The Pump House

For those of you not in the know, The Pump House is an indoor water park located at the top of a mountain in the middle of a ski resort.  And it is awesome.  Vermont has a lot of things, ski resorts and mountains being most of them, but one thing Vermont does not generally have is water parks, so naturally we had to go check this place out.

Since I spent most of actual Mother’s Day on a bus coming home from New York City, I decided to give Simone a second Mother’s Day a week later, and so this past Sunday, after she got her breakfast in bed, we loaded into the car and headed for Jay Peak, a place so far north that AT&T texted me that I was being charged international rates for traveling to Canada.  True story.

The drive took us 90 minutes from Burlington, which is sadly the least amount of time one can ever drive to get somewhere awesome from Burlington.  I mean, Burlington is awesome too, but not in a water parky sort of way.  After you leave the highway you spend about half an hour driving through sleepy little towns and charming New England hamlets (yeah, those are the same thing), until suddenly, and without warning, you are on your first ride.

The first ride was called “driving up the mountain” and it was terrifying.  The ride starts off fine, but suddenly you get the feeling that your car is not going to make it to the top, so you find yourself in 2nd gear, struggling to maintain 25-30 mph up what feels like a 45 degree angle.  And just when you think you can’t go up anymore, the bottom drops out and you are braking as hard as you can while zipping around rocky, dirty, maniacal s-curves at 70 mph or more.  You do survive though, and eventually you arrive at a gigantic complex nestled way up among the highest peaks, ready for aquatic adventure.

Families, the first thing you should know is that your kids are free until they turn 4, and there is plenty for your under-4s to do, so take advantage!  Also very important, if you buy tickets online in advance, you save $5/ticket.  Do this.  For the four of us we spent $80 on tickets, which is about how much ONE ticket costs to a lot of other amusements parks, so it’s really a great deal.

We started our day on the lazy river, which is actually not that lazy.  Everyone loved it, and by the seventeenth time we rode it, Ruby had abandoned her tube and was practicing her swimming, while Edward loved splashing and riding in the tube with Mommy or Daddy.  We then moved on to the kids’ area, which was pretty awesome as well.  The area has a structure with water squirters, a giant dumping bucket, and two water slides for kids, and if your kid is too little for that, there is also a tiny little water slide that stands alone for the toddlers.  It’s the size of something you might have in your backyard, and Edward went down it constantly.

Ruby definitely got the best deal of the day, because she was tall enough to ride all but one of the big water slides, so Simone and I would take turns sitting with Edward while the other one went on big slides with Ruby.  You can do the math, but this means Ruby went down twice as many slides as anyone else, and she loved it.  The green and blue slides are tube slides, but Ruby’s favorite was the orange slide, which you go down solo, no tube, no parent.  Obviously we were terrified for her, but she was fine and went down several times.

The biggest, scariest slide is the red slide, also called “La Chute.”  If you have ever seen Wipeout then you are familiar with “La Chute.”  You climb five or six stories of stairs and then step into a small capsule, and as you hear the computer counting you down, your terror rises until the floor just drops out from under you and you shoot downward at 60 ft/second, then back UP, do a loop and come back down, shaking and checking to make sure all of your parts are still there.  I did it.  Once.  That was enough for me.  Simone did it twice.  It was certainly exhilarating.

There is also a pretty big hot tub that we all enjoyed, and a big swimming pool with basketball nets and a climbing wall, although Ruby tried the wall and it was clearly made for people eight feet tall.  The only thing we didn’t do was the surfing, which did look pretty cool, but probably not for 2 and 5 year olds.

The biggest criticism I have heard from people about The Pump House is that it is crowded.  I would like to address that here and let you all know that it is not crowded.  It is “Vermont crowded.”  It is the same as when people in Vermont say that there is bad traffic.  What they mean is that they saw another car on the road.  And when they say “bumper-to-bumper traffic,” what they mean is that there are many cars on the road, and they may have had to slow down to slightly under the speed limit.  But they have clearly never seen actual traffic.  In the same way, anyone who has ever been to an amusement park or a water park will be expecting huge crowds and long lines.  When I rode “La Chute” I was horrified to learn that there was no one else up there.  I was winded from climbing all those stairs and was hoping for a few minutes to catch my breath.  No dice.  I got right into the human-sized canister and was immediately rocketed to my doom.  The longest I ever waited for a slide was probably eight minutes, but most of the time there were only 1-3 people ahead of us in the line.  Vermont crowded.  Meaning more crowded than the slip-n-slide in your backyard.

We were there for 4-5 hours and came home exhausted but happy.  The whole place is made of glass and they opened the roof for us because it was a hot day, but that place must look awesome in the winter, surrounded by snow and with a full view of the ski slopes.  We are definitely going back at some point (I know this because Ruby asks me every day when we are going back), and you honestly are not going to find a better deal or more fun anywhere else in the state.  Check it out.

Posted in Edward, Family, Parenting, Pump House, Ruby, Vermont.


  1. I have to say that the girls and I had a great time there too. They even tried the surfing, which was pretty funny to watch them go flying when they fell. It was definitely worth the trip from Plattsburgh too!

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