12 Coolest Indoor Water Parks in the United States
What could be more fun than water slides and wave pools, especially when you don’t need to worry about what the weather is like?
Great Wolf Lodge Georgia, LaGrange, Georgia
The name Great Wolf Lodge is synonymous with massive indoor water parks, and the chain’s brand-new property in LaGrange, Georgia is no exception. Climb Fort Mackenzie, a multi-level interactive fort with a 1,000-gallon bucket that dumps water every few minutes. New to Great Wolf and North America, the Triple Thunder is a hybrid slide that pulls you into a tornado-like funnel before moving you on to two separate saucers for more whirling and swirling. When you can steal away from the kiddos, an adults-only pool and hot tub awaits. All overnight stays at the lodge include two days of play at the water park. Read up on the 13 things you need to know before taking your toddler to a water park.
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions’ Pocono Mountains
To see the largest indoor water park in the country—at 220,000 square feet!—you’ll have to visit the Pocono Mountains location of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, which specializes in Africa-themed water parks. Grab a mat and race your pals in the Cheetah Race, test your surfing skills on the Flowrider, or ride the Kenya Corkscrew tandem tube slide with your BFF. There’s plenty to do that doesn’t involve water, too, including an arcade, adults-only spa, and a selection of dining choices ranging from grab-and-go delis to a sit-down steakhouse. Looking for more kid-friendly vacation ideas? Check out the best family travel destinations in each state.
Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark, Frankenmuth, Michigan
This Bavarian-themed town has been luring water park-loving fans since 1856, in part because of Zehnder’s, the beloved family-owned indoor water park that’s also Michigan’s largest. Comprised of two distinct water parks, one with a retractable roof for maximum enjoyment of those precious summer months, Zehnder’s features a six-story family raft ride, four-story tube slides, and the Whimsical Whirl Hot Tub, among many other aquatic adventures. The adjacent Spanish-themed hotel makes planning an overnight easy.
Great Wolf Lodge Illinois, Gurnee, Illinois
Set to open July 1, 2018, Great Wolf Lodge Illinois will be the 17th property for North America’s largest group of indoor water parks—this time in Gurnee, Illinois, where the massive indoor water park will feature 12 slides and seven pools. Perfect for groups, the Whitewater Whirl raft ride will whisk you four stories down through two vortexes before dumping you in a pool. The River Canyon Run family raft ride, a wave pool, and a section just for toddlers are more of the attractions and rides set to make their debut. Like other Great Wolf properties, this, too, will feature MaqiQuest, a live‐action game where you use a magic wand to uncover relics hidden throughout the property in order to defeat dragons and goblins.
Epic Waters Indoor Water Park, Grand Prairie, Texas
Open since January 2018, the Epic Waters Indoor Water Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, has been called a “cruise ship on land” because of its unique retractable roof and barge-like design. Choose from 11 water slides, three of which have “first of their kind” features: Ride the first indoor double rider Aquasphere inner tube (try saying that three times fast), which sweeps you way up into the slide’s banking domes; the nation’s tallest indoor Aqualoop body slide; or the Yellow Jacket Drop, a twisting inner tube slide that features a few thrilling seconds of zero gravity.
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
In a city that calls itself the “Water Park Capital of the World,” this is the only indoor water park with slalom waterslides. Try the Anaconda family raft ride, explore Crocodile Cove, the 3,000-square foot activity pool, or slide 270 feet on a tandem tube slide. Go Karts, laser tag, and a six-story Ferris wheel are just a few of the land-based activities you can also find here.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston, Galveston, Texas
What it lacks in size at 26,000 square feet it gains in thrills, as evidenced by its distinction as America’s Best Indoor Waterpark for the past eight years, according to Amusement Today magazine. At Schlitterbahn Galveston, a mile-long river contains the park’s three distinct sections. Check the world’s tallest water coaster, the MASSIV Monster Blaster, off your bucket list, or try the Boogie Bahn surf ride, the Torrent wave river, or your choice of seven tube and speed slides, all of which have helped earn Shlitterbahn the title of water park pioneer.
CoCo Key Water Resort Mount Laurel, Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Brave the four-story, 300-foot Sharks Slam, tackle bends and curves for yet another 300 feet in the Pelican Plunge, or just float for—yep—300 feet in the Coconut Grove Lazy River at New Jersey’s largest indoor water park. Competitive families can test their balance in the Lily Pad Adventure activity pool. If you think this is fun, wait until you see these 11 breathtaking underwater hotels.
Wild WaterDome at Wildnerness at the Smokies, Sevierville, Tennessee
Less than a 30-minute drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee’s largest indoor water park is adjacent to two outdoor water parks for maximum aquatic fun. Race through 450 feet of waterfalls and tunnels, 360-degree loops, and a drop of almost 60 feet in the Runaway Canyon raft ride. To up the thrill factor, try the Strom Chaser Thrill Ride. You’ll rush 55 feet through a dark tunnel followed by a zero-gravity fall into a funnel, where you’ll experience several fast oscillations before splashing into a pool below—all alongside three of your nearest and bravest.
Aquatopia Indoor Waterpark at Camelback Resort, Tannersville, Pennsylvania
Voted #1 Indoor Waterpark by U.S. News & World Report, Aquatopia sits next to Pennsylvania’s largest outdoor water park, providing a one-two punch that makes access to water play a cinch no matter what the weather is like. Spread out across a whopping 125,000 square feet, Aquatopia is a maze of 13 slides and seven pools. Among its must-try attractions are the Storm Chaser, North America’s longest uphill water coaster, and Venus SlydeTrap, a fully enclosed family rafting experience with a record-breaking sphere.
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Sandusky, Sandusky, Ohio
Step into the launch pod and feel the trap door fly open underneath as you plummet through an exhilarating 360-degree loop on the new Extreme Rush slide at Kalahari’s Sandusky location. You can also soar up steep slides on the Stingray, twist around the funnel flume on the Tanzanian Twister, or try the Storm Chaser, an interactive water slide adventure that mimics a video game experience. For more water-filled fun, see the most beautiful natural pools in the world.
Wilderness Resort, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
This massive resort comprises four indoor and four outdoor water parks, each of them connected via enclosed skywalks. Swim in America’s largest indoor wave pool and ride your fill of thrilling slides, raft, and tube rides specially designed to be enjoyed with friends. The fun continues indoors with blank light 3D mini golf, a ropes course and more. With so many parks and activities to choose from, this one definitely calls for a multi-day visit. These are the coolest water slides in the world to add to your bucket list.