I’ve taken my kids to Aquaboggan many times, enough to know the best strategies for making the most of the trip. Here is a general overview of the place, what it offers, and my helpful hints that will make the experience as enjoyable as possible.
Aquaboggan is located in Saco, Maine. They have have been around a long time—more than 40 years. If you’re from Maine, chances are you’ll be bringing the family to a place you’ve been before. But don’t let that stop you; it’s not like Aquaboggan will be a complete chore—there’s plenty of fun in it for parents and grandparents too. I know I’ve enjoyed my time there with the kids!
There are enough attractions at Aquaboggan to keep kids entertained all day long, long enough until the afternoon when their seemingly endless energy begins to subside, they get too much sun, and it’s time to head home and call it a day.
During the kids’ younger years I had to follow them from attraction to attraction. Those were great days because they actually wanted me to go down slides with them. Later, in their early teenage years, they roamed the grounds freely without caring what I was doing. These were great days as well as I could sit in one of the many lounge chairs provided and read a book.
Analogous to the Lazy River at Busch Gardens, this is a tubing run (tubes provided at the top) that carries you down an artificial river with all kinds of oxbows and eddies, and a surprise at the end—a fast part just before the landing pool. Totally Tubular, for the most part, is slow and easy.
This is your traditional straight-line, hard angle, super speed waterslide with twin parallel tracks. Race your child, spouse or friend; preferably find someone with similar body weight to yours. Otherwise you’ll win too easy and you’ll have to wait in line again for the rematch. No matter what, the Turbo Drop is a nice speed trip. Just be careful not to lose your sunglasses or bikini top as you crash into the pool at the end!
A trio of twisting, turning slides, the Pipeline is your traditional water-park fare. You’ll be up on the sides at the hard turns, whooshing forward on the straightaways, and looking back once you stand up in the landing pool, thinking about climbing the stairs for another go. Why not?
I’ve done this ride a few times when the kids wanted to but wouldn’t dare without me. Now I just sit back and watch them. I’m all set with having my stomach lurch up into my throat on the descent.
But for you, how could you go wrong with a 45-foot waterslide half-pipe? Gravity does the work, which is good because if you tried a backside air off the lip of the Stealth 5—let’s just say, keep it safe when you’re that high up.
This ride is the pinnacle ride at the park.
Bumpin’ Boats, Aquasaucer, and Toddler Splash n’ Play
These are the kids’ rides, all three great opportunities for you to keep them busy while you catch your breath and plan that night’s dinner or what you’re gonna do for the rest of your vacation. But just for the sake of fair coverage, the Bumpin’ Boats are the aquatic version of good old bumper cars, Aquasaucer is like a giant upside-down bowl with a wet slippery surface, and Toddler Splash n’ Play consists of a number of small slides, ladders and so on that are geared for those under four feet tall.
Speaking of height, you have to be 54 inches tall (four foot six) to drive the go-carts on Aquaboggan’s Grand Prix track. Leave your family members in the dust as you hug the turns and open up the throttle on the straightaways. Last one to the finish line’s a rotten egg!
Giant Wave Pool
Three quarters of a million gallons. That’s right, 750,000. Need we say more? Just in case we do, it’s like a trip to the beach without all the sand in your trunks. Float on your back, bodysurf, the world is your oyster. You’ll want to spend all day here. It’s best with a floating tube.
As you let the fresh Maine air dry your hair, wrap up the day with 18 holes of challenging yet relaxing custom-designed miniature golf.
These are the helpful hints I’ve learned over the years of visiting the park.
Lines form early at Aquaboggan. To make the most of your day, get there early. The sun is not as punishing in the morning and the day is just starting to heat up. The morning will give your kids plenty of time to enjoy the park before mid-day sun begins to blast them and drain their energy.
Odds are very high you’ll be visiting Aquaboggan on a hot, sunny day. Shade will be at a premium. There is a large canopy tent with many picnic tables under it that people can use, but the space is claimed with towels and coolers early (again, arrive early).
There are a few trees along the fence of a grassy area with a few picnic tables but those too can be claimed early. While less crowded than under the tent, the shade from the trees may look good when you first arrive, but that shade diminishes as the mid-day sun rises overhead. If this is the space you want, claim a picnic table closest to the trees for full-day shade.
Aquaboggan also now rents out up to 4 different cabanas. These provide a reserved space for you and your family, under the shade, 2 lockers, water, ice, 2 chairs and a table. They come at a premium, however.
I have only ever been to Aquaboggan on Mondays. Why? It’s the quietest day and it’s the only day of the week when ticket prices are slashed. This is your first tip to save money on the trip – go on Monday.
Lockers are available for rent, but they are small, not big enough to hold more than a pair of shoes, a purse, cellphone, car keys, etc. If you are traveling with another family or can leave someone behind to watch your stuff as you enjoy the slides, you can just leave your valuables with the person taking a turn with the belongings.
Aquaboggan sells food and drink, but you can also bring your own coolers into the park. The fast food-style service includes the standard fare: burgers, fries, onion rings, pizza, ice cream, soda, etc. The food is decent, but if you want to save money, bring your own. If that isn’t realistic or practical, at least bring your own drinks to save money.
Aquaboggan vs Funtown Splashtown USA
The online consensus seems to favor Funtown Splashtown USA, with most reviewers citing the larger number of rides. But from personal experience, and limiting our comparison to strictly waterslides—and not Funtown’s other amusements—we’re going with Aquaboggan as the better of the two Saco parks.
It’s just more fun, more down to earth without sacrificing excitement, more Maine somehow. And we’re not getting paid to say that. Don’t take our word for it, either—can you think of a better way to spend two days than making your own comparison? And please let us know all about it in our comment section.
Where to Stay
- Rodeway Inn—Prices and availability will vary depending on the time of year. But tourist season or not, the folks at this national franchise with the feel of a classic Maine hotel are always nice.
- Exit 5 Motel and Cottages—This is an “indie” spot that’s also a popular seasonal residence for Southern Maine locals. Proximity, price, and people, Exit 5 has it all.
- Seabreeze Motel—If you like a balance between luxury and price, this is your go-to lodging, just a skip and a jump away in Old Orchard Beach.
- The Grand Hotel—Doin’ it up in Kennebunk? Get ready to drop a penny, but a stay at the Grand puts you right in the center of what we call “boutique” southern Maine.
We’ve made some great memories in our trips at Aquaboggan. Given my kids’ ages, I’m not sure if we’ll have another trip in us or not. Maybe… or maybe I’ll have to wait until I have grandkids. I bet Aquaboggan will still be there then!