Adventure Island’s version of the continuous looping river is delightful, with a few unique touches — a dousing waterfall that is marvelously refreshing on a steamy day, followed by a gentle misting rain provided by overhead sprinklers.
This is one of the nicest volleyball venues you’re likely to find at a water park. In fact, these 11 “groomed” courts have hosted professional tournaments. Most of the play, however, is by amateurs. Even if you’re not into competing, the layout makes it easy to watch.
Three translucent green tubes descend from this moderately high tower. The center one drops sharply to the splashdown pool, while the two other tubes curve right and left respectively for a corkscrew descent. This is a body slide (you ride lying down on your back) that offers the thrill of a speed slide in the middle tube and a rapidly accelerating descent through the others.
Key West Rapids
The tallest ride at Adventure Island attracts long lines due in part to slow loading times. Fortunately the wait is made easier to take by the spectacular view of next-door Busch Gardens. In the distance, past the loops and sworls of Montu, you can see the downtown Tampa skyline.
Here you pick up a single or two-rider tube at the bottom and climb up for a looping and swooping descent on a broad open-air flume. The ride is punctuated twice by rapids-like terraces where attendants (I call them the Rapids Rangers), regulate the flow of riders. Thanks to the two pauses, this ride never attains the speed of similar rides at the other parks, but it offers an enjoyable descent nonetheless.
This is a more elaborate version of Fabian’s Funport and draws an older crowd — kids from 8 to about 15. The multi-level play area (much like that found in Land of the Dragons at nearby Busch Gardens) is alive with spritzes, sprays, spouts, and hidden geysers that erupt to catch the unwary. A variety of ingenious hand-operated devices lets kids determine to some extent who gets doused and when. A huge bucket at the summit tips over every now and then, soaking everyone below. If your kids have done Aquatica and experienced Walkabout Waters, they’ll find this a letdown, but if not, they’ll think it’s terrific fun.
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