Fountains of Youth: 5 Water Parks Where Grandparents Can Make a Big Splash with Their Grandkids! Joseph Decibus May 23, 2017 Family Travel, Interests Whether you’re best friends with your grandkids or just beginning to bond, treating them to a day at a water park can be a great way to dive into a summer full of good times together. For water parks are to grandkids as water is to life. That’s just a basic fact of kid chemistry. A water park can be a spiritual elixir of laughs, pure liquid joy, and a shrill thrill of sonic youth set adrift in a sea of fun. If racing along with your grandkids down a five- or six-story water slide isn’t your cup of tea though, no worries. You can float with them in the lazy rivers and wave pools at the water parks, or pull up a lounge chair in the shade and delight in watching how they porpoise around. So check out our water park picks below and then call your grandkids – and your “kids” too – and make a date with them to drink from your favorite fountain of youth. At the New Volcano Bay Water Theme Park from Universal, ‘Water is Life. Life is Joy.’ Volcano Bay Water Park / Artist’s Conceptual Rendering. Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort. If you think that sliding into a sea that contains the secret of time and that was created by the tears of a heartbroken goddess will enchant your grandkids (and you) as much as a scene from a Harry Potter story does, then head to Volcano BayTM at Universal Orlando ResortTM in Orlando, Florida. It’s themed on an imaginative South Pacific island tale dreamed up by Universal Creative. Touted as a new kind of water park by Universal, Volcano Bay features a novel system that’s designed to let you enjoy its amusements without standing on long lines or lugging around rafts. The Waturi inhabitants of the park will present you with an exclusive TapuTapuTM wristband with which you pre-schedule your activities. So, for example, you can set up a time for your body water slide with a few taps of your TapuTapu on a ride’s totem and then go off and do something else, like eat, until it’s your turn to slide. Carefree then, you can immerse yourself in the park’s ambiance of dramatic myth, blue pools of pleasure and paradise, and tropical island balminess. And the thrills amid relaxation all revolve around a man-made volcano that spouts waterfalls by day and faux lava by night and that is at the heart of the park and its legend. Ohno Drop Slide at Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park / Courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort Volcano Bay features 18 attractions, ranging in style from daring to serene, in four differently themed areas of the park. So there’s something for the whole family, young and older alike. Just some of the attractions include: ► a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches; ► a lazy, winding river; ► twisting multi-rider raft rides; and, ► speedy body water slides that drop from the top of the volcano. Of course, nothing goes better with all of this water sliding than sliding airfare prices to Orlando. Some of the lowest airfare that we’ve seen is available to make your trip that much more enjoyable. Additional Details Daily Admission: $80 per adult (10 years of age or older).* Cost per child (3-9 years of age) varies by day* Fees and taxes may also apply to admission. * These rates do not apply to Florida residents who get special tickets and passes. Parking: $20 per car per day, which includes a shuttle ride from the Universal Studios parking lot to the water park. Season: Volcano Bay’s Grand Opening was on May 25th, 2017. The Orlando Resorts are open 365 days per year. All prices shown are the basic daily rates found on the water park’s website, and are not guaranteed in any way by CheapOair, its parent, or its affiliates. Nor is any representation made here that these prices are guaranteed by the water park itself, which can change them without advance notice as it sees fit. The New Cedar Point Shores Water Park Offers 18 Acres of Splish Splashin’ Family Fun Cedar Point, which calls itself the roller coaster capital of the world, and is known as “America’s Roller Coast,” is an amusement park that’s very much in the American grain, created as it was in Sandusky, Ohio just after the Civil War. An early German immigrant named Louis Zistel, who had the job of taking Confederate soldiers by steam boat to a Union prison on a nearby island, opened a beer garden on Cedar Point peninsula in the 1870s that reputedly paved the way for this amusement park. Having grown by leaps and bounds over the years, Cedar Point declared in 2016 that its Soak City water park was all washed up and that it would revamp, redevelop, and rename it. And so in 2017, Cedar Point Shores Water Park debuted in its place with new attractions, expanded shower, changing and cabana facilities, and updated food venues. Other features include a poolside bar, additional shade areas, enhanced landscaping, and a beautiful view of Lake Erie. Just some of the new aquatic amusements include: ► Point Plummet (awesome name!), which has four massive, six-story aqua drop body water slides down which you plummet in a near vertical free-fall when the floor drops out from underneath you (yeah grandkids do this stuff!); ► Starboard Surge and Portside Plunge, which are five-story tube water slides; and, ► Lakeslide Landing, which is a family splash ground with 12 kid-sized water slides. Additional Details Daily Admission: Regular: $39.99 per person 3 – 61 years of age and 48″ tall or taller in bare feet. Jr/Sr: $26 per person 3 – 61 years of age and under 48″ tall in bare feet OR anyone 62 or older. Additional fees and taxes may also apply to admission. Cedar Point Shores Water Park has a separate entrance from that of the Cedar Point amusement park. Parking: $20 – $40 per car per day, depending on whether you buy regular, preferred (closer to park entrance), or valet. Season: May 27 (first day for general public) until October. (Check the park’s online calendar to verify the date you want.) All prices shown are the basic daily rates found on the water park’s website, and are not guaranteed in any way by CheapOair, its parent, or its affiliates. Nor is any representation made here that these prices are guaranteed by the water park itself, which can change them without advance notice as it sees fit. Noah’s Ark Water Park Offers an Experience of Biblical Proportions Big Kahuna Wave Pool at Noah’s Ark / by Jeremy Thompson. Creative Commons License 2.0 Noah’s Ark Water Park is the largest water park in America according to TravelWisconsin.com, the official website of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, and it’s located in Wisconsin Dells, the Waterpark Capital of the World. Noah’s Ark is one of twenty plus indoor and outdoor water parks in the Dells that together hold a total of 16 million gallons of water. (And you thought that Wisconsin was just dairy land.) So if you want to take your grandkids water park hopping, the Dells is probably one of the best places to do it – with Noah’s Ark making a fine starting point. Noah’s Ark is massive! Spanning 70 acres, it holds five million gallons of water and has three miles of water slides, according to the Department. Noah’s Ark has a range of aquatic rides and adventures from thrillers like Point of No Return, which is a nearly vertical plunge slide that blurs the line between thrill and pure terror; to group rides like the Time Warp in which several members of your family can ride together; to kiddie and gentle rides like the Endless River. But if you prefer to only get splashed with images, you can take in a movie at the 4D Dive-In Theater. Additional Details Daily Admission: A General Admission Good Any Day ticket is $34.99 Jr/Sr: For guests under 48” tall or 55 years of age or older, a General Admission ticket is $24.99 Additional fees and taxes may also apply to admission. If you stay at the nearby Delton Oaks Resort, tickets to Noah’s Ark Water Park are included as an amenity. Parking: $15 per car per day for general parking. Season: Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. (Check the park’s online calendar to verify the date you want.) All prices shown are the basic daily rates found on the water park’s website, and are not guaranteed in any way by CheapOair, its parent, or its affiliates. Nor is any representation made here that these prices are guaranteed by the water park itself, which can change them without advance notice as it sees fit. At Waldameer and Water World, Whet Your Grandkids’ Appetites for History and Epic Fun “The Battle of Lake Erie” is a newer family water complex addition that brings 103 new interactive water attractions to Waldameer and Water World, a historic, family-owned amusement park in Erie, Pennsylvania that has been entertaining people of all ages since 1896. (Incidentally, the Battle of Lake Erie on which this new complex is themed was fought in the War of 1812.) 7 new water slides and a giant tipping bucket will be included in the addition too. When it comes to summer fun, Waldameer gives you the best of both worlds with traditional amusement park rides like roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, flying swings and thrill rides as well as the water park, which includes 19 different water slides of varying thrill levels, the new interactive area for families, and one of the largest wave pools in this part of the country. Check out the video below for an overview of some of this park’s features. Additional Details Daily Admission: Free; you only pay if you want to use the water park or amusement rides. Prices for using the water park are as follows: For guests 48” tall and taller, the price is $29.00. For guests under 48” tall, the price is $23.00. A 1-day senior combo pass for people 60 years old or older is $31.50 Additional fees and taxes may apply. Note: Amusement park rides have different prices. Parking: Free Season: May 26th to September 4th. (Check the park’s online calendar to verify the date you want.) All prices shown are the basic daily rates found on the water park’s website, and are not guaranteed in any way by CheapOair, its parent, or its affiliates. Nor is any representation made here that these prices are guaranteed by the water park itself, which can change them without advance notice as it sees fit. Water Country USA at Busch Gardens, Where Water Reigns, Welcomes All Part of the SeaWorld archipelago of water parks, Water Country USA is associated with nearby Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia. After a car ride on the hot highways and byways to this water park, you can cruise along on a much cooler one, the Hubba Hubba Highway, a 1,500 foot long, not-so lazy river that people of all ages can just jump right into (Hubba Hubba style, of course), and ride along on its current for a 3.5 acre trip through the park, meeting plenty of park guests along the way. This water park also offers about 11 slides and rides of varying thrill levels, including ones that are designed for family adventure. For the more daring among your family, there’s the Nitro Racer slide and the Jet Scream; and, for colossal family refreshment and fun, there’s the Colossal Curl slide, which is, well, a colossal favorite. This park also has a wave pool, a rock ‘n’ roll area, and a kids area. And, of course, another big advantage of this park is that you can also buy a ticket to go to Busch Gardens, if you like. Check out the video below for an interesting overview of the park and a look at Colossal Curl. Additional Details Daily Admission: A 1-day ticket is about $75 for guests 3 years of age and older. Additional taxes and fees may also apply to admission. Parking: $17 per car per day. Season: May 20th to September 10th. (Always check the park’s online calendar to verify your dates.) All prices shown are the basic daily rates found on the water park’s website, and are not guaranteed in any way by CheapOair, its parent, or its affiliates. Nor is any representation made here that these prices are guaranteed by the water park itself, which can change them without advance notice as it sees fit. A Cautionary Note Those first, angelic spins with your grandchild in the lazy river of a water park… Munchkin and Nana at Ocean Breeze Water Park / by Rain0975 Creative Commons License 2.0. …could very well lead to the development of a devil-may-care attitude in your grandchild later on in life… Summer Fun / by Paul Falardeau Creative Commons License 2.0. More Helpful Tips Here are some tips that you might want to consider prior to going to a water park: ► Many of the rides at the parks have restrictions that include height minimums and weight minimums/maximums. So you may want to review these on a park’s website to ensure that you and your grandkids will be able to do all that you want to do. ► Take water shoes to protect your feet as you explore a water park. ► If you have special needs, contact the water park in advance to see if arrangements can be made for you. ► For an extra fee, you can buy express/fast lane passes at some of the parks that enable you to skip the regular lines, including virtual ones. ► Do to occasional staffing shortage problems, some parks will have to temporarily close rides. ► At some parks, the hours of operation can vary depending on the day. So always check a park’s online calendar for the most up-to-date information. Also, stated opening and closing times for the parks can sometimes be changed without advance notice due to variables such as weather or attendance. A Splash of Poetry – Just for Fun And we wrap it up for now on the following poetic note: After treating the grandkids, don’t forget to treat yourself to some special fun just for grandparents! Everyone has a favorite water park. What’s yours?