Arms folded across her chest, the young girl rides a spouting cascade of water through the pitch-black tube, squealing with each twist and turn afforded by the snaking confines. Just as it seems as though the darkness will never lift, sunlight pours onto her face as she is spit out into a crystal-blue pool below. This high-adrenaline ride is the reward for being brave enough to tackle the Midnight Run, one of Splash Zone’s numerous waterslides. Other rides include their newest attraction, the FlowRider, which combines surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding with a continuous wave formed by a thin sheet of water for a new sport available for all ages.
Nestled in the heart of Wildwood, the aquatic adventureland evokes whoops and squeals from visitors of all ages with more than 16 splash-laden activities. The gentle ebb of Rivy’s River carries inner-tubing guests along at a relaxed pace, and the interactive water playground in Giggle Bay ensures that the young adventurers remain hydrated thanks to a constantly tipping bucket filled with 1,000 gallons of water. As aquanauts explore the waters, Splash Zone’s crew of certified lifeguards and sunglass-clad Saint Bernards remain on hand to ensure safety, and an onsite first-aid station offers remedies for a variety of ailments. Along with watery pastimes, Splash Zone offers sunbathing areas to facilitate leisurely tanning, and the Zone Grill where chefs forge fire-licked eats for hungry guests.
Chesapeake Underwater Sports founder Mike Nieman has spent the majority of his life in or around water. As a child, many of his relatives worked Chesapeake Bay as watermen. In 1972, Mike began diving for the U.S. Air Force, and after his service, became a merchant seaman. During those years, and through all those experiences, Mike kept his eye on one dream: opening a dive shop of his own.
Mike did just that in 1987. Today, having been involved in the training of more than 2,000 divers, he continues to promote the sport–or, in his case, lifestyle–of diving through instruction. At his shop, Mike and his team of NAUI instructors provide education ranging from basic courses all the way up to instructor qualification programs. They also assist clients in planning exotic diving trips, and maintain an expansive stock of equipment and accessories.
Sport Fit's gold membership grants aspiring athletes and established exercisers 30 consecutive days of calisthenics, including unfettered access to fitness centers and motivational group-exercise classes. Sport Fit's Bowie location boasts basketball and tennis courts, as well as a variety of indoor pools for swimming laps, alleviating aches, and trying to find Nemo. Bowie's group-exercise schedule is brimming with brawn-boosting group classes, including Pump Fit, Zumba, and 2K Knockout Fitness. For restless gym-goers, the Laurel Fitness and Swim and the Laurel Racquet club offer two separate locations from which to lift weights, labor over lay-ups, or lounge in a whirlpool or sauna. Athletic endeavors abound at Sport Fit in Severna, where a long list of weekly workouts displays a wealth of ways to maximize musculature and tone tendons.
At Chesapeake Beach Water Park, guests swiftly wind down eight curling waterslides, skimming through fast-paced twists and gravity-defying turns before shooting out into the pool's calm, cerulean waters. A league of EMT-trained, certified lifeguards watch over the waters, ensuring visitors stay safe as they romp through the beach-like lagoon and the kids' activity pool. Glistening streams flow over picturesque rock faces, splashing onto guests as they float lazily beneath on complimentary rented tubes or pet sea monsters brought from home.
Those who've tired themselves out with daylong Marco Polo matches can sunbathe on lounge chairs on the expansive decks, or walk to the Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa to rejuvenate. Further connecting with the community, the park supports local organizations such as Relay for Life, the Red Cross blood drive, and Great Dane Rescue.
Like cookouts and sunscreen, the swimming pool is a summertime staple. At Pointer Ridge Swim & Racquet Club, three pools welcome visitors each summer to splash amid the facility's 5 wooded acres. Members can practice the breaststroke or show off their butterfly skills during lap swimming. And after dips, guests can lounge on the pool deck and nibble on treats from the snack bar rather than slurp down a pool noodle keeping a fellow swimmer afloat. Pointer Ridge also has four tennis courts for lessons and adult and junior programs.
Diving doyenne Una Stites leads a team of nine other PADI-certified instructors, who deploy more than 100 years of combined experience to guide scuba students toward a future of underwater adventures. During the six-person class, instructors impart techniques and tips for subsurface paddling before escorting pupils to the on-site saltwater pool, where tanks and other necessary equipment stands at the ready. Behind a fence painted with a jovial blue octopus, students practice their newly acquired diving knowledge and Morse code dolphin clicks in a safe and friendly environment.