12/13/2011 03:40 pm ET

Water Parks In Arkansas: A Huffington Post Travel Guide

Water parks in Arkansas combine the thrills of an amusement park with the refreshing heat relief of a pool. Because these parks aim to be a one-stop family destination, they feature attractions that can entertain and thrill all age groups. 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 Arkansas parks.

Magic Springs & Crystal Falls

At Magic Springs & Crystal Falls, you can spend the cool mornings and evening hours riding this facility's many amusement park rides, and then find relief from the heat splashing around in and on its many water attractions. With a variety of slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, a kiddie area and other fun water attractions, this park has something to keep each member of the family entertained for hours.

Boogie Down

Although the Crystal Falls water park area already had a large wave pool, it recently added a surf simulator called Boogie Blast. This attraction allows wannabe surfers to learn the art of shredding waves on a boogie board without having to go the ocean, get sand in their shorts or worry about a shark looking for an easy meal.

Race Away

Want to see who can slide faster, you or your friends? Hop aboard one of Rapid Falls Raceway's six 50-foot-high slides and challenge your buddies to a race. Little kids have their own area, Bear Cub Bend, that boasts a wading pool and age-appropriate water activities.


Most of the concession stands at Magic Springs & Crystal Falls sell standard amusement park fare, such as pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken tenders. For something a little different, try the park's Ouachita Mountain Barbecue Company, which sells smoked BBQ and turkey legs. Magic Springs & Crystal Falls does not allow outside food into the park, but it does have picnic tables available outside the park.

Safety Record

In 2008, a visitor to Magic Springs & Crystal Falls claimed that a bench broke and caused her injury. No other significant injuries or deaths have been reported recently. Ellis & Associates recently awarded the lifeguards at Crystal Falls an "Exceeds" score after an unannounced audit of the park's safety and risk management operations.

Address: 1701 E. Grand Ave., Hot Springs, AR 71901
Phone: 501-624-0100
Hours: The park is open for limited hours in April, May, August and September. It is open daily in June and July. The park generally opens at 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. and closes typically at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. depending on the day of the week and the month.
Price: General admission, $44.99; junior (shorter than 48 inches) or seniors, age 55 and over, $29.99; children younger than 3, free.

Wild River Country

If you believe variety is the spice of life, head to Wild River Country, the biggest water park in Arkansas. In addition to having a large selection of crazy slides, this North Little Rock park is home to Arkansas's biggest wave pool.

Get Flushed

Thrill seekers will enjoy the Vertigo slide. On Vertigo, riders plunge through a fully enclosed tube into a toilet-like bowl, where they spin lower and lower until they are finally "flushed" out into a pool below.

Kids' Play Area

At Wild River Country, kids have their own play area, the Tad Pool, where they can splash to their heart's content, and their own raft slide, the Sidewinder. Of course, it's almost expected that a water park will have a lazy river, and Wild River Country has two -- one for leisurely floating and another with twisting turns and rapids.

Snacks And Picnics

Wild River Country has a number of concession stands that serve standard amusement park-type food like hamburgers, pizza, pretzels and sodas. While the park does not allow people to bring in outside food, it does have an area located just outside its entrance for picnicking.

Safety Record

In 2002, two people claimed they were injured on the Pipeline ride when they fell out of a tube. No other significant injuries or deaths have been reported recently at the park. Wild River Country has a security guard and an EMT on duty when the park is open.

Address: 6820 Crystal Hill Road, North Little Rock, AR 72118
Phone: 501-753-8600
Hours: Wild River Country is open on a limited schedule during May, August and September. It is open daily in June and July. Hours are generally from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays, the park is open from noon to 8 p.m. Hours may vary, so please check the website before visiting.
Price: Regular admission: adults, $29.99; children 3 to 12, $19.99; spectators, $13.99. After 3 p.m.: all ages, $19.99; children younger than 2 and seniors 60 and older, free.

Other Noteworthy Parks Near Arkansas

Arkadelphia Aquatic Park
Willow Springs
Splash Zone Water Park
Splash Kingdom Waterpark
Alma Water Park

What's your favorite water park in Arkansas?

Check out more WATER PARKS.


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