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Wet Water Fun for Thrill Seekers and Gentle Adventurers

Christine Randall - July 2, 2012





Our recent heat wave during the month of June was a reminder that summer is officially here, both according to the calendar and according to the weather. Successive days of 90 degree heat plus humidity had many people looking for fun places to cool off with their friends and families – the ocean and the lakes (still a little “refreshing” this time of year), swimming pools, and water parks.

Water parks have become very popular, as they are great places for a family to spend a refreshing day enjoying a variety of activities and amusements geared towards people of all ages and temperaments, from adventurous thrill-seekers to those who enjoy a more gentle experience. One water park in New Hampshire, which has been able to successfully appeal to these different temperaments, ability levels and ages for almost thirty years, is the Whale’s Tale Water Park in Lincoln.

Situated on 17 acres in the beautiful White Mountains, the Whale’s Tale features 11 different slides, a huge wave pool, a ¼ mile “lazy river,” a children’s activity area with very shallow water, a large heated pool shaped like a whale with three large hot tubs, and a variety of eating options, including a “beach” bar.

If you are curious about why Whale’s Tale is not named “Whale’s Tail,” General Manager Jeb Boyd can tell you. “This is because “tale” is another word for “story” and many of the rides here are named after stories about whales and the ocean,” he explains. “Whale’s Tale is essentially a story of the ocean.”

These ocean-themed rides and attractions include “Castaway Cove,” “The Eye of the Storm,” “Jonah’s Escape,” “Whale Harbor,” “Harpoon Express,” “Beluga Boggin,” “Willie’s Wild Waves,” and “Shipwreck Island,” as well as “The Plunge,” “Downpour,” and “Banzai Pipeline.” Some of the slides use single-person tubes, while others utilize 1 – 3 person rafts, and still other slides require no tube or raft at all – just you and gravity! All rafts and tubes are provided free of charge to guests.

“Shipwreck Island”, which opened in 2010, is the newest attraction at Whale’s Tale. It is a state-of-the-art water complex geared towards the enjoyment of the whole family, with multiple short, gentle slides and cascading water. Other attractions geared towards families with young children include “Beluga Boggin”, which is a gentle figure-eight tube ride, and “Jonah’s Escape”, a ¼ mile long lazy river, which floats you around the water park past waterfalls and underneath a covered bridge. “Whale Harbor” is a special activity pool for young children, which is no deeper than 16 inches, and it features waterslides, fountains, and a water seesaw.

As its name implies, thrill-seekers will enjoy experiencing the “Banzai Pipeline”, a raft ride which starts out in an enclosed, curving tube and sends the rider out onto a waterslide and then into a pool. Then there’s the “Eye of the Storm,” a raft-less ride in which riders slide down an enclosed tube until they enter a round slide at speeds of up to 35 mph, before being plunged through a hole, dropping 4 feet down into a pool below.

“Harpoon Express” is a 400-foot long ride designed in the style of a bobsled run for 1-3 riders. “The Plunge” and “Downpour” are probably the two fastest rides in the water park, both starting 50 feet up from the ground. “The Plunge” features two high speed slides situated side-by-side in a straight course where you can reach speeds of up to 40 mph, while “Downpour” has two 430-foot long winding slides. Both of these rides have recently undergone some major maintenance and renovation work, but they should be ready and back open to the public shortly.

For a more relaxing experience, Whale’s Tale has a couple of large pools to swim or float around in. ‘Willie’s Wild Waves” is a huge pool with large waves on one end and gentler waves on the other, and according to the Whale’s Tale website, this is also the only wave pool in the White Mountains. The whale-shaped “Castaway Cove” is an 85-foot heated pool surrounding by three large hot tubs, with table service available from the Oasis Beach Bar and Grill.

In addition to the Oasis Beach Bar and Grill, other food and beverage options at the Whale’s Tale, in keeping with the ocean-themed names, include the Harborside Café, with burgers, chicken fingers, fries, salads, sandwiches, and beverages; and Porthole Pizza, offering pizza, subs, fried dough, ice cream, and draft beer. You can also bring your own picnic lunch or beverages in a cooler, but outside alcohol and glass containers are not allowed to be brought into the park.

Whale’s Tale is open from 10am until 6pm daily during the peak season from June 29–August 26, weather permitting; and from 11am until 5pm from August 27–September 3. Regular general admission during peak season is $34 ($24 if you arrive after 3pm); $3 for toddlers; and infants and those over the age of 70 are admitted for free. The price of admission includes unlimited access to all rides (some have weight and size restrictions) plus free tube rentals. Season passes are also available.

Whale’s Tale Water Park is located on Route 3 in Lincoln. From the south, take Exit 33 off I-93 and head north on Route 3 for about ½ mile. Whale’s Tale will be located on the left. For more information, call 745-8810 or log on to www.whalestalewaterpark.net

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