If the summer heat gets you down, Missouri has some terrific solutions: Get wet! Get cool splashing around at a water park and have lots of fun in the process. These amusement parks are loaded with fun activities for the young and the not quite so young. Missouri has them both, indoor parks and outdoor parks, so no matter the weather, you can splash, swim, slide, float, shoot water cannons and enjoy lots of other water activities. Get drenched! (Note: Open season and hours may vary by park and are subject to weather conditions, so always check before you go. Also, some height and weight restriction may apply.)
Outdoor Water Parks Offer Summertime Relief
Outdoor operations offer seasonal relief, fun, family activities and lots of food options. Stretch out on the ‘beach’ while the kids enjoy those crazy things kids love so much.
Highlights at Big Surf include: two 300-foot-long water slides; a four-story drop on the Half Pipe; a relaxing 600-foot-long lazy river; a wave pool that produces three-foot-high waves every 10 minutes; and many other thrills. "Dry-land" games such as volleyball and basketball are available. Follow their Facebook page for the “deal of the day.” Their location at the Lake of the Ozarks makes many other activities just a few minutes away: golf, shopping, boating, cave tours, restaurants, ziplines, wineries and other attractions are within easy reach of the park.
Branson may be the Live Music Show Capital of the World, but a key summer activity is White Water, a 12-acre park with more than two million gallons of water. Experience the tides in the 500,000-gallon wave pool; drift gentle along with the Aloha River; scream in a thrill-slide with a 240-foot, 70-degree plunge ending with a spiraling loop splashdown; try the family friendly fun at Splashaway Cay and Coconut Cove. Night Water events provide aquatic fun well into the night, with Dive-In Movies, fireworks displays and other treats.
Get Two Parks for the Price of One
Wow, what a deal. Two of Missouri’s outdoor water parks are co-located with a theme park (sometimes referred to as an amusement park). At each, one admission ticket allows you access to the water park and the theme park. This trip could take more than one day.
Kansas City is home to Oceans of Fun & Worlds of Fun, two parks located side-by-side. Since our subject here is water parks, I’ll start with Oceans of Fun’s 60 acres of drenching water attractions, including 33 water slides and special areas for small children. Live it up like the French Riviera when you rent a Cabana, with lounge chairs, a ceiling fan, a TV, fresh fruit and other niceties. Next door, Worlds of Fun features more than 100 rides and attractions for all ages: world-class roller coasters; dozens of thrill rides; award-winning live shows; and many food options.
Across the state in Eureka (I-44, 30 minutes southwest of St. Louis) spend some time (days?) at Hurricane Harbor, a 12-acre waterpark featuring, among many other activities: a 560,000-gallon wave pool; a five-person raft adventure ride; multiple slides, including a six-story, 40-mph looping slide; and a special play are for the small kiddos.It is part of Six Flags St. Louis, where you find numerous thrill rides (including nine costars), family rides and live entertainment. Read this VisitMO Blog post for information on the newest ride (oddly enough, a water ride at Six Flags), the Tsunami Soaker.
Water Parks Aren’t Limited to These Four Biggies
In addition to those, many municipalities have water parks operated by the city’s parks and recreation department. These sites are home to many of the standard water features. For example:
- Cape Splash in Cape Girardeau includes an area for picnics, a pavilion and a family changing room.
- Chilli Bay Water Park in Chillicothe has an island theme with Tiki huts, Tiki-like carvings, surf boards and palm trees.
- Adventure Oasis in Independence offers swimming lesions and water exercise programs.
- Aquaport in Maryland Heights includes deck areas with loungers; food; changing areas and showers; secure lockers; and free parking.
- Seven Peaks Waterpark in Poplar Bluff has miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages and inflatable bounce houses.
- Super Splash USA in Raytown literally has something called the Rocky Mountain Avalanche.
What to Take Along
Lockers are generally available (usually for a fee) where you can store clothing and other items.
- Be sure your swimsuit fits well so it will stay in place when you zoom down the waterslide. Avoid suits with ties that can come undone.
- Sunscreen; use it liberally and apply it often throughout the day.
- Swim shoes.
- A hat and sunglasses.
- Plastic swim diapers for infants and toddlers; parks require their use.
What to Leave at Home
- Cut-off jeans, shorts and any articles of clothing with zippers or buttons that can damage the slides – most water parks prohibit them.
- Rafts and other air-filled flotation toys – parks don’t allow you to bring in these items because they obstruct lifeguards views of pool bottoms.
- Water wings – these air-filled swimming aids should not be used in place of life jackets or life preservers for kids. They provide a false sense of security, which can increase the risk of drowning. Most parks offer life jackets and preservers, often for free.
Weather No So Good – Indoor Water Parks Have There Own Climate
Check out the VisitMO Blog post for information about these indoor water parks. (Note: This post begins “When Missouri’s winter winds start to bite ... ,” but the parks are generally open year-round.)
- Timber Falls Indoor Waterpark at Tan-Tar-A Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks. Beware – the giant bucket tips every minute, cascading more than 600 gallons of water on anyone standing below.
- Coco Key in Kansas City combines a tropical paradise with the excitement of 55,000 square-feet of indoor water park.
- Splash Country is 20,000 square-feet of wet fun inside the Grand Country complex in Branson.
- Also in Branson, Castle Rock Resort has a 30,000 square-foot of indoor waterpark and 10,000 square-feet of outdoor waterpark.
So you have no excuse to say it’s too hot to do anything. Gather up the clan and head on out for a cool, refreshing day getting wet ... see who can get the wettest. Oh ... and send us some photos on VisitMO's Facebook page. Enjoy!