Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Sat May 23 2015

5 Must-Visit Water Parks to Cool the Summer Heat

Features & Advice | Donald Wood | May 23, 2015

5 Must-Visit Water Parks to Cool the Summer Heat

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Planning a vacation this summer can be a stressful ordeal, but one of the easiest ways to ensure the entire family has fun on a trip is to take the journey to one of the great water parks that are all over the United States.

The summer heat can be too much at times to really enjoy an amusement park, but it’s not so bad when adding the cool, cool water of giant pools, slides, lazy rivers and other attractions.

Here are the top five water parks to visit this summer.

1. Water World in Denver, Colorado

As one of the largest water parks in the country, a good place to start your vacation would be Water World in Denver, Colorado. Opened in 1979, Water World has become one of the most popular parks in the United States as well.

What makes Water World so entertaining are all the unique attractions. Between the Screamin' Mimi (a traditional water slide using a sled instead of an inner tube), the Space Bowl (an enclosed body water slide with a high-banked bowl at the end), and Revolution (a four-person inner tube adventure), there are legitimate thrill rides at this water park.

As great as the aforementioned rides are, the most entertaining attraction for the entire family is the Voyage to the Center of the Earth ride. Four passengers float through an indoor cave system adorned with dinosaurs, lighting effects and sounds that make it a fully immersive experience.

An all-day ticket to ride on the 49 attractions inside the park is under $40, making this an affordable stop on your summer vacation.

2. Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana

When thinking about taking a fun vacation in the summer, one place that doesn’t usually come to mind is Santa Claus, Indiana, but Splashin' Safari — along with the accompanying Holiday World amusement park — has done its part to change that notion.

The water park is the perfect mix of thrill rides for the older children and adults, and the less scary attractions for the younger children. Set in the beautiful Indiana forest, Splashin' Safari is a unique water park.

Not only does the park have Mammoth, the world’s longest water coaster, it also has Wildebeest, the second longest water coaster. Now that’s cornering the market. Add in the water funnel called Zinga, Otorongo, the three-slide blackout experience, and the Bakuli water bowl, and this water park should be added to everyone’s itinerary.

With a one-day ticket costing $45 for both Splashin' Safari and Holiday World, this could be the perfect stop during your summer trip through the state of Indiana.

3. Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark in South Padre Island, Texas

There are several Schlitterbahn Beach Waterparks locations, but the best in terms of attractions and excitement has to be the park located in South Padre Island, Texas. There's something for every member of the family.

There is no doubt that water parks are for kids, but adults want to have a good time too. From Bob's Float-In bar where those old enough can enjoy a few drinks, to an underwater excursion using the Sea Trek helmet-diving experience to come in contact with fish and other aquatic creatures, this water park is for grown-ups too.

As for the attractions geared toward older children, there are plenty of opportunities to inner tube down Agua Blanca Tube Chute, Blackbeard’s Twister, Lafitte's Cyclone, Tempest and Gale Force — some of the tallest and fastest rides at the park.

Add in a giant wave tank called the Boogie Bahn and plenty of pools, a lazy river and rides for smaller children, and the $60 ticket prices are worth it. Schlitterbahn is not the cheapest park, but it's an investment in fun.

4. Noah's Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

For some people, bigger is better, and Noah's Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, is the biggest water park in the world. With over 50 rides and attractions, there will be no shortage of things to do.

The park features the world’s largest bowl ride called Time Warp, a water slide that drops guests at 50-feet-per-second on a nearly vertical loop called Scorpion’s Tail, and an impressive water coaster named Black Anaconda. As the names imply, these rides are not to be taken lightly.

Now that the older kids and adults are satisfied, there are plenty of activities to do as a family — several giant inner tube group rides — and plenty of attractions geared toward small children or those looking to just relax.

From a giant lazy river to the wildest water rides in the world, the $32.99 general admission tickets pay for themselves during a full day at the biggest water park in the world.

5. Wet'n'Wild Hawaii in Kapolei, Hawaii

Hawaii is already one of the most beautiful places on earth and a bucket list destination for anyone who loves to travel, but while on the islands, visitors should stop in to Wet'n'Wild Hawaii in Kapolei for an unpredictable experience.

With a ride gauge from “Chill” to “Extreme,” there is a wide gamut of attractions for patrons of all ages. Not only will guests be treated to a plethora of interesting rides, but the breathtaking Hawaiian views as the backdrop are unparalleled.

With extreme rides like the Tornado and Shaka, moderate rides like the Waimea Whirl and the Big Kahuna and “Chill” rides like Keiki Kove and Kapolei Kooler lazy river, everyone from the smallest child to the oldest grandparent will have a wonderful time at Wet'n'Wild Hawaii.

For under $50 per ticket, the entire family can make their journey to Hawaii even more enjoyable.

For more information on Denver, Indiana, Texas, Wisconsin, Hawaii

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