Water parks in Virginia offer a cool way to beat this state's typically hot and humid summer months. For families looking for the best entertainment value for their dollar, Virginia's water parks provide aquatic wonderlands filled with play areas and wading pools for the little ones; crazy high-speed slides and rides for teens and adults; plus wave pools and lazy rivers that all can enjoy. 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 Virginia's water parks.
Water Country USA
Water Country USA is set in the middle of Virginia's Historic Triangle area and features more slides and rides than any other water park in the Mid-Atlantic region. Locals and savvy out-of-towners alike know to buy a combo ticket for this park and nearby Busch Gardens. The tickets allow guests to beat the heat in refreshing Water Country during the day and go crazy on Busch Gardens' roller coasters and other rides during the cooler parts of the day and at night.
Vanish PointIf you want to experience the sensation of having a floor drop out from under you and falling 75 feet, then Water Country's newest addition, Vanish Point, is the slide for you. Actually, Vanish Point is four slides: This beast boasts two tubes with drop-away floors and two slides where you lie down and plunge 300 feet straight down. Either way, prepare to have a screaming good time.
Crazy Slides And Wave PoolsWater Country USA offers a variety of other crazy slides, the largest wave pool in all of Virginia and a 1,500-foot lazy river. For the little ones, Water Country has designed three play areas just for them: Cow-A-Bunga, a 4,500-square-foot heated wading pool with small slides and play areas; H20 UFO, a large water fort filled with splashing and spraying activities; and Kritter Korral, another splash and play zone.
Fast Food FavoritesGuests can enjoy amusement park favorites like hot dogs, pizza and chicken fingers at Water Country's Catalina Grill and Cosmic Cafe. For those looking for lighter fare, the Surfside Market serves deli wraps and fruit. Outside food and drinks are not allowed in the park, but there is a picnic area just outside the front entrance.
Safety RecordOther than an unusual incident that occurred In 1996, in which a guest was mysteriously shot while standing in the wave pool, there have been no recent media reports of any serious accidents or incidents at Water Country USA.
Address: 176 Water Country Pkwy, Williamsburg, VA 23185
Hours: Water Country USA opens at 10 a.m. and closes between 5 and 8 p.m., depending on the day and month. The park is open daily in June, July and August, and on a limited basis in May and September.
Price: Regular admission is $46.99; children 3 to 9 cost $39.99; and for children 2 and under admission is free. Discovery Ticket, good for seven days to both Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, admission for 3 and up, is $74.99.
SplashDown Waterpark is located in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Manassas. It is the largest water park in the Northern Virginia area and offers a refreshing oasis from the area's busy and often harried lifestyle. The park features a 770-foot lazy river, slides, areas designed specifically for younger children and a wave pool.
Pipeline TowerSplashDown's Pipeline Tower consists of two four-story curving water slides that tower above the rest of the park. To avoid the longest lines, head straight to these slides as soon as the park opens.
Hit The Lazy RiverThis park's lazy river is a fun, refreshing and leisurely way to spend the day. Float down the river with your friends or family members and let the river's gentle current do all the work. No real lines here, just grab a tube and slip in the water. To ensure it lives up to its motto -- "It's like a day at the beach without the drive" -- SplashDown has a large sand beach area where kids can play.
Pizza And BBQSplashDown guests can choose from pizza or sandwiches at Paradise Pizza; barbecued pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers from Coney Island Cafe; or fries, cheese sticks and other snack foods at Beach Break Boardwalk. SplashDown also offers catering and pavilion rentals for large parties or groups.
In The NewsThere have been no recent accidents or incidents reported at SplashDown Waterpark in the media. Lifeguard services for SplashDown are provided by the Prince William Park Authority, which has not had a fatality at any of its eight facilities since it first began in 1978. In addition, Prince William Park Authority has been awarded the Silver International Aquatic Safety Award by Jeff Ellis & Associates, a safety and risk management consulting company that performs unannounced safety audits on aquatic facilities.
Address: 7500 Ben Lomond Park Dr., Manassas, VA 20109
Hours: SplashDown opens on a limited basis from Memorial Day until mid-June. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. After mid-June, the park is open daily until about the last week in August. During this time, SplashDown opens at 11 a.m. and closes between 7 and 10 p.m., depending on the day and month. Call the park or check its website for more details.
Price: SplashDown admission: 2 and under, free; under 48 inches, $10.95; 48 inches and above, $14.95; seniors older than 55, $9; after 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, $9; military discount, $2 off with ID for the entire family.
Other Noteworthy Parks Near VirginiaWater Mine Family Swimmin' Hole
Ocean Breeze Water Park
Volcano Island Waterpark
Cobblestones Park Splash Zone Waterpark
What's your favorite water park in Virginia?
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