Theme parks are an amazing day out with the family and there is no shortage of them across the United States. Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Luna Park are among the best but they are usually accompanied by amazing water parks as part of their complex. Water parks are a great alternative to a traditional theme park or even better as an additional attraction on your day, or more appropriately, days out.
Each state has its own attractions and there are currently 1,175 water parks across the nation each with its own things to offer, but some of the best are the sprawling establishments with crazy slides, rapids, and fun activities. While it isn’t feasible to list all the available water parks in this post, some of the best include:
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach
- Dollywood Splash Country
- Enchanted Forest Water Safari
- Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown
- Knott’s Soak City Water Park
Blizzard Beach is a slice of cool in the hot Florida sun while Dollywood Splash Country is a wild lagoon in the middle of the Smoky Mountains and Enchanted Forest Water Safari has more than 50 attractions. Wet ‘n’ Wild is the classic water park experience and Knott’s Soak City offers relaxation in the lazy river for adults as well as crazy fun for the kids on its many slide complexes.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach
Disney is of course known for its amazing theme parks such as Disneyland in California and Orlando’s Magic Kingdom, but in addition to the Orlando Magic Kingdom theme park is Blizzard Beach. Designed as an abandoned ski resort and lodge, complete with snow, icicles and winter-like decoration, the theme of this water park is something to behold in the scorching sun of Florida.
As with all of Disney’s attractions, Blizzard Beach comes with a story that a snowstorm once passed over the area, prompting the locals to build a ski resort to make the most of the ice before it melted. But melt it did and the result was a soaking mess of water which is being used for the water park that it is today.
The aesthetics of the park are a cross between typical Florida tropics and Colorado alpine with all the architecture, decorations, features, and plant life to suit both. Down on the ground presents a warmer climate for relaxation, while higher parts of the park retain a winter wonderland look.
Depending on block-out dates, tickets range from between $61.77 to $67.10 for children and $68.16 to $73.49 for adults. There are other passes available that open up more of the wider complex as detailed in this guide to Disney’s Blizzard Beach.
Official Site: https://www.disneyworld.co.uk/destinations/blizzard-beach/
COVID-19 DETAILS: Currently the park is open but operating at limited capacity due to Covid-19 social distancing measures. Face masks are required for entry but not when riding any of the water rides.
Dollywood Splash Country
Undoubtedly the jewel of the Smoky Mountains, Dollywood is the South’s answer to Disneyland. Nestled in the remote region of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, the sprawling theme park attracts around 3 million people per year and as the name suggests, is owned by legendary country singer Dolly Parton, who frequently makes appearances to guests.
Like all great theme park complexes, Dollywood has its own water park, Splash Country. This lagoon-style aquatic theme park is styled around Dolly Parton’s memories of swimming in wild rivers and lakes when she was a little girl. Dotted around the relaxing lagoon area are multiple water attractions designed for all age groups.
Fire Tower Falls is an almost vertical slide designed for those with a braver disposition than most while River Rush is a thrilling boat ride for all the family and The Cascades is a gentle lagoon-style pool suitable for younger children. With 16 water attractions, each with its own distinct style and demographic appeal, this is truly a water park for the entire family.
The park is currently closed but is set to reopen on May 15 and pricing can vary depending on when you go. A 1-day adult ticket will typically cost $49.95 while a ticket for children and seniors will cost $39.95.
Official Site: https://www.dollywood.com/waterpark
COVID-19 DETAILS: The park is operating at a reduced capacity due to social distancing measures and all tickets must be pre-purchased before visiting. Face masks are required and all guests are subject to touchless temperature screening to test for infection.
Enchanted Forest Water Safari
A real sense of American spirit and adventure, Enchanted Forest Water Safari is located in Old Forge, New York, and pays tribute to the historical Adirondacks mountain range that surrounds the area. Founded in 1956, when the only mechanical ride was a novelty train, the park has since been sold a few times and with each sale has been expanded which began in the 60s and continued into 1984 when the first water slide was added.
Since then, the name of the park was changed from Enchanted Forest to Enchanted Forest Water Safari in order to include the water attractions as a highlight of the park and as of 2021, there are now 20 water features dotted around the massive theme park, the largest of which is Raging Rapids; a 700-foot long tube slide passing through caves and waterfalls.
Apart from its mind-bending slides that are designed for the braver-than-most and the fact that its attracts almost 200,00 visitors from all over the world, the park is also inclusive of families and toddlers with Walter’s Water Slide, for example, designed for children only and The Sawmill toddler play area designed solely for the little ones to have some fun.
The park is currently closed with an expected opening date of June 1, and as such, pricing is currently unavailable. However, the park usually charges $30 for those over 3 years old.
Official Site: https://www.watersafari.com/
COVID 19 DETAILS: All tickets must be pre-purchased and guests are advised not to arrive at opening times in order to reduce interaction. Social distancing measures are in place and face masks are required when not in the water. Hand sanitizer stations are provided throughout the park and adults must assist their own children on rides rather than park staff.
Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown
Built over the remnants of the defunct Hanna Barbera Land, Hurricane Harbor SplashTown is located just north of Houston, Texas. Styled as a tropical paradise island similar to something you might find in Hawaii, the park is home to 17 water-based attractions for guests of all ages and includes fast thrill rides for teens and adults, family fun adventures, and child-friendly attractions for toddlers and parents.
Some of the more thrilling rides include the unique RipQurl, an insane power ride that shoots riders 26 feet per second down a chute, ending in a 40-foot wide bowl where you will eventually spin out while more gentle rides are mostly included in the brand new Coconut Bay area, a toddler only play area with gentle water rides designed for children.
A $20 million expansion has made Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown one of the best in Texas and the great mix of family, thrill, and child attractions mean that SplashTown attracts almost 600,000 guests per year making it one of the most attended in the United States outside of Florida, which is home to many of the U.S’s top water theme parks.
The park is currently set to reopen on May 1 with tickets costing $34.99 for a one-day pass or an extremely generous $49.99 for a season pass.
Official Site: https://www.sixflags.com/splashtown
COVID 19 DETAILS: Card and mobile payments will only be accepted inside the park while all social distancing measures and face mask policies will be enforced when not using a water ride. Park capacity will be reduced while measures are in place and guests may be subject to touchless temperature screening.
Knott’s Soak City Water Park
California’s most well-known theme park is of course Disneyland, but one of the best attractions for families is undoubtedly Knott’s Soak City Water Park, located in Buena Park. Developed as a part of the historical Knott’s Berry Farm theme park founded in the 1920s by Walter Knott, Knott’s Soak City Water Park attracts hundreds of thousands of guests annually and is known as one of the best in the United States.
While the water park itself doesn’t adhere to any specific theme like most other large water parks, it presents a classic water park adventure where the rides and attractions just speak for themselves. With 36 attractions available, which makes this park one of the largest, they are among some of the best found anywhere and include 26 water slides, wave pools, and interactive water features as well as a dedicated children’s area.
Much like most other water parks, the attractions of Knott’s Soak City Water Park are varied and tailored to different guests with thrill rides such as The Wedge and family rides like Banzai Falls, but the park is known for its legendary slide complexes such as the high-speed Malibu Run, Old Man Falls, and Laguna Storm Water Tower. All of these have been designed as main attractions for teens and adults looking for a more intense experience.
Knott’s Soak City Water Park is currently scheduled to reopen mid-May and prices are $28.99 for adults and $17.99 for children and seniors. Additionally, the park offers a $5 discount if you print your own tickets.
Official Site: https://www.knotts.com/soak-city
COVID 19 DETAILS: No specific details can be found on their official site regarding Covid-19 but you should expect policies to be similar to other water parks; face masks when not in the water, social distancing, and possible temperature screenings.