MALAYSIA - With our butts stuck in a figure-of-eight rubber float, my son and I slowly swirled around a giant "sink".
Suddenly, a drain hole appeared in front of us, and we dropped, yelling our heads off, into a dark, twisting pipe - only to emerge with a splash into sunshine.
No, honey, I did not shrink with the kid. Instead, we were on the Splash 'N' Swirl, a ride at the Legoland Water Park, Malaysia, which opens today officially.
On Saturday, at a preview for the media, the Supportive Spouse and our two kids tried out the rides at the theme park, located next to its older, drier sibling - Legoland Malaysia - which opened last year.
The two attractions form a triangle with Legoland Hotel. The hotel, which is slated to open early next year, looks like a castle made of giant Lego bricks.
The water park contains more than 3 million litres of water and has some 20 water-based rides, almost all of them suitable for children.
My seven-year-old and I made a beeline for the Red Rush, a family tube slide: you sit in a round dinghy for up to six and hurtle down a long, curving half-pipe.
Short and gentle, the Red Rush eased us into the more high-octane rides, such as the 73m-long Wave Rider (an open, body slide) and Tidal Tube (a closed, body slide that produces some G-force, like a roller coaster), side by side.
Compared to Adventure Cove Water Park at Resorts World Sentosa - where the Manic Family spent the Hari Raya Haji public holiday last week - which has a marine-life difference, my sense was that Legoland Water Park's rides are more suitable for younger children.
Toddlers could hang out at the Duplo Splash Safari, with very gentle slides and over-sized Lego animals; or roam the Joker Soaker, a play structure with water cannons, a giant bucket pouring water on the wade pool below, and - yes - more water slides.
My elder son was able to go on quite a few of the rides at the latter park, being over its 107cm-height requirement (more exciting rides at Adventure Cove came with a 122cm minimum).
He also seemed less daunted by the Legoland water slides, possibly because many were open and unobstructed by shrubbery, so you could observe braver souls going down first and decide for yourself that it's not that bad.
The downside of the openness of the park's layout - a feature of its older sibling, too - is that shade is not that easy to find.
Therefore, I would highly recommend splashing out on a private cabana. It costs RM150 (S$59) for the whole day, with complimentary towels, soft drinks and bottled water.
Ensconced in your blue tent, you need not queue for refreshments at the in-park eateries, but can simply order food and cocktails from the friendly cabana hosts milling around. Each cabana also comes with a safe, so you don't need to shell out extra for a locker or tote your valuables all over the park.
As my younger son, three, became ill suddenly in the park, we installed him on a lounge chair in the cabana and he was perfectly comfortable there.
The little boy did not get to try out anything fun, but was contented to be wheeled in his pram to the gift shop, where he was kitted out in Lego Wear cap and clothes (in designs I have yet to see here), and bought RM6 Lego Star Wars mini-figure magnets.
As with all water activities, however, visiting a water park is a gamble with the weather. At about 4.30pm, the grey clouds overhead burst open, and the lightning alert was sounded. It lasted until the park closed at 6pm, but we were happy just to take cover in our cabana and relax until it was time to go home.
At RM105 (S$41) for an adult day pass (RM85 - S$33 - for children three to 11 years and seniors above 60, and RM10 for toddlers up to two), Legoland Water Park is pricier - and farther - than Adventure Cove ($29 for adult, $21 for child).
However, as a Lego-mad family, we are waiting for the hotel to open so that we can make a two-day trip to both Legoland and Water Park again.
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