A Fun Wakeboard & Waterpark Adventure at Quest ATX
The two grand kids from Dallas were visiting their cousins in Austin and during the stay they called me and said: "Duke, you've got to help us, we're going stir crazy and need something exciting to do!" I was struggling to figure why they were bored - they just got back from a fun filled week's vacation in Mexico, had a huge pool to swim in and a trampoline and toys to enjoy at my daughters house, two days earlier they had enjoyed hitting the ball out of the park at Home Run Dugout followed by a Round Rock Express baseball game at Dell Diamond, and the day before that was spent boating on Lake Austin plus numerous trips to Chick-fil-A or Whataburger!. One day with nothing to do and they are bored! Get real!
But they came a pleading so I responded and two hours later we were at - and they had a blast. In fact, we had a hard time getting them to leave after 5 hours of fun. Quest ATX is the brainchild of two aeronautical engineers (Jerry Taylor and Bill) who loved to ski and wakeboard, so they built a private lake to make it easy for them to continue to enjoy their favorite sport. As wakeboarding grew in popularity, they decided to capitalize on that growth and in August 2013 they opened Quest ATX which is Austin’s first and only cable waterpark.
Their ambition was to have Quest ATX evolve into a complete action sports destination and it now includes the wakeboard park, an aquatic playground, kayaking, paddleboarding, slides, swings, and more. Plus they offer summer camps, lessons, special events, team building, and food trucks - all in a family and dog friendly environment with a enthusiastic staff committed to making sure your visit was fun.
Quest ATX is located in southeast Austin close to Circuit of the Americas. This unique playground is on 130 acres, most of which is taken up by a clay bottom lake that stays cool most of the year. When our grand kids saw the aquatic park, the slides, and some wakeboarders, they were excited and out of the car in seconds. We were warmly greeted by Christina, the Quest ATX manager, and she quickly ask for all of our names. To test her skills the 8 of us rearranged ourselves to see if she could still remember our names - and with big smile on her face she nailed it! She showed us around the park, gave us a few instructions and rules, and then said "go have fun!"
We had to try everything so we started at the south end of the park on two giant slides. The slide was fast and exciting but what made it really fun was the upturn at the bottom of the slide that sent you soaring into the air. After lots of wows and laughs, a few belly flops, and some flips I had to drag them off the slide and to the water park - at this rate, it would take us two days to enjoy all the features of Quest ATX.
The water park is an aquatic playground and obstacle course (similar to a huge multifaceted bounce house on water) with over 15 different elements - a climbing wall, slides, hurdles, wiggly bridges, monkey bars, and more. For the next couple hours the kids were slipping and sliding and racing around and over the obstacles. Then they tried the rockit - which looks like riding a bucking bull with goal being to see who can stay on the longest! After handling most of the obstacles, they decided to race and see who could make it through the course the fastest and without falling. Fun to watch and no one made it all the way through the course without slipping, sliding, or being pushed into the water! I have no idea where they got all that energy!
After what seemed like a five hours, I forced them to move to the next feature of Quest ATX - the blob and two rope swings .
The grand kids sent the youngest boy, Cole, to the end of the blob - his first two attempts to crawl to the end of the blob sent him sliding into the lake. But he finally made it to the end and said "I'm ready" at which time one of the kids jumped off the top of a 24 feet tall platform sending Cole flying high in the air before landing in the water. Lots of laughs and wows on that one. So they took turns being the flyer and the jumpers. The flyers got proficient and were soon doing front and back flips and cannon balls off the end of the blob! The highlight came when they sent Cole to the end of the blob and the two oldest kids both jumped off the platform sending Cole at least 15 feet in the air and a double flip. One of Quest ATX staff who saw him fly said he was about a foot away from the record high! When Cole heard that he was grinning from ear to ear!
While some of the kids were jumping off the platform or sailing through the air and practicing their water landings, the other kids were trying the 2 fun rope swings that are 8 feet and 14 feet tall. They got some great air and after building their confidence they were doing flips off the swing. I was about ready say we need to move on to the next activity, when to my surprise they said "let's go wakeboarding!"
Quest ATX is a world class wakeboarding facility with a six-tower Sesitec system that can simultaneously pull up to six wakeboarders, skiers, or kneeboarders around the large oval course at 19 miles an hour. In fact, "if you can ride it on the water you can probably do it at our cable park." Quest ATX has UNIT Parktec features and obstacles like rails, pipes, kicker ramps for jumps, and more that the advanced riders love! They slide down the rails, get lots of air off the ramps, and do several tricks like a Butterslide 180, Whirlybird, Front Flip, Heelside Mute 180, or Elephant - "an Elephant is like doing a Scarecrow, but instead of landing switch, you pull the board back to forward right before landing and you must rotate and look as if you're doing a Scarecrow instead of a toeside front roll to do an Elephant correctly." I'm confused, does that make sense to you? The pictures below must be some of those tricks and they aren't our grand kids, maybe next year!
For beginners, the System 2.0 is perfect. It's one cable about 75 yards long that pulls a wakeboarder across toward the other side of the lake where they let go of the tow rope, swim back to the cable, and wakeboard back to the start. So this is where all our grand kids start - if they successfully make it down and back three times they can try the big boys cable system. The two oldest kids nailed and moved on to the other system. The younger 3 kids sit on the edge of a platform, got some coaching, and then the staff uses a controller (like a controller for a remote controlled toy) to gently pull them up and off the platform - where on the first several tries they landed face first, but ready to try again. It took lots of tries, several face plants, and a lots of persistence on the kids part, but they all eventually made it! With a big smile on their faces they grabbed a wakeboard, stopped to get a helmet, and walked to the main system - erect, proud, and with a sense of trepidation. I admired the Quest ATX staff member for her patience and her help in getting the younger kids proficient and ready to move on - it took quite a few times to make it the end and then back but she never gave up and kept encouraging and coaching them.
Meanwhile the older two kids were flying around and around the park and successfully made it up and off the platform 90% of the time. The oldest boy never fell but the oldest girl had the board slide out from under her about three quarters of a way through the course. A Quest ATX staff member immediately jumped on a jet ski and towed a tube out to pick her up and bring her back. This occurred three times, but she remained committed to making a complete loop and finally did it.
I hate to think how many times the younger kids face planted off the platform despite some excellent help and instructions from a very patient staff member - who seemed committed to getting all the kids up and around the course and he came very close to making that happen! Our youngest granddaughter (7 years old) kept trying and eventually made it up and after about 100 yards it looked like she was going to ride the rail - by accident! But she fell first. One of the boys made it three quarters of the way around and other boy was close to getting it but it was starting to get dark and the park was ready to close. I think all of them would have kept riding under a moon lit sky!
What a great time they had and all the way home they kept talking about how much fun they had and wanted to know when they could go back. Quest ATX is the the perfect summer destination in Austin - you can ride wakeboards, ski, swim, kneeboard, swim, picnic, enjoy the waterpark and blob, paddleboard, or just relax on the beach and enjoy watching everyone else have fun. On weekends there is a food truck, Bert's Chicken and Waffles, serving a variety of different tasty options. The prices at Quest ATX are extremely reasonable for a full day of fun! You can camp in an RV (no tent camping) in the parking lot, enjoy any of the special events, and bring your own food and beverages - no alcohol because wine and beer are available on site. And the staff is excellent - outgoing and friendly, enthusiastic about their park, and committed to making sure that you have fun and if appropriate learn how to wakeboard. Quest ATX is perfect for parties, corporate events including team building, and reunions. Check it out and have fun!