Key Lime Cove water park worthy of its awards

| December 2, 2015 | Comments (0)

Key Lime Cover water slides-2When we walked into Key Lime Cove’s water park, we saw lots of families hanging out, playing in the water and waiting for a water slide. What we didn’t smell was that overwhelming chemical smell so common with indoor pools. I didn’t think about this until we took a behind the scenes tour with Chief Engineer Bob Williams.

Early Saturday morning we met Bob outside the water park doors. It seemed like we were the only people awake as the halls and restaurants were eerily quiet. What we learned was well-worth the early hour and changed the way I look at water parks. Bob took us to the basement where we found the mechanical room, which could have easily been renamed the computer room. There were so many computerized elements that we spent some time talking about what each did and how he managed all the systems. We stared at the huge tanks used to clean the water as Bob explained that the tanks were the initial point in a carefully crafted cleansing process.

First, the water goes through massive tanks at a rate of 5,000 gallons per minute. In the tanks the water backwashes through course sand to remove floating debris. The extremely rough, course sand comes upper Wisconsin and Michigan. Just as erosion causes smooth edges on rocks, sand and driftwood, the constant running water eventually creates smooth sand, which means it’s time to change the sand. This happens about once every decade.

From the sand tanks, the water runs through ozone-filled tubes. Bob explained that Key Lime Cove uses ozone because it immediately kills 99.9% of different viruses, such as the flu, and germs, such as MRSA. More commonly used chemicals can take days to kill these same viruses and germs. Ozone is more expensive, but it doesn’t have any chemicals. I hadn’t heard of ozone as a water cleaning tool, so I turned to Wikipedia for additional information. According to the Water Purification entry, here are some interesting facts about ozone:

Ozone is an unstable molecule which readily gives up one atom of oxygen providing a powerful oxidizing agent which is toxic to most waterborne organisms. It is a very strong, broad spectrum disinfectant that is widely used in Europe. Ozone is made by passing oxygen through ultraviolet light or a “cold” electrical discharge. To use ozone as a disinfectant, it must be created on-site and added to the water by bubble contact. Some of the advantages of ozone include the production of fewer dangerous by-products and the absence of taste and odour problems (in comparison to chlorination) . Another advantage of ozone is that it leaves no residual disinfectant in the water. Ozone has been used in drinking water plants since 1906 where the first industrial ozonation plant was built in Nice, France. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted ozone as being safe; and it is applied as an anti-microbiological agent for the treatment, storage, and processing of foods.

One thing Bob noted was that chlorine was still added to the water. The State of Illinois does require some chlorine, so their water isn’t completely chlorine free. Using ozone, though, greatly reduces your chemical exposure in the water. It’s also the reason the water park lacks the chemical smell we’re so used to with pools.

Bob gave us a lot of trivia, such as his team hand samples the water every two hours, even though the State of Illinois only requires two samplings per day. The thing that caught everyone’s attention was that the water had the same Ph as a tear drop – 7.4. Ph is a commonly used term to describe how much acid or alkaline is in a liquid. In simpler terms, a lemon tastes sour because it has a low Ph (2.2) according to Wikipedia. What this Ph level means is the water probably won’t burn your eyes or skin. You can spend more time having fun in the water without the nasty after-effects.

As you’d imagine, not all the cleaning can take place in the water tanks. The entire water park closes five days a year for park maintenance. Everything from crating new adventures to maintaining existing attractions happens during those days, as well as the maintenance required to keep the “behind-the-scenes” equipment in top shape.

All of this comes together to create a clean, safe water park which TripAdvisor named as a 2014 Top 25 Hotels for Families and the 2012 Best Waterpark Resort by Aquatics International. With Winter Break looming large on family calendars, now is the time to make plans to visit Key Lime Cove. It’s close enough to make it an easy get-away, but far enough to feel like you’re out of town. Your kids will have fun and you’ll feel good about the water park experience knowing how much is done to keep the water park clean.

While we took our behind the scenes tour as part of our media familiarization weekend, all guests are invited to take the same tour. You can sign up at the front desk when you check into the resort. When you’re done you’ll have a new respect for the people working behind the scenes and the processes used to keep the water clean and healthy.

 

Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of Key Lime Cove.

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Category: Shari's Corner

About Shari: Shari is a mom, wife, marketing communications professional, gardener, Chicago Blackhawks fan, college sports fan, traveler, quilter, community volunteer, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, Siberian Husky owner, Girl Scout troop leader and book lover. You can find Shari blogging about life with twins at Two Times the Fun and tweeting @slcs48n1. View author profile.

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