Area water parks beat the summer heat
By Annie Alleman June 21, 2013 3:58AM
Deep River Waterpark in Merrillville, Ind., offers activities for kids and parents. | File photo
Updated: July 22, 2013 5:03PM
Summer is heating up, the kids are going nuts and the lawn sprinkler isn’t cutting it anymore.
There are plenty of water parks in the area to slip-slide your summer away, and here are a few suggestions to get you on the path to a wet ‘n’ wild summer.
So grab a good read and your sunscreen and hit the parks. Before you go, check the websites for rain-out policies and other rules including regulations on flotation devices, swim masks, swim diapers, coolers and outside food and drinks.
CHICAGO WATER PARKS: The Chicago Park District operates several pools and water playgrounds across the city. While most of the water playgrounds are adjacent to outdoor swimming pools, there are few freestanding ones at parks across the city. Features may include slides, tire swings and sprays from all angles. Check chicagoparkdistrict.com/facilities/water-playgrounds to find a spot.
CORAL COVE WATER PARK: Dive in to summer at Coral Cove Water Park, owned by the Carol Stream Park District. New this year is a play area and structure that replaces the sand area at the water park. The beach-themed water park features two of the tallest tube waterslides in DuPage County, a deepwater plunge pool with a drop slide and diving board, a large walk-in swimming pool, an interactive water playground, a spray-n-playground for tots, a grassy sun hill and large patio deck with chairs and a cafe operated by RoccoVinos Italian Restaurant. Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays. Pass-holders can get in 30 minutes early. Cost: $9/$5 for residents; free for ages 2 and younger. Five- and 10-visit punch cards available. 849 W. Lies Road, Carol Stream, (630) 784-6100, coralcovewaterpark.com.
THE OASIS: Owned and operated by the Bloomingdale Park District, the Oasis Water Park features three different attractions: ’Cuda Cove, Mango Bay and Otter Island. ’Cuda Cove is an eight-lane competitive pool with a drop slide and 1- and 3-meter diving boards. Mango Bay is a zero-depth entry leisure pool with geysers, spilling buckets, sprayers and water slides. Otter Island is an interactive water playground. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. weekdays, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. weekends to Aug. 11. Pass-holders admitted half-hour early; ’Cuda Cove competitive pool open noon-7 p.m. Postseason (Aug. 16-18 and 23-25 and Aug. 30-Sept. 2) hours are 4-7 p.m. Fridays, noon-5 p.m. weekends and Labor Day. Cost: $9 adult/$7 child and senior nonresidents; $7 adult/$5 child and senior residents. 170 S. Circle Ave., Bloomingdale, Ill. (630) 529-3650, bloomingdaleparks.org.
RAGING WAVES WATERPARK: Prices haven’t increased from summer 2012. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily in June; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. in July and Aug. 1-3; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 4-18, 24, 25 and 31 and Sept. 1-2. The Cowabunga Zip Line is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (until 7 p.m. in July) and is available to people more than 48 inches tall and between 70 and 270 pounds. Zip line is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends to Sept. 29. Cost: $28.99 adult/child taller than 48 inches, $18.99 seniors and children shorter than 48 inches, free for ages 2 and younger. After 3 p.m. $19.99 adult/child taller than 48 inches, $13.99 seniors and children shorter than 48 inches. Zip line costs $10 with park admission; zip line only, $25. Lockers cost extra. 4000 N. Bridge St. (Illinois 47), Yorkville, Ill., (630) 882-6575, ragingwaves.com.
CENTENNIAL BEACH: The former quarry property was purchased as a part of Naperville’s centennial celebration for $16,500 in 1931. Nowadays, more than 135,000 visitors come between Memorial Day to Labor Day to enjoy the sandy beach, shallow-end slide, diving complex, bathhouse and concessions. Water attractions include depths of zero to 15 feet and water buckets. Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays and July 4-Aug. 18. Open 11 a.m.-dusk Aug. 24 and 31, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 25 and Sept. 1-2. Cost: $6 resident/$10 nonresident, $3 after 5 p.m. 500 W. Jackson Ave., Naperville, (630) 848-5092, centennialbeach.org.
OTTER COVE AQUATIC PARK: New for 2013, the Splash Park is no longer a separate amenity with a different entrance fee; it is included with admission to Otter Cove Aquatic Park. Youngsters can enjoy the spray loops, dumping buckets, water wheels and the Frog Bog Toddler Pool. Older children and adults may slither down Salamander Slides, take a ride around Turtle Creek Lazy River and use the spray cannons for some water combat. Don’t forget to build a sand castle. Aquatic park hours: 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays to Aug. 9; 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Aug. 10-20, 4-7 p.m. weekdays and 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Aug. 21-Sept. 1, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 2. Cost: $13, $9 for residents. Twilight, lap swim and group rates available; 10-time passes available. 3615 Campton Hills Road, St. Charles, Ill., (630) 513-4377, ottercove.org.
HAROLD HALL QUARRY BEACH: Hall Quarry Beach occupies a former stone quarry owned by the Batavia (Ill.) Park District. It features a sand-bottom swimming area covering 60,000 square feet that includes concessions, islands, sandy beach, slides and a diving area. There’s a playground and plenty of picnic tables as well. Hours: noon-6 p.m. daily, with extended hours until 7 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to Aug. 18. Cost: $11, $8 resident. Way Back Wednesdays pricing is $6/$3. Twilight specials from 5-7 p.m. 400 S. Water St., Batavia, Ill., (630) 879-5235, bataviaparks.org.
PHILLIPS PARK AQUATIC CENTER: This park co-owned by Fox Valley Park District and the city of Aurora offers two drop-off slides into a plunge pool, one twisting enclosed body slide, two winding body slides, kid-friendly areas with spray guns, waterfall, a small slide and dumping coconut tree; two regulation sand volleyball courts, a full-service concession stand with umbrella tables, a sand play area with seating and shade and lap-lane swimming at designated times. Check the website for special events, themed days, concessions menu and admission prices. Hours: noon-to 7 p.m. daily to Aug. 18 (season pass-holders admitted at 11:30 a.m. Mondays-Fridays) and Aug. 24-25 and Aug. 31-Sept. 1. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 4 and Labor Day. 828 Montgomery Road, Aurora, (630) 851-8686, foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.
SPLASH COUNTRY WATER PARK: Splash Country features six-lane zero-depth pool with children’s play features, the second-largest lazy river in Illinois with 1,100 feet winding through dumping buckets, sprayers, jets and a bubbling rapids; one winding, enclosed tube slide; one winding, open tube slide; an enclosed kid-friendly area with spray guns, waterfall and other interactive features for kids shorter than 48 inches tall; two regulation sand volleyball courts; full concession stand with umbrella tables; sand play area with seating and shade and lap-lane swimming at designated times. Look for special events and themed days throughout summer. Hours: noon-7 p.m. daily to Aug. 11; pass-holders admitted at 11:30 a.m. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 4. See website for full concessions menu, themed days, special events and admission prices. 195 S. Barnes Road, Aurora, (630) 906-7981, foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.
SPLASH STATION WATERPARK: Joliet’s Splash Station opened in 2002 on a site that was originally a gravel strip-mining operation dating to 1903. A railroad line moved the gravel across the property along U.S. 6 for processing; therefore, the railroad motif for the park was developed. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy the Midwest’s only 200-foot, six-lane racing slide; a 865-foot lazy river and enclosed body slide; an open body slide; an open tube slide, an enclosed tube slide; a zero-depth pool; a sandy play area and a full concession stand. Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays to Aug. 11. (Pass-holders admitted at 10:30 a.m.) Open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 4. Cost: Nonresident, $13, $9 kids 48 inches and shorter. Resident, $9/$6. Free for ages 3 and younger. Twilight and senior swim discounts available. 2780 Channahon Road, Joliet, (815) 741-7275, jolietsplashstation.com.
HIDDEN CREEK AQUAPARK: Hidden Creek features a winding water slide and a drop slide, water playground with dump bucket, sand area, lap pool, concession stand and special events throughout summer. Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Fridays-Sundays to Aug. 18. Open 11 a.m.-10:15 p.m. July 4. Open 4:30-8 p.m. Aug. 19-Sept. 1 and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 2. Cost: $13; $8 residents. Free for ages 3 and younger. Twilight rates and 10-time resident punch cards available. 1220 Fredrickson Place, Highland Park, Ill., (847) 433-3170, pdhp.org.
OAK BROOK PARK DISTRICT FAMILY AQUATICS CENTER: This indoor park offers a water playground with geysers, a 105-foot-long slide, six lap lanes, 10-person whirlpool and zero-depth entry. Hours: 6-9:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 4-8 p.m. Fridays, noon-3:30 p.m. weekends. Water slide is closed Mondays-Wednesday. Cost: Nonresident $12, $8 ages 3-17 and seniors. Resident $10, $6 ages 3-17 and seniors. 1450 Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook, (630) 990-4233, obparks.org.
PELICAN HARBOR INDOOR/OUTDOOR AQUATIC PARK: This indoor-outdoor park offers a lazy river with an adventure channel, four speed slides, diving well, spray playground, a zero-depth entry pool, beach volleyball, sand playground area, picnic area, concessions and family changing areas. The indoor park has a lap pool, two water slides, tumble buckets, Parkie the Pelican tot slide, drop slide and 10-person hot tub. Hours: noon-8 p.m. weekdays, noon-6 p.m. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. Pass-holders admitted half-hour early. Twilight hours or rates available. Cost: $15, $8 residents, free ages younger then 2. 200 S. Lindsey Lane, Bolingbrook, (630) 739-1705, (630) 739-0272, www.bolingbrookparks.org.
ATCHER ISLAND: Schaumburg Park District’s Polynesian-themed water park has water slides, a unique circular drop slide, children’s sprayground and more. Concessions are available on-site. Hours: 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. weekdays and noon-8 p.m. weekends to Aug. 18. Cost: Nonresident $9/$7 kids. Resident $7/$5 kids. Free for ages younger than 2. 730 S. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg, (847) 985-2135, parkfun.com.
CYPRESS COVE FAMILY AQUATIC PARK: This water park features a sprayground with geysers, water curtain and oversized dumping bucket; a zero depth pool; a 600-foot lazy river; three body slides, a tube slide; a kiddie slide; a tot flume slide; a sand play area and concession stands. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. daily
to Aug. 16. Open 11:30-5 p.m. July 4. Check website for modified postseason hours Aug. 17-Sept. 2. Cost: Nonresidents $14, $7 seniors, free for ages younger than 1. Residents: $8, $4 seniors. Discounted price after 5 p.m. 8301 S. James Ave., Woodridge, Ill., (630) 985-5620, woodridgeparks.org.
DOLPHIN COVE FAMILY AQUATIC CENTER: The Discovery Fountain in the Sandcastle Beach area has bubblers, a flushing funnel, flow gates and paddle wheel. There is a zero-depth beach area with geysers and slides for small children. There is also Rip Tide body slide and the Typhoon tube slide as well as the Sand Bar Cafe and gift shop. Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays, noon-6 p.m. weekends to Aug. 13. Weekends only Aug. 14-Sept. 2. Cost: $7.50, $6.50 ages 3-9 and seniors. Residents: $5, $4 ages 3-9 and seniors. Reduced rates in evening. 300 N. Kennedy Drive (Illinois 25 and Illinois 68), Carpentersville, Ill., (847) 836-7946, dtpd.org.
SEA LION AQUATIC PARK: Sea Lion Park features a zero-depth/lap pool, drop and flume slides, zero-depth tot pool, sand play area and splash playground. Hours: 11:30 a..m.-8 p.m. daily to Aug. 18. Open 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. July 4. See website for modified postseason hours Aug. 19-Sept. 2. Cost: Nonresident $13, resident $7. Seniors discounted $1. Free for ages younger than 2. 1825 Short St., Lisle, Ill., (630) 964-3410, lisleparkdistrict.org.
STINGRAY BAY FAMILY AQUATIC CENTER: This park features two 138-foot-long water slides, two tot slides, rain drop, large sand play area, sand volleyball court, diving boards, swimming lanes, zero-depth simulated beach area, four floating animal features and much more. Hours: 11:15 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11:15 a.m.-8 p.m. Fridays, 12:15-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Park opens 15 minutes earlier daily for season pass-holders. Last day of the season is determined by staff availability; weekend hours will continue to Sept. 2. Cost: Ages younger than 3 admitted free. Resident/nonresident ages 4-17 is $6/$8; adults (ages 18-54) $8/$10; seniors (ages 55 and older) $7/$9. After 5 p.m. for all ages: $4/$6. 12219 Lois Lane in Betsey Warrington Park, Huntley, Ill., (847) 515-7665, huntleyparks.org.
MAYAN ADVENTURE INDOOR WATER PARK: The Waverton Hotel has an indoor water park with a tube slide, body slide, lazy river, family activity pool with water basketball and 300-gallon dumping basket. Hours: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. to August. Cost: $30 full-day pass, $20 half-day pass. Ages younger than 2 are free. 624 N. York St., Elmhurst, (630) 834-2329, waverton.htkdev.com.
HURRICANE HARBOR: The water park at Six Flags Great America features a plethora of water rides for all thrill levels — from the mild Buccaneer Bay and Castaway Creek lazy river to the maximum-thrills of the six-story Tornado and the harrowing, aptly named Mega Wedgie. Hours: 12:15-6 p.m. daily to Aug. 11; then daily hours vary to Sept. 2. Cost: $63.99/$43.99 for children shorter than 48 inches. Buy tickets online and save $20. Weekday ticket purchased online costs $38.99 (excluding July 4.) Your ticket gets you into Hurricane Harbor and Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, (847) 249-4636, sixflags.com.
WHITE WATER CANYON WATER PARK: White Water Canyon Water Park encompasses 5 acres of family fun. The main pool features a zero depth entry with an interactive children’s play area, a 1-meter diving board,and a 3-meter drop slide. There is also a 600-foot-long lazy river and a sprayground with interactive fountains, water cannons, arches that spray, flowers that squirt and dumping buckets. There is also a sand play area full of buckets, scoops, shovels and a triple sand and water play table. Don’t miss the full-service concession stand. Hours: noon-9 p.m. daily, noon-8:30 p.m. during July, noon-6 p.m. July 4. Late summer hours begin Aug. 19 and are 4-8 p.m. daily and noon-8 p.m. weekends to Labor Day. Cost: $13/$7 residents. 8221 W. 171st St., Tinley Park, (708) 342-4200, tinleyparkdistrict.org.
DEEP RIVER WATERPARK: Family park featuring the Dragon and 10 other rides and play activities. Waterslides, wave pools, child’s activity area, sand volleyball, cafes and more. Hours: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. daily to Aug. 11; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31 and Sept. 1-2. Cost: $22.95, $13.95 for shorter than 46 inches, $16.95 seniors. $19.95, $11.95 shorter than 46 inches, $14.95 seniors after 2 p.m. From Aug. 12-15 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily: $15.95, $11.95 shorter than 46 inches, $12.95 seniors. $13.95, $8.95 shorter than 46 inches, $10.95 seniors after 2 p.m. 9001 E. U.S. 30, Crown Point, Ind., (219) 947-7850, deepriverwaterpark.com.
Annie Alleman is a local freelance writer.