Water parks in Illinois bring a little bit of the tropics to the Midwest, with sun, fun and thrill rides. Whether you're looking for a fun outing with small children or a vacation with teens, Illinois water parks offer everything from toddler pools to tubing to daring rides that will make you scream. 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 Illinois water parks.
Hurricane Harbor At Six Flags Great America
Dubbing itself the "Greatest Water Park in the Nation," Hurricane Harbor is the only place to surf on Lake Michigan, with 16 attractions covering over 100,000 square feet. Huge in itself, Hurricane Harbor is also part of Six Flags Great America, one of the Midwest's biggest amusement parks.
Ride The WaveHurricane Bay is a giant wave pool that churns 1/2 million gallons of water. Also notable is Hurricane Mountain, a gentle tube ride from the top of the park's four-story mountain.
Water AttractionsHurricane Harbor offers a wide range of water attractions, from the family-friendly Buccaneer Bay and the water playground Skull Island to a surf simulator and giant water slides, to maximum-thrill rides such as the Tornado (a seven-story water funnel) and the Dive Bomber, a super-fast free-fall water slide that drops five stories.
Park FareGuests find lots of burgers, hot dogs and funnel cakes at Hurricane Harbors. Grown-ups can enjoy a beer or Mai Tai at the park's tiki bar, 5 O'Clock Phil's or at Saltwater Sal's Beachside Bar.
Safety RecordNo verified serious accidents have been reported for Hurricane Harbor Great America in Chicago, however Theme Park Insider has a log of unverified injuries at the park.
Address: 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, IL 60031
Hours: Hurricane Harbor is open every day from May 28 to September 5 from 11:45 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: Tickets include entrance to Great America: adults, $56.99; children shorter than 48 inches, $34.99; children younger than 2, free.
Raging Rivers WaterPark
A beautiful location with a full view of the Mississippi River, Raging Rivers WaterPark offers eight water attractions, including a huge wave pool, body flumes, and tubing down the Endless River. Rides range from the kids-only Itty Bitty Surf City to the Swirlpool just for bigger kids, teens and adults.
Ready For A Swirl?Raging Rivers is the only water park in the country to offer the Swirlpool, a tunnel flume that leads into a large spinning vortex, followed by a drop into 7-foot-deep water. The bravest riders can choose the enclosed Swirlpool, which is pitch dark until the drop.
Other AttractionsAll ages can play in Treehouse Harbor, a giant water playground. Sunbathers can enjoy the Breaker Beach area around the wave pool.
Food OptionsRaging Rivers offers three main food options: Surf Side Cafe, serving burgers, hot dogs and pizza; Casa del Rios, serving tacos, burritos and other Mexican fare; and Riverside Grille, catering to adults with snacks, beer and margaritas.
Safety RecordOur research revealed no notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Raging Rivers.
Address: 100 Palisades Parkway, Grafton, IL 62037
Hours: The park is open 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and until 7 p.m. June 11 to August 7; closed August 8 through August 26.
Price: Adults, $19.95; children (shorter than 48 inches) and seniors (60 and older), $16.95; children younger than 2, free.
Other Noteworthy Parks Near IllinoisMagic Waters Waterpark
KeyLime Cove Resort
CoCo Key Water Resort
What's your favorite water park in Illinois?
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