If winter’s cold weather sends chills down your spine and you can’t splurge on a trip to a remote tropical paradise, an indoor waterpark might be your family’s best bet this year. With several close enough for an overnight or weekend trip, these local paradises are popping up all over the Midwest, offering warm-weather fun for the whole family and a chance to get away from the busy lives we lead. Check out these hidden hot spots for your winter getaway.
Caribbean Cove Waterpark
Indianapolis, IN—3.5 hours from Peoria
The “tropical explosion of water fun” offered at Caribbean Cove will appeal to the whole family. The only indoor waterpark in Indiana provides year-round fun in its 50,000-square-foot aquatic playground.
Kids of all ages will enjoy Caribbean Cove’s body and tube slides, which “shoot guests outside the water park, around the building and back inside the park before their final splashdown into the plunge pool.” Kastaway Kidz interactive shipwrecked island entertains young ones with a 700-gallon bucket dumping station, wading pool and kiddie slide. Parents can kick back in the leisure river and two spas or get moving in the Octopus Bay sports activity pool.
Connected to the Holiday Inn North at the Pyramids on two levels, Caribbean Cove’s close proximity to hotel rooms, snack bar and other amenities gives guests an easy one-stop vacation destination.
Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort
Utica, IL—1.5 hours from Peoria
Grand Bear Falls at Grizzly Jack’s Resort opened in 2005 as the first indoor waterpark in Illinois. With 24,000 square feet of aquatic fun, some might consider this a small spot. But its location, many amenities and operational hours make it a sure place for family fun.
The indoor water park offers fun for everyone. Young children will enjoy the tot area and shallow play structure. You’ll find older children enjoying the two very fast, four-story waterslides and catching waves in the wave pool. The big bucket which dumps large volumes of water on those below every few minutes will appeal to kids of all ages, and parents will find the lazy river and spa great places to sit back and relax.
Adjacent to Starved Rock State Park, this getaway also offers hiking, fishing, horseback riding, golfing and much more close by. Grizzly Jack’s is a destination resort, “where fun meets nature.” The resort also offers the Enchanted Forest, an indoor amusement park; Canyon Creek miniature golf course; and Castle in the Woods playground. Little ones will enjoy story time with Grizzly Jack and Grand Bear in the Grand Lobby of Grand Bear Lodge every evening.
Grand Bear Falls offers extended hours during Midnight Madness. Guests who spend weekends at the lodge can swim until midnight on Fridays and enjoy the Enchanted Forest until midnight on Saturdays.
Wilderness Waterpark Resort
Wisconsin Dells, WI—4 hours from Peoria
America’s largest waterpark resort!
Wilderness Territories features three indoor waterparks totaling 250,000 square feet and the same square footage in outdoor waterparks. With a golf club, outdoor wilderness activities, a spa and much more, the entire family is sure to find this destination worth the drive.
The Wild Water Dome—with see-through roof—is home to indoor tanning year-round, two family raft-racing rides, poolside cabanas and the largest indoor wave pool.
Klondike Kavern’s 65,000 square feet of indoor water fun includes a lazy river, huge bucket dump which pours water onto guests every five minutes, and Bonanza Bluff, an interactive play structure. Klondike Kavern is also home to the Hurricane, the tallest family raft ride in the Dells.
Wild West Waterpark is complete with a second wave pool with water jet cannons, a play feature young children will enjoy, and the Fantastic Voyage, a five-person, five-story raft ride. Wild West Waterpark is also home to the Black Hole, a 45-foot tunnel slide. Sulfur Springs offers soothing indoor/outdoor hot spas and pools, and the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
When you need a break from the water, take advantage of the world-class Sundara destination spa or a trip to the fitness center, marketplace or general store. a&s