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“Scuba Fun”

Dutch Springs Aqua Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Reviewed 27 January 2012

Popular place to take open water dive certification dives. However, there is also a lot to do even for non divers -swimming, snorkeling, and just enjoying the day. Neat sunken items make the underwater scenery interesting.

1  Thank TravelNerdPA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (186)
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179 - 183 of 186 reviews

Reviewed 5 December 2011

Dutch Springs is an excellent dive park for both new divers to learn and experienced divers to keep their skills fresh. While I enjoy the Caribbean as much as any other diver, just being able to take a dive trip once or twice a year doesn't cut it. Granted, freshwater sites don't have the color or variety of fish and plant life but they do have their own strong points. There are plenty of attractions in the 50 acre quarry to view (and all metal rusts, whether in freshwater or the Caribbean). Dutch has numerous lines connecting some of the underwater attractions as well as a number without lines to navigate to. Some of the quarry walls are pretty dramatic, especially in the right light. Visibility and temps will vary depending upon the time of year, I've seen 75" + vis early and late in the season, mid-season will be anywhere from 10' to 40' dependent on depth and location. The thermocline can be very noticeable early on but from August until the park closes it's not usually a big difference in temps.
Admission is a little pricey for a day pass but compared to their closest competitors and what they offer it's a better deal. Better yet is the early deal on the season pass - camp overnight for 3 weekends and you'll more than recoup the cost of the pass. The onsite food stands are reasonable, the staff is generally friendly and helpful.
Dutch takes safety very seriously and has trained personnel stationed at several observation points. There have been deaths over the years, 1 a heart attack victim, all others due to diver errors and panic, nothing Dutch could have predicted or prevented. Diving has some inherent risk; it is the individuals responsibility to ensure their equipment in well maintained, their skills are current and practiced, and to not take unacceptable risks.

Thank midas6t6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2011

As a seasoned diver in the Caribbean who is used to diving a without a wetsuit and seeing all kinds of exotic sea life you may not like this. However, if you are looking for a good place to dive on the weekends and you live in the NE, this a great place to go.

I will say it does get busy with students, so an early start is always a good idea before all the silt starts to get churned up by students going in and out of the water. Even later in the day vis is not bad, but definitely not as good as in the mornings. Keep in mind this is a fresh water dive so at around 40-50' the thermocline is very distinct. My wife and I were comfortable in 7mm wetsuits, but it did get a little chilly below 50' and wouldn't recommend being down there too long (day 10 mins at a time) without a dry suit. Temps at the surface were around mid 70's, with temps below the termocline at 65' being 55-60F. If you are a beginner navigation is easy with underwater lines to follow to each attraction. There are also some that require some nav skill to get to, so there is a little something for everyone.

Wildlife is pretty standard for the area. Lots of friendly bass that follow you around and hang out, starfish, crayfish, Koi, rainbow trout (usually below the thermocline so be prepared to cool off if you want to spot one), etc.

Pros: Nice place to learn, just swim around, practice skills, meet other divers, and see a few local fish. Great vis.

Cons: Little pricey, lots of students on the weekend, but they tend to stick to the platforms and shallower areas near shore. Probably too COLD below the thermocline for "Caribbean" divers.

Thank Nic H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2011

It maybe great for the hardcore scuba divers or divers in training, for testing new equipment or dry suit or tech diving training, for people who would dive just to dive in any condition ("better than no diving at all"), practicing students, or divers who live too far from any descent dive sites (look at the locations of reviewers who liked this place)... For the leisure scuba divers who dive not just because there are no other diving options, but who dive to experience colorful sea life and out of this world ocean geography, Dutch Spring absolutely sucks to the nth degree... Did a few dives during a weekend there this summer and could not enjoy it in any manner. Air temperature was over 100 degrees, yet the water is so cold below only 45 feet (in the 50's, and 40's below 55 feet according to my computer, surface water temperature was 72 degrees with 102 degree air temperature), my buddy and I could not stay down even with full 7mm wet suits, gloves, and hoods. It was dangerously hot on the surface, but too cold with the severe thermoclines (unless you are in a dry suit, then it is super hot above 45 feet); so our dives were constant ascends and descends... In any case, there was not much to see anyway: visibility was horrible at about 10 feet due to the silt and excessive algae growth (only the best pictures with exceptionally good visibility get online for some reason), add that to tons of students who do not know what they are doing, a few small, lazy, and bland looking bass, and a few boring, rusted plane, helicopter, and vehicles sank artificially in this man made water hole. Artificially sunken rusty junk is interesting for about 3 min... Is it safer with all the guards? Google it online, there were 3 deaths there in the past 5 years... I would pay not to dive there ever again. Although low cost in comparison to a real diving trip to the Caribbeans or Hawaii, this place still charges too much for the terrible diving... And is there a reason why dive instructors always praise this awful place...? Is it because this place generate $ for them in taking students there to train...? Or praised by those because purely lack of option as some live too far or cannot get to a descent dive site...? I do not see any divers who have access to truly good diving sites such as the Caribbeans praising this awful water hole...

20  Thank johnw60763
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2011

I sometimes take my wife here for scuba diving, as it has both instructional and recreational diving in a fresh water former quarry. The dive area has depths to about 100', and a variety of sunken attractions including a bus, a truck, a helicopter, etc. Since I don't dive, I can only judge this part by the responses of my wife and her dive buddies. They all like coming here. Also, instructors and emergency personnel like it for certifying/recertifying in Open Water, Dry Suit, Rescue, etc. The land facilities for rest, setup and tank refills are convenient and well-setup. Since I don't dive, I am glad for their other facilities. The Sky Challenge, with rope walks and a rock-climbing wall are fun, and kayaks are available to paddle around those parts of the 50-acre lake not occupied by divers or the well-equipped and supervised kiddie aqua park. There is also a food/beverage concession and gift shop. Camping can be arranged for those who want to make a weekend of it. Attractions, dining and beverages are also available in nearby Bethlehem, PA.

1  Thank HowlnBubba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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