I’ve always been a bit of a daredevil, and haven’t met a theme park thrill ride that I didn’t love. So when I saw the Whirlpool Jet Boats on our itinerary for the TMS Family Travel Conference in Niagara Falls, NY, I was really looking forward to it. I’ve loved other thrilling experiences I’ve had on press trips – like zip lining, and riding in a race car, and wasn’t even the slightest bit nervous.
As we sat through our safety briefing, my main concern was with how wet we were going to get. Although we were all prepared with a spare set of clothes, it was pretty chilly outside, and I imagined that the water would be even chillier. Our guide Shaun explained that although we would be provided with a fleece, full body suit, poncho, and wet shoes, they were primarily to keep us warm – not dry.
I was still a little skeptical.
Outfitted in my layers (along with a size 8 pair of mismatched water shoes – a full three sizes larger than I usually wear), I sat in the third row. Although our guide mentioned that the first three rows are the most thrilling, I didn’t even think to ask to sit in the back.
I should have. See, although I love thrill rides, I’m not very experienced in the water. After a bad experience with swim lessons as a child, I was terrified of the water. Although I can and do swim almost every day in the summer, I rarely go headfirst into water.
We had hardly left the dock when we were already knee deep in water, but it was fun. Part of the magic of the TMS Family Travel Conference was the attendees, and we were all fast friends. We were all in this adventure together – soaking wet!
Then we did our first test run in the class 5 rapids of Devil’s Hole. The first wave of water hit, and I couldn’t breathe. When the second wave hit, I really couldn’t breathe. By the third wave, I was hyperventilating for the first time ever. After that run, I decided to move to the back of the boat, which was much easier to handle! I’d definitely recommend skipping the first few rows if you aren’t used to being underwater. But it was still a great time! Check out the video below to see our ride – you can even see how I’m not in the back until the end of the video.
And yes, we did get soaked – completely and totally!
I’d definitely ride the Whirlpool Jet Boats again if visiting Niagara Falls – although I’d sit in the back this time. Whirlpool Jet Boats offers three locations – two in the US and one in Canada. You can learn more on their website.
Disclosure: My trip on the Whirlpool Jet Boat was complimentary as part of the conference. All opinions are (obviously) my own.