy, ice cream, and milkshakes. It is also good to know that they had bags of ice for sale. Although state law prohibits alcohol from being brought into the water park, the Beach House Tiki Bar at the opposite end of the building as the concessions offered a wide array of alcoholic beverages.
Skate and Bike Park
An 8,000 sq-ft skate and bike park is included with admission. Helmets are required, and a Skate Park Code of Conduct and the Release and Hold Harmless Agreement must be signed by an adult.
Spend the Day at Clay’s Park Resort
The grounds surrounding the lake offer four white sand volleyball courts, a stage for live music entertainment on the weekends, shaded picnic areas with charcoal grills, Adirondack chairs, a kid’s craft barn near a sanded playground, and bathroom/shower facilities. Both golf cart rentals and bike rental were also available. As an added attraction, guests may participate in the SPLAT Paintball Fields and Pro Shop for an additional fee with a signed waiver. Gear may be rented or purchased. With all the great amenities, one could easily spend an entire day.
18-Hole Miniature Golf Course
Also included in the price is a beautifully landscaped, 18-hole miniature golf course. Rocks, bumps, wood, and sand traps provide natural looking obstacles. Again we enjoyed a change of pace and spending time together. My grandpa was even able to participate in his motorized scooter. In was priceless having four generations of family playing a game of miniature golf together.
Know Before You Go
Be sure to check the weather before heading out to Clay’s Park Resort. Since weather is not in their control, Clay’s Park Resort does not offer refunds due to inclement weather. They adhere to a strict policy of remaining open until lighting is seen at which point the lake will remain closed until one half hour after the last thunder is heard. This happened on our last day there. The speaker system they used was loud enough to notify everyone as well as call canoes and kayaks off the lake. As the storm approached, everyone was asked to seek shelter away from the trees. Again, I was impressed by the parks ability to notify its guests in an organized and timely fashion.
Visit Clay’s Park Resort
Clay’s Park Water Park
13190 Patterson St NW
North Lawrence, Ohio 44666
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Win Clay’s Park Resort Adventure Water Park Tickets
You have the chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to the Adventure Water Park at Clay’s Park Resort. Tickets are good for a one day admission to the Water Park for the 2013 season.
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Contest ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 14, 2013 when a winner will be drawn at random. I will notify the winners and they will have 36 hours to respond or another winner will be selected!
This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to Clay’s Park Resort who provided the stay for review and tickets for giveaway.