Summer is a great time for sun-and-thrill seekers.
With warmer temperatures come days spent at water parks and theme parks, ushering in a season focused on slides and roller coasters that delight visitors of all ages.
From Kansas City to Camdenton and St. Louis to Branson, these parks also host exciting events and, naturally, have great food.
Among the Show-Me State's exciting water and theme parks are:
Big Surf Waterpark, Linn Creek (Lake of the Ozarks area) features the Challenger Flumes (water slides), a wave pool, where the action cranks up every 10 minutes, and Zambezi Falls, a thrilling half-pipe ride that includes a three-story drop.
White Water, Branson is home to the Kalani Towers Drop Slides, where you reach speeds up to 40 mph. If you're a real speed demon, check out KaPau Plummet, a side-by-side ride that drops you down 245-foot slides at a 70-degree pitch.
Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags St. Louis, Eureka has some of the fastest slides in the Midwest including the aptly named Speed Slides, along with the Bonzai Pipeline, where the floor literally falls from beneath you and leads to a 290-foot slide. New in 2018, Typhoon Twister features a 54-foot drop and wave wall before plummeting to the splash pool below.
Oceans of Fun, Kansas City: enjoy a super-soaking adventure when you step on the Monsoon. The passenger-boat ride takes you up a 50-plus-foot incline before you plunge down and create a wave of water that's more soaking than a Missouri rainstorm.
Jolly Mon Indoor Water Park, Osage Beach is the perfect escape from the summer heat. Located at Margaritaville, the facility features a wilderness tree house outfitted with water slides, bridges, tunnels and water blasters.
Splash Landing at Mark Twain Landing, Monroe City has a variety of ways to beat the heat. From water slides and a giant wave pool to the Space Bowl and a lazy river, you can spend hours at this family-friendly venue.
Break up your drive with a stop at Cape Splash Family Aquatic Center in Cape Girardeau, Chilli Bay Water Park in Chillicothe, Fugitive Beach in Rolla or Adventure Oasis Water Park in Independence.
Like their water-focused companions, Missouri's theme parks also boast an impressive lineup of rides and attractions.
The Patriot at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City maxes out at 65 mph and includes four inversions. The Mamba is a tradition at the park and it combines both staggering heights and amazing speeds. Reaching about 75 mph, this coaster packs nine drops into its out-and-back trip. Exciting updates can be found on the Timber Wolf. With ongoing updates to the track layout, the ride now features a 70-degree banked turn.
At Silver Dollar City in Branson, riders are awed by Outlaw Run, the second-fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. With top speeds reaching 68 mph, Outlaw Run is the only wooden coaster in the world to have a double barrel roll and the only coaster to twist upside down three times. Powderkeg is another popular ride, thanks to its incredible speed. Riders go from 0 to 53 mph in a little less than three seconds. The park's newest addition, Time Traveler, is the world's fastest, steepest and tallest spinning roller coaster. Hold onto your seat, because the 10-story, 90-degree vertical drop is going to make your heart – and stomach – fly.
Six Flags St. Louis makes you feel like a hero on Batman, where you cover about a half-mile of track in two minutes, reaching speeds up to 50 mph. The ride packs an early punch, featuring a full 360-degree loop right after the initial 11-story climb. Spinsanity puts guests in motorcycle-style seats, facing outward on a large disc that reaches five stories high while twirling at 14 revolutions per minute.