Wayback Machine – a Summer favorite: Atlantis

Since I grew up in South Florida, summers were hot. But we knew how to stay cool: the beach, sprinklers in the yard, and going to the local water park. Atlantis was about a 12 minute drive from my house and a place I begged my dad to take me and my sister. What kid doesn’t love a water park? I remember going in and getting our annual passes and having my picture on card made me feel special. We’d get a locker and those keys that came on a rubber floaty wristband. My dad hated the sun and the water, far as I could tell, but he always took us to places that were inundated with both!


One of my favorites parts were the twisty slides; they were fun but not too fast. I was never a roller coaster lover so the straight down slides were not for me. But the others were super fun. One of the things I remember about going there is how hot the sidewalks/pavement were. But I also recall there being little slightly recessed winding walkways that had water in them, so at least that was cooler. Obviously the water was warm but not as scorching as plain pavement.


The slide all the way to the left in that pic was my favorite: it had three small drops and wasn’t as severe as that straight down. Seeing the stairs reminds me of how terrified my sister was that she’d drop between the slots and die. She was scared to death and my dad had to coax her up to the top. Here’s another shot of that:


The wave pool was quality too and probably one of the best things to do there:



I love that there are still photos of it out there. Damage sustained during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 meant it would close forever. I know it sat abandoned for a while but now, there’s a McDonalds and a strip mall.

It’s funny but I still have dreams sometimes that I’m there. Of course it doesn’t really come out the way it looked; it’s some weird hybrid of that and every other water park from my past. But the one pervasive thing is the smell. My sister always said the chlorine and heat smelled like goat. And in every dream, that’s the key element: the goat smell.

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