To celebrate my youngest son’s birthday we took a one night trip to Key Lime Cove in Gurnee IL.  Since some of you may not be familiar with this resort, Key Lime Cove is an indoor waterpark resort conveniently located near Six Flags Great America and Gurnee Mills shopping mall.  This resort would be an ideal home base if you want to get some shopping and thrills in on a mini-vacation.  This post is going to be long because there is so much to report on with this resort.

This is our second time staying at Key Lime Cove.  We stayed there a couple of years ago for a one-night stay.  Since we had a previous visit, we signed up to join Club Key Lime.  This is their way to market to you the news and updates of the resort and let you know the latest specials.  We booked our one-night stay for this trip under a June special rate that was $149.95 for our queen deluxe guest room.  Add on the $21.95 resort fee and state and local taxes and our one night cost $193.05.  We stayed on a Thursday night and were surprised with an offer that was slid under our door to extend our stay for a night for an even better deal of $79.99 plus tax.  Unfortunately, we had a busy weekend coming up and couldn’t take advantage of this offer, but it is something to keep in mind if you would be traveling during slower periods.

Our check in time at the resort was late since we ran down after work.  We arrived around 7pm.  The check-in process was very slow.  They were training a new employee, so I am willing to give some leniency.  At Key Lime Cove they give you a wrist bracelet that acts as your room key and you can set up charging privileges to your room.   If you are familiar with Disney, think Magic Bands.  It is the same concept, but Key Lime Cove has had it for years.  It is so nice to go to the pool and not have to worry about carrying money with you.  If you use a debit card they do warn you that they will automatically put a $150 charge on your card and then reconcile the charges after you check-out.  They reconciled my charges within 2 business days although they say to allow the process to take up to 2 weeks.

When we arrived at our room we found it to be very spacious, clean, and well-themed.  We loved the fun beach art on the wall and the pineapple lamp.  I can’t say enough good things about our room.    There is a mini-fridge in the cabinet under the TV.  From home, we had brought snacks and drinks to help save on food costs.

Now, on to the important part.  The waterpark!  We have young boys who are not good swimmers.  We don’t get to utilize the waterpark fully.  For the thrill seekers, they have several fast slides if you climb Tookie’s Tower.   We didn’t make it up the tower this trip.  Something we can look forward to for our next trip.  We spent the bulk of our time at Tookie’s Big Deluge.  This is an interactive play area with multiple slides, ways to squirt water at friends, and a pineapple bucket that floods the area with water every 10-15 minutes.  My boys loved the area.  You don’t have to be a good swimmer.  The water doesn’t get above 12 inches anywhere.  The slides were a huge hit with my one son and the other got a kick out of the interactive water features.    Another favorite for us was the lazy river.  The boys would sit on the tubes and we would walk behind them.  There is only one place that was an issue for us with poor swimmers and that is the wave pool.  The wave pool intersects with the lazy river.  Because of this, there is the constant current that sucked our children towards the lazy river where the water was over their head.  It was a constant battle to keep our children where we wanted them to be in the wave pool.  This may only be an issue with us because we don’t have good swimmers.

I want to take the time to specifically point out and praise the lifeguards.  Every single one I saw was focused and committed to their task.  I felt very safe for my boys, knowing the lifeguards were watching so closely.

We did rent a locker to hold our belongings after we checked out of our hotel room.  You can stay all day in the waterpark on the day of check-out.  It was $6 to rent the locker and it was large enough to hold all our belongings and a change clothes for the 4 of us.  Once you check out of your hotel room your wristband doesn’t allow room charges, so you will need to keep money with you.  I charged the locker to the room before we actually checked out.

The resort has several food options.  There is a food court right outside the pool area.  This area had a pizza place and a hot dog place.  We had lunch at the pizza place that was an awesome value.  The special we purchased was called the Slices of Paradise.  It was 1 large cheese pizza, 6 chicken wings and a 2L bottle of soda.  You can eat this in the food court or have it delivered to your room.  It was $23.99 plus tax. You can’t purchase this at the food court.  It has to be added at the front desk and they give you a voucher.  We didn’t know this until after we checked out, but I just went back up to the front desk to purchase the deal and came back down and gave the guy my voucher.  The food tasted good.  Pizza and wings were excellent.

For full-service restaurants, there are 2.  On the waterpark level for food, there is an ice cream parlor and eatery, but we decided to go upstairs off the main lobby and eat at The Crazy Toucan Margarita Grille.   Here is another money saving tip.  Make certain you sign up for the mobile club by texting “KEYLIME” to 56242.  We got a coupon for $4 margaritas from The Crazy Toucan.    They were excellent.  Completely worth the $4 we paid.  In comparison, we bought a $8 pina colada from the Sand Bar down in the pool which was just ok.  The adult beverages did seem inconsistent.  The food from the Crazy Toucan was OK.  It got the job done. We were there late and our service was slow, but again Thursday night with not many around.  We really enjoyed our time at the restaurant.  The atmosphere of the place is awesome.  They have a balcony that looks over the pool.  We thought it was a good value.  With 2 margaritas, 3 adult meals and 1 child meal, the cost with tip was $60. On certain nights they have live entertainment.

Next to the waterpark, the next big draw for my children is the Riptide Reef Arcade.  They have a good variety of redemption games.  We earned a fair amount of tickets and my boys were pleased with the loot they hauled out.

There is much more to this resort to talk about, but we only got to experience a fraction.  There are gift shops, Paradise Mist Spa for adults, The Enchanted Lagoon for kids, a Fun-tivities guide of activities through the day at Leapin Lizards family center, Pinkie’s Pet Palace, and more.

One last amenity of this hotel is the shuttle service to Gurnee Mills Mall and more importantly Six Flags Great America.  The mall shuttle offerings seemed pretty minimal.  12:15pm,  2:15pm,  and 4:15pm only.   The offerings over to Six Flags were pretty impressive.  Every 15 minutes in the mornings until noon and then hourly in the mid-day, then back to every 30 minutes after 5:30pm.   I spoke with one of the bellmen about the shuttle service because I was curious if we came down early on our check-in day, would we be allowed to use the shuttle even though our room wasn’t ready.  He said no problem.  People do that all the time.  This may be our plan for our next stay.  A day at Six Flags, then sleep at the resort and enjoy the water park the following day.  Next trip we will make certain we are able to take advantage of a potential offer to extend our stay for a great rate.

Here are the disclaimers.  I paid for 100% of our trip and in no way received compensation from Key Lime Cove.  This is our experience from June 2014.  Things will change and this information will not be updated.  Check out for the latest information on their offerings and promotions.

Here is my photo gallery for Key Lime Cove.

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