Endless summer—that’s the promise of indoor water parks. And with it come surfing contests hundreds of miles from an ocean, waves lapping at pools the size of small lakes, and bright beach towels spread over lounge chairs as snow falls outside the windows.
The coolest indoor water parks keep kids of all ages entertained, from Idaho to Texas to New Hampshire. While some also have outdoor rides that close at summer’s end, nothing can slow down the splashing excitement inside, where air temperatures remain between the high 70s and high 80s year round.
Arcades, spas, ziplines, and ski gondolas are often part of the experience, too. Wings & Waves in McMinnville, OR, even has a real airplane on the roof and an attached aviation and science museum. The wilder slides and tube rides—with names like Tanzanian Twister and Howlin’ Tornado—generally have minimum-height restrictions, and all provide life jackets for younger children.
All big indoor water parks have several pools and many slides of different heights and lengths, so we looked for those with something special or unusual. Minnesota’s Water Park of America’s 90-foot-tall Eagle’s Nest Tower anchors four wild slides—one stretching more than a mile—while in Wisconsin, the Klondike Kavern’s Hurricane shoots riders up for a moment of weightlessness.
Read on to find a cool indoor water park near you.