August 14, 2011

August 6, 2011

Rio Quente

Recently we went to Rio Quente, the largest natural hot water spring park in South America.  It's located in the south of the state of Goias, making it about 5 hours south of Brasilia.  The water comes from a river called Ribeirao Das Aguas Quentes, and what is amazing is that the volume of water produced by this springs results in a constant flow of 6,228,000 liters of water per hour.  That means it produces over 149 million liters of water every 24 hours!    

We first let the kids play in the water which consisted of several kiddie areas, a lazy river for adults and another for children (in Noah language it's a lazy "liver"), a huge wave pool with a beach area, tube rides, water slides, etc.  I don't think we saw everything there was to see in just 2 days!  What made the water park unique to me was that it had beautiful Brazilian vegetation everywhere, unlike most water parks we've been to.  Also, the water was extremely warm!        

Then we headed to the zip line:

The zip line was probably 50feet high and 250feet long and landed in a lake.  We were so surprised that every one of our kids (except for Max, of course) did it!  They thought it was the coolest thing.  If you watch Noah's video closely (above) you'll see that his plan was just to jump right off, which wasn't allowed--you have to be lowered down.  And Macy went down Superman-style which was head first and face down!  We are always amazed and delighted (and sometimes frightened) at how adventuresome and fearless our kids are.  

Zoe zip lining.

You can get a good feel of how long the zip line is from the middle picture with Macy looking down.  Originally Kurt wasn't planning on doing it, but after the 4 kids went down and were wading in the water, he went for it.  They loved cheering him on.   

We also went canoeing:

Macy had a hard time paddling the canoe at first (thus the mad faces), but soon got the hang of it.  Being in clear canoes made the experience of having fish swimming underneath us even more amazing--we felt like we were just floating along without a canoe.  I don't know what kind of fish they were, but we were told that some were as big as 6 feet!  We saw that they had big teeth that stuck out of their mouths so they looked quite mean (Brazil=Piranha!!).  But they are completely harmless and you could even snorkel or scuba dive with them, although we didn't have time to do those things.   
My favorite picture is the one on the top right.  It's a great shot of the kids paddling and you can also see someone on the zip line landing in the lake right at that moment.  

Look how big those fish are!  

We had to hurry back with the canoes because next in line were men in sungas (speedos).  :) 

Then we headed to the Bird Park:

This is a Macaw, which they gave a nut and then sat on our shoulders.  I think the nut was supposed to distract the bird from pecking us, but somehow one got me on the cheek!  The Macaw was able to crack the nut with it's beak and eat the inside, which was pretty amazing to watch them do.  Noah was reluctant to hold the birds, but we convinced him that this may be a once in a life time experience.  The look on his face says, "I'm doing it, but I don't like it."    

Max's fear of birds started about a year ago when we were at dinner at Red Robin in the States.  While we were eating, Red Robin himself (in a huge red bird suit with red tights) came dancing over to our table and Max just lost it.  He was terrified.  Since that experience he has always referred to birds as "bad birdies".   
I think this experience might have helped ease his fears.  

Muito forte!  

We ended the day with a water balloon fight:

This is a view of Caldas Novas, which is the town next to Rio Quente where we stayed.  We stayed in a condo that had a really pretty view of the city from the back deck.  

It was such an amazing experience for all of us and we hope to go back at least one more time before we leave.  I loved that we were able to do things other than just typical water park stuff.  My personal favorite was definitely the canoe ride, but if you ask the kids their favorite, they'll say everything!