Water parks in Colorado have that extra "cool" factor. Not only can visitors cool down in a wave pool, go tubing down an artificial river and body slide into a giant hole, but many Colorado water parks have a snow-capped mountain view of the Rocky Mountains -- now that's cool. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on family-fun parks, here is our guide to all the key information visitors need to know about Colorado water parks.
Water World ColoradoWater World Colorado is park number three on the Travel Channel's list of Top U.S. Water Parks. Like much of Colorado, the park has a lot of space -- 64 acres -- and they have used it wisely with 47 water attractions. Some of those attractions are just for tots, others are for family adventures and many are for thrill seekers.
To The Center Of The EarthAlthough Water World has many unique attractions, the park is famous for the thrill ride, "Voyage to the Center of the Earth." It consists of circular rafts holding multiple riders that go through a man-made cave with steep downward spins, drop-offs and dinosaur encounters. Visitors should get to the park in the morning and head for this ride first to beat the crowds.
Family FunA new water feature at Water World is the family fun zone, Big Top. Designed for tots, the water pool has a circus theme with elephants spouting water. There are three Children's Play Adventure areas, along with other unique settings: Calypso Cove, Thunderbay, Wild Isle, River country, Thrill Hill and Wally's World. With ride names like Screamin' Mimi, Storm, Turbo Racer and Space Bowl, visitors can only imagine their thrill factor.
Buy Or Bring Your OwnA picnic pavilion is provided on the Water World grounds, but if visitors would rather not bring their own food there are many options -- Canning Company serves burgers and hot dogs, while Lighthouse Desserts scoops up ice cream and makes funnel cakes. Pier One Pizza and Taco Wally's always have a line.
Safety RecordIn 2009, a 48-year-old man drowned in the small wave pool. It was the first drowning in the park since it opened in 1979.
Address: 1800 W. 89th Avenue, Federal Heights, CO 80260
Hours: Open May 28 through Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., weather permitting. Starting August 15, it has limited food, rides and attractions.
Price: Day pass: kids 40 inches tall and under are free; children 40 to 47 inches tall are $30.99. General Admission; 48 inches tall and up, $35.99. Seniors 60 and up, $6.99. If visitors arrive mid-day after 1:45, ticket prices are half the full-day price.
Pirates Cove Family Aquatic CenterPirates Cove is a great alternative to the huge and far more expensive thrill-ride water parks. It is perfect for family members of all ages who want a more low-key water adventure experience, especially younger children.
The Dump BucketThe Dump Bucket, located in the leisure pool, is a favorite with Pirates Cove visitors. It is a 750-gallon bucket that slowly fills with water and then tips over and dumps on anyone standing below. The leisure pool area has zero-depth entry, which makes it easy for small children to enter the pool and play.
The Lazy RiverThe Lazy River is popular with inner-tubers and the Spray Garden is a hit with the younger set. Visitors can build a castle in the beach area, slide down the 35-foot Slide Tower or practice diving in the large competitive pool.
Dining OptionsThe Barnacle Cafe offers pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries and churros. Pirates Cove has a shaved ice stand with 50 flavors of syrup. Visitors are allowed to bring coolers into the park but they may be checked for restricted items like alcohol.
Safety RecordResearch revealed no notable news reports of accidents or safety issue at Pirates Cove.
Address: 1225 West Belleview Avenue, Littleton, CO 80120-6014
Hours: The park is open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from May 28 through August 14. It is open weekends only on August 20, 21, 27, 28 and September 3, 4 and 5.
Price: $8 for children two to 17 and seniors; $9.25 for adults 18 to 54. Local residents receive discounted passes.
Other Noteworthy Parks AroundThe Splash Glenwood Hotsprings Pool Elitch Gardens Island Kingdom Old Town Hot Springs Complex Glenwood Whitewater Park
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