Water parks in Chicago are mostly located in the suburbs, but the trek is worth it. The area's water parks are among Illinois' largest and most thrilling, with everything from speed slides that deliver 38 mile-per-hour fun to kid-friendly water forts made for exploring. 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 Chicago's water parks.
KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark ResortKeyLime Cove offers a Florida-style vacation in the heart of the Midwest. You have to stay at the resort to get access to the indoor waterpark, but there are 65,000 square feet of water thrills here to keep the whole family entertained during a multi-day, mini-vacation. Plus, it's only a short walk away from Six Flags Great America. To top it off, some specials include overnight accommodations, entry to the waterpark and admission to Six Flags.
Enter The VortexThe Hurricane Vortex is a swirling whirlpool ride for thrill-enthusiasts. The ride sweeps guests around a stormy path before ending up in the gentle currents of the Lazy River.
Other Wet AttractionsOther attractions include the Splash Down and Slip Slidin' Away, two 500-foot-long body slides, and the Wahoo and Screaming Banshee, which ends in a lagoon. The Tsunami Washout Wavepool allows guests to float around with the tide, while the KeyLime Grotto promises relaxation for parents at the end of a long day.
Choose Your FareThe resort has six restaurants on site; menus incorporate everything from tropical twists like jerk chicken salad to classic American burgers and fries.
Safety RecordWhile some guests have voiced concerns over the slipperiness of the floors at the resort, safety hazards like these exist at many water parks. Our research revealed no notable news reports of accidents at KeyLime Cove.
Address: 1700 Nations Drive, Gurnee, IL 60031
Hours: Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: Rates for two start at $129.99, including overnight stay, entry to the water park, and activities at Leapin' Lizards.
Raging Waves claims it's the biggest water park in Illinois, spanning 45 acres. According to Waterparks.com, Raging Waves is about 45 minutes west of the Chicago loop. With 18 slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, 20 private cabanas and kid-friendly designated areas, the Aussie-inspired park offers thrills, spills and splashes for everyone. Ninety percent of the attractions are multi-person rides, which means the park allows for daylong group and family fun. USA Today named Raging Waves the top new summer destination in Illinois when it opened in 2008.
Crowd FavoriteThe Boomerang is a crowd favorite. Guests climb on a tube with up to three friends, whoosh down the slide, drop into the funnel and shoot far up its sides before taking a soaking plunge down into the pool below.
Wild SlidesPJ's Plummet draws thrill-seekers with it's 65 feet high starting point. The speed slide allows riders to plummet downward at 38 miles per hour. Other notable attractions include the Three Sisters, a curvy trio of tube slides that direct riders into a pool adjoining Kookaberra Kreek and the Crocodile Mile Family Raft Ride, which begins far above the park and ends with a splash.
SnacksRaging Waves offers the standard fast-food fare as well as some snacks such as funnel cakes and Aussie shaved ice.
Safety RecordOur research revealed no notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Raging Waves. The water park's general manager Mike Fijas serves on the Safety Board for the World Waterpark Association.
Address: 4000 N. Bridge St., Yorkville, IL 60560
Hours: June, August, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; July, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday through Thursday; Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Price: Adults, 48 inches and taller, $28.99; children shorter than 48 inches and seniors, $18.99; children 2 and younger, free. There are also special discounts for admission after 3 p.m.
Other Noteworthy Parks Near ChicagoWilderness Resort Water Parks, Wisconsin Dells Mayan Adventure Indoor Waterpark Cypress Cove Family Aquatic Park Rainbow Falls Waterpark Seascape Aquatic Center
What's your favorite water park near Chicago?
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