Road Trip! Destination: Water parks
Winter has arrived, and we are months away from swimming season. But with a simple little road trip, you can still enjoy swimsuits and tropical weather at indoor water parks.
At these climate-controlled venues — 11 of which are an easy drive from the Pittsburgh area, including four just in Sandusky, Ohio — visitors get a summer environment of at least 80 degrees and water attractions ranging from the simplest slides for young kids to steep thrill attractions for older children and adults. Indoor water parks let you swim even if a frigid blizzard is blowing outside.
Pennsylvania and Ohio offer many indoor water parks for kids and adults.
Pirates Cove Waterpark at Conley Resort
Conley Resort — in Butler, just a county north of Pittsburgh — offers its own little indoor water park for family fun. Pirates Cove features two slides, a sauna, a hot tub, a pirate ship with a water cannon and a party room. The overall resort offers more than the water. There are several golfing packages available and a 56-room hotel for a weekend escape.
Details: 724-586-7711 or conleyresort.com
Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge has the feel of a rustic hunting chalet in the Great North woods, rather than a tropical theme, and is geared especially toward families with younger children. Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains has 79,000 square feet of wet entertainment, and the temperature remains 84 degrees. Rides include Fort Mackenzie, Coyote Cannon and Hydro Plunge. Great Wolf has many other locations around the country, including one in Sandusky, Ohio.
Details: 800-641-9653 or greatwolf.com/poconos/waterpark
H2oooohh! Water Park
This park is at the Split Rock Resort & Golf Club in Lake Harmony, in the Poconos Mountains region. It offers the Komodo Dragon, an indoor flow rider and three extreme water slides that drop four stories. Younger kids can play in the Jungle Falls and Leapin' Lizards areas, while adults relax in the Lava Springs hot tubs.
Details: 800-255-7625 or splitrockresort.com/waterpark
Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park
In a quick, two-hour drive, you can take an easy day trip to Erie and enjoy Splash Lagoon, one of the country's biggest indoor water parks. This year, Splash Lagoon has a new attraction: the Aqua Tumbler, a giant rolling ball where swimmers tumble around. Even on the most bitterly cold winter day, the temperature inside Splash Lagoon remains at 84 degrees. Features include the 200,000-gallon Wild Waters Indoor Wave Pool, the Tree Tops Indoor Rope Course, the Big Kahuna and Black Hole slides, Lazy River and Hurricane Hole. At Splash Lagoon, palm trees and tropical flowers fulfill the South Seas theme.
Details: 866-377-5274 or splashlagoon.com
Cedar Point's Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark
This Sandusky, Ohio, park features wet fun for the whole family year-round with a tropical, Caribbean-island theme in a 38,000-square-foot facility. Adventures include a water coaster, slides, kiddie water-play areas, a wave pool and visits from Snoopy and his Peanuts friends.
The Cedar Point resorts also include restaurants, retail stores, a day spa and an arcade.
During Cedar Point amusement park's operating season, visitors staying overnight get discounted tickets to the water park.
Details: 419-627-2106 or castawaybay.com
Caribbean Indoor Waterpark
This Lancaster attraction offers three pools, including an activity pool, a wading pool with dump buckets and a water walk pool. Caribbean also includes water slides, a plunging pool and a relaxing hot tub with waterfalls. You can go to this park if you are staying at Budget Host Inn & Suites Hotel in Lancaster or if you purchase a package with the nearby Econo Lodge North, Economy Inn or Wingate by Wyndham.
Details: 717-397-7781 or caribbeanlancaster.com
Kalahari Resorts Indoor Water Park
This place, said to be America's largest indoor water park, has an African theme and is geared toward adult thrill-seekers and older children. In 86-degree temperatures, you can ride the Zip Coaster uphill water roller coaster, surf on the FlowRiders, ride a zipline or race down the Zimbabwe Zipper or Zig Zag Zebra slides. The resort, also in Sandusky, offers a spa, 11 restaurants and bars. Details: 877-525-2427 or kalahariresorts.com/ohio
Maui Sands Resort & Indoor Waterpark
This Sandusky resort has a Hawaiian-theme indoor water park. The 45,000-square-foot park in a tropical-garden setting includes water attractions and slides like Liquid Lava, MakaMaka Treehouse, Coconut Cove and Pineapple Bay. You also can say “aloha” to Hawaiian-theme hotel rooms and suites at Maui Sands Resort.
Details: 419-621-7357 or mauisandsresort.com
Quality Inn & Suites Rainwater Park
For travelers on a more-limited budget, try the Quality Inn & Suites Rainwater Park, which has a smaller, rain-theme water park and lower admission prices, and it's free for hotel guests. The Sandusky park includes a 50-foot tower where guests can shoot down two giant water slides, each more than 250 feet long. The hotel complex includes activities like bowling, laser tag and betting on horse races.
Details: 419-626-6761 or rainwaterpark.com
CoCo Key Water Resort at Cherry Valley Lodge
This park — located about 25 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, in Newark — features 50,000 square feet with a tropical, Key West theme, and it's always 84 degrees in there. The park has slides for younger children, water cannons and a huge bucket that dumps hundreds of gallons of water every few minutes. CoCo Key Water Resort also has a location in the Cincinnati area.
Details: 800-788-8008 or cherryvalleylodge.com/coco-key
Fort Rapids Indoor Water Park Resort
If you like the old Wild West, you can head out to the frontier at this Columbus, Ohio-based wet-and-wild resort. The resort includes attractions such as the Kiddie Korral and Rascal Round Up, and four thrill slides that shoot from the top of a 40-foot Slide Tower. These Western-theme water rides include Shoot Out Racer, Black Out Pass, Ambush Alley and Raging Bull. Adults can enjoy a 30-person hot tub. The resort offers numerous tower guest rooms and villa family suites.
Details: 877-337-7527 or fortrapids.com
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7824.