Top 4 (and a half) water parks* of Summer 2015

 

What do you get when you combine an enormous amount of water, plenty of sunshine and a whole lot of wacky, high-flow fluid dynamics?

“The beach.”

Okay, yes, but what if you also add rides with names like “The Towering Water Tube of Doom” and “Relaxing River?”

“Houston.”

Water parks. The correct answer is water parks. Oy.

Summer is here, and with it begins the opening of water parks all across the country. Go. Enjoy your local water park. Wear sunscreen and re-apply it periodically. And if you and your family are feeling like having a top-notch, splish-splashy day, try one of these watery kingdoms.

 

Water World in Denver, CO

Photo: waterworldcolorado.com

 

In the Denver suburb of Hyland Hills, you’ll find Water World, which covers nearly three million square feet and features 46 separate water attractions. Within the two slide complexes are plenty of smiles and thrills, but one of them features a slide with a 65-foot drop. However, there’s plenty of water to relax in as well, with children’s pools, lazy rivers and tube rides for children of all ages to enjoy.

 

Raging Waters in San Dimas, CA

 

Be ready for fun with a water theme to be taken to the extreme at Raging Waters San Dimas. These slides have non-stop thrills. The ominous Dark Hole is a pitch-dark slide that riders hurtle down in a two-seater raft, ending in a 52-foot drop. The Bermuda Triangle slide, which is one of the fastest in the United States, offers three courses (all in the dark) and can reach speeds up to 50 mph.

 

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Arlington, TX

 

With more water slide complexes than any other water park in the country, the Texas Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park offers Texas-sized summer fun. You can spend all day trying to conquer the 15 attractions and 22 slides and still not get to all of them. But if you want to get to the thrills first, start with the 83-foot vertical drop slide and get your heart racing.

 

White Water in Branson, MO

Photo: choosebranson.com

 

While humble in overall park size, White Water is worth your attention, having a well-organized, highly accessible, family-centered park. The brand new KaPau Plummet is a drop-floor slide that plunges riders down at a steep, 70-degree angle. For fun with the whole family, check out the geysers, mini-slides and watery playground at Splashaway Cay. And don’t feel rushed at White Water – during the summer, the attractions are open until 10 p.m. They even have “dive-in movies” during the summer evenings.

 

* Every little bit of honorable mention goes to:

Ohio Dreams Slip ‘N Fly near Butler, OH

Photo: ohiodreams.com

 

While not technically a water park, the Slip ‘N Fly is still unique among water slides. It is part of the Ohio Dreams Action Sports Camp complex near Butler. Even being open to the public for only one day each year, during the 24-hour Ohio Dreams Annual Sports and Music Festival, it’s still worth mentioning on this list. In short, it’s a 50-degree slide with a ramp at the end that launches riders up to 30 vertical feet in the air to then splash into the pool below – and is an Internet video darling. This thing is awesome. It would be a fair question: “Why does a lone slide make this list of top water parks?” Because of this:

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