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What it's Really Like to Go to a Water Park With a 5-Year-Old

Big outings with my kids are always fun, but there are also a few things that are kind of sucky. Our recent trip to an indoor water park was a welcome relief from a challenging summer, but I found it to be both the best and also the worst.

First, a few notes. I'm not a huge swimmer—in fact, I cannot—and I also don't deal well with water in my face or even worse, my eyes. I have terrible eyesight and wouldn't be able to see anything if I took out my contacts for a swim, and going in the water is awful with glasses on, so I have to really avoid getting water sprinkled into my little eyes.

Also, the outdoors and I don't mesh well. The sun, heat and humidity of our Missouri summers often trigger massive migraines, and I've become sensitive to the sun, skin-wise, recently, which is all a bad, terrible combo. So me going outside to do something with our kids is pretty huge.

An indoor water park, then, is an amazing compromise for me and my kidlets. No sun, no sunscreen and definitely no sunburn. No weird peeling skin that will worry me for weeks like what happened after our last water park visit, and probably no migraines. And best of all, it's designed for kids and is tons of fun.

RELATED: 7 Terrible Ways to Put Sunscreen on Kids

So off we went, a mini-vacation to partake in a hotel stay with a water park attached. Here is what I discovered about taking small children to a water park:

1. Having one pool attendant on duty at a water park, even a small one, is pretty dumb—especially for that guy, because he had to do everything, and wasn't able to do any of it well.

2. If your kid can't swim, that means that you get to do everything with her, including going on baby slides and wading around in a foot of water. This is either good or bad.

3. Your feet might cramp up while wading around in such a pool.

4. If you feel awkward in a swimsuit, you're probably not the only one, and that knowledge is comforting.

Even if your own kids know to not splash you in the face, other kids do not, so it will happen.

5. You may have to tell other kids to stop doing stupid stuff, like climbing up a water slide backwards. You might wonder, "Are their parents mad at me? Are they even paying attention?" Nobody knows.

6. Even if your own kids know to not splash you in the face, other kids do not, so it will happen. And if you have tender baby eyes like I do, it will hurt.

7. Not everyone seems to be aware of the rules, because not everyone follows them. Going backwards in the lazy river? Clogging up the lazy river? Running? Jumping over things? Of course. Why follow rules when you can be a huge jerk?

RELATED: 5 Myths About Public Swimming Pools (Ew!)

8. You will tire way before your five-year-old child.

9. Despite expecting her to be wiped out after hours in the water park, your child might be so amped up from her experience that she will stay awake until after midnight, exclaiming, "I exercised too much! I'm not tired!" Because that's totally the way it works.

10. Despite the physical pain of your 41-year-old feet cramping up, you will never regret going, even as your five-year-old asks before you leave, "Can we go there again?"

Image via Getty Images

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