You have to reserve your spot ahead of time but it was booked for awhile (this was in May) on the weekends and wasn't yet open during the week. We found an open spot on a Sunday and reserved our passes for that day. I understand that they have a reservation system so that there are only an allotted number of discount paying customers per day, but the reservation system was tedious.
You cannot bring outside food into CocoKey, although they do not check your bags, so we ate ahead of time. There are food stands inside but it's the usual fare of chicken fingers, hot dogs, and hamburgers and we don't eat any of that stuff anymore. They have tiny lockers for $5 which open with a sensor on a wristband. Since we had clothes, wallets, and car keys to store we had to get a locker, but $5 is pricey. We figured we'd be there for awhile, and they kind of had us over a barrel, so we got the locker.
The locker rooms were clean and fresh smelling with showers, toilets and a changing area. If you want to change in a private space you need to go into a shower or toilet stall.
CocoKey is set up into little areas: a "sports" pool with basketball hoops and a floating bridge to cross, a lazy river, an adult only indoor/outdoor whirlpool area, an area with big "fancy" body and tube slides, an area with medium sized slides, a splash deck and a kiddies area that had a pool and a few small slides.
We went to the kiddie area first and I walked Cad up to the slide. There were not signs about height restrictions or how old he needed to be to go alone so I went down first. A lifeguard came right over to me at the bottom of the slide and said it was for kids only, and I asked him how I was supposed to know that. He made a big deal with his whistle and shouting...it was a little embarrassing to be shouted at by a pimply teenage lifeguard. We ditched that scene pretty quickly.
After we got past the kiddie area I started to notice that the majority of the customers I saw walking around were kids. Packs of 4 or 5 kids ranging in ages from 4 to 14 were running top speed all over the place. Where were the parents? Then I saw the bar which sits up a little higher than the floor with parents drinking and "watching" their kids from a porch. Now, do I think that kids should get a little freedom and the parents should get a breather? YES I do not think that every type of kid should be allowed to be on their own in a water park while their parents imbibe alcohol. We saw and experienced lots of cutting in line, pushing, and general rudeness. It kind of put a damper on everything because Cad was really getting knocked around and bigger kids were doing things like stealing his inner tube and stepping right in front of him in line. I'm not one to let my kid get pushed around so I spoke to a bunch of these kids, but it was useless because they just looked at me and laughed. Definitely not the types of kids who are responsible enough to be in a place like this on their own.
Speaking of responsibility we saw a few things that made us really sad; a lot of kids, some way too old, just swimming in their underpants. Some were girls old enough to be into puberty, some were kids in their briefs. I think if you're going to a water park a cheap kid's bathing suit is a worth investment. Another thing we saw a lot of was very little kids ages 2-4 being led around by siblings just a few years older. These kids weren't wearing life vests or anything. It scared me and made me nervous one of these kids could drown or get hurt.
There were life vests all over the place, and we put Cad in one at the sports pool, but I was so nervous watching the parentless kids we decided to try the medium sized slides and lazy river.
Since there were 3 of us we decided that we'd go down the slides in a parent, kid, parent order. On the first slide we waited in line and I went down first. I got up and waited for Cad. I heard a bunch of whistling and yelling coming from the top of the slide and then saw Cad approaching the bottom of the slide with a big smile on his face. Then I saw another kid coming directly behind him.
Before I could do anything to intervene the second boy slammed feet first into Cad's back. Cad was thrown forward face first into the water. I quickly picked him up and realized to my horror that he couldn't breathe. Thankfully, he had just had the wind knocked out of him, but he was having trouble getting a breath in. And then he started screaming. The other kid, who was maybe about 7, said nothing and did nothing except jump off the slide and run away. He's lucky he did because my first reaction after picking up Cad was to grab him and break his arm.
There were a bunch of people around at the bottom of the slide, a few adults who looked on but didn't do much to help. My husband came flying down the stairs to see if Cad was okay. And then nothing happened... we stood there while Cad screamed and we looked at the two huge red foot prints on his back which were destined to become bruises. My husband said the lifeguard at the top tried to stop the second kid who just bolted by and jumped on the slide and then she tried to yell down and whistle to another lifeguard at ground level to alert them what happened. This all happened very fast. I looked up and saw the lifeguard from the top looking at us and motioning to the floor lifeguard to check on us, but he just looked at us and walked off int he other direction.
I thought maybe they are getting help or ice. Nope, nothing. Nobody cared. Cad calmed down and it was clear that he wasn't injured but was just scared and sore. We went to the lifeguards office to fill out an incident report and afterwards the lifeguard on duty in the office just told me to have a nice day. He didn't offer medical attention, ice, or anything else. I didn't think of it then, but a smarter mom might have asked for her money back or more. I found a little peace thinking that, judging from the marks on Cad's back, the boy who kicked him was probably going to have sore feet or ankles.
After a little while Cad got his confidence back and he decided to try the medium slides again. This time we guarded him intensely and still had to fend off kids who were cutting and pushing in line. By this time I was feeling downright mean and just not enjoying myself at all. After a trip around the little lazy river we decided to try the larger body and tube slides. We asked a lifeguard at the bottom of the slides how tall you had to be and she said Cad was fine so we climbed the stairs with Cad and two giant inner tubes. The line was long and when we finally reached the top the lifeguard at the top let us know that Cad was too small to ride any of the slides at the top of the stairs. I let out an audible "What the fuck?" and my husband let him know that the other lifeguard was misinforming people. So my hubby and I took turns riding the slides, but it was kind of a joyless thing because Cad was so miserable that he couldn't ride.
After that we kinda felt tired of dissatisfaction with everything and just wanted to leave. We got dressed and got our stuff together. We checked the time and realized that we had only been there for 2 and half hours! So much for using a full day pass. So for $69 we spent two hours stressed out, pushed, shoved, ignored, injured, and disappointed.
So here's my breakdown or CocoKey in Danvers:
- Good Location
- Nice Theme and Setting
- Clean Bathrooms and Locker Rooms
- Tickets are Expensive, Even with a Discount
- No Outside Food
- Lockers are Expensive Too
- No Signage for Height Restrictions
- No Follow Up on Proper Clothing Rules
- Too Many Kids with No Supervision
- Lifeguards Who Seem Pretty Useless
- No Attention to Customer Satisfaction and Complaints
- Little Attention to Safety
Would I go again? No, not unless it were free and Cad was tall enough for the bigger slides. Since there's no signs tell customer who tall you must be I will just assume that he will never be tall enough so we never have to go again. All in all a waste of money, and precious family time.