Sure, Dallas gets ridiculously hot during the summer (usually hovering in the triple digits), but rather than fight it, Dallas locals gleefully embrace it by plunging into the myriad of splash zones that dot the city.
For slippery adventures and heart-pumping thrills, you can't go wrong with any of the area's water parks–and there's not a bigger one than Hurricane Harbor–which is literally stuffed to the gills with rides, slides and splashing attractions for park goers of all ages. Nor is there's ever a dull–or dry moment at any of the four metroplex Hawaiian Falls locations either–where there's enough rip roaring rides to please even the youngest adrenaline junkies in the group.
There's also NRH2O, one of the most impressive city-run water parks in the nation, that's tricked out with water-slides, water cannons, endless rivers and a massive wave pool. The place also boasts one of the largest uphill water-coasters on the planet.
Not-to-be-missed is the Hilton Anatole's new aquatic oasis, JadeWaters. The summertime resort, which opens in June–features everything from water-slides to multiple swimming pools, plus it has a 630-foot-long lazy river.
Of course, we'd be remiss not to mention the great, Great Wolf Lodge, an indoor water wonderland that's open year-round– no matter what the weather is outdoors. Though, you have to be a hotel guest to take a dip, the lodge's dizzying amount of rides and activities make it worth every penny.
And, of course, there's not a better place to beat the heat than at Burger's Lake, a natural spring-fed swimming hole with diving boards, slides and even a trapeze.
But, the fun doesn't stop here. Whether it's high-speed slides and gut-wrenching rides or chilled-out lazy rivers, be sure to add these top H20-fueled attractions to your Dallas to-do list.
Bahama Beach Family Waterpark
This tropical-themed wet zone, operated by the Dallas Park and Recreation Department-- packs in the fun with water balloon launchers, a lazy river and slides galore. Not-to-be-missed is Coconut Grove, a massive water rain fortress--tricked out with pulleys, ladders, geysers, three 40-foot slides and a 1,000 gallon dumping bucket. And though the park may be smaller in size compared to most, there's certainly no shortage of activities to keep kids entertained for the day. As well, Bahama beach offers up everything from terrific food to private cabanas to dive-in movies, plus guests can use the inner tubes and life vests for free. The park is open from the end of May through mid-August. (214-671-0820)
Don Rodenbaugh Natatorium
No need wait for summer to take the plunge--this indoor aquatic center offers plenty of splashing fun all year long. Maintained by the City of Allen Parks & Recreation department, the natatorium boasts 7,000-square-feet of leisure water--complete with a lazy river, slides and a play structure in the center. Also within the facility, guests will find a 25-yard by 25-meter lap pool, plus a spa and even a rock climbing wall. In addition to open swim times, the pool hosts swim lessons and special events like dive-in movies. As an added bonus, you can leave your kids (10 years or older) to splash away while you workout in the weight room. (214-509-4770)
King Spa & Waterpark
If you're looking for a water park that caters to both adults and kids then you may want to head over to the King Spa, a family-friendly Korean bathhouse where guests can soak, steam, swim, eat and even spend the night. Along with a veritable smorgasbord of feel good treatments, guests can enjoy a massive indoor water park that features everything from a therapeutic bade pool to a whirlpool to a children's play pool-- complete with a 30-foot water-slide and lazy river. The complex also includes a movie theater, a childcare room, work stations and a food court that serves up Korean fare as well as pizzas, burgers and tacos. (214-420-9070)
Rosemeade Rainforest Aquatic Complex
Never too crowded and perfect for those with very young children--this tropical oasis, operated by the City of Carrollton, offers everything from a 200-foot long lazy river to a zero-depth pool with water cannons, bubblers, spray bars and a jumble of slides. And if that's not enough to keep everyone soaking, then the mini tsunami brought on by a 600-gallon dump bucket should certainly do the trick. In addition to a snack bar, picnic tables and shady lounging spots, the complex features two smaller pools as well as a 50-meter Olympic-sized pool for serious swimmers to practice their freestyle. The complex stays open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. (972-466-9833)
JadeWaters at the Anatole
Dallas' Hilton Anatole is giving guests more reasons to take the plunge this summer with the debut of Jade Waters, a spectacular 4-acre watery oasis that will make anyone rethink whether going to a traditional water park is even necessary. Designed to appeal to hotel guests of all ages, the Asian-inspired resort not only features a heated, 4,000-square-foot leisure pool with a swim-up bar, but also a 7,000-square-foot, beach-entry family pool--complete with a pair of 30-foot-tall water slides and a 630-foot-long lazy river. Guests can get a respite from the sun under a variety of luxury cabanas and daybeds as well as fuel up at an outdoor bar and grill. In addition to water activities, the resort dials up the fun with lawn games, dive-in movies and slew of special events. The leisure pool stays open year-round and the family pool is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. (214-748-1200)
Forget the man-made stuff--the best water parks are the ones created by nature itself. Case in point: Burger's Lake, a 1950s-era spring-fed watering hole located on the outskirts of Fort Worth. Offering sandy beaches, a plethora of diving boards, a 20-foot-high slide and a 25-foot trapeze that swings over the water--this retro swimming spot has something for everyone, no matter what age they are. In addition to swimming, the 30-acre park features tennis and volleyball courts-- as well as grills, picnic tables and concession stands. And though it's a slight hike from Dallas (about 45 minutes from downtown) this aquatic treasure makes the trek worthwhile. (817-737-3414)
Great Wolf Lodge
No matter what the weather is like outside, it's always a balmy 84 degrees inside this 80,000-square-foot tropical paradise. And one of the best parts about coming here is that you never have to worry about waiting in long lines since the resort is only accessible to hotel guests. But, don't let that deter you--because an overnight stay here can sometimes end up being less costly than a family outing at a public water park. Not to mention that the Great Wolf Lodge has it all--including seven pools, twelve different water slide rides, plus a four-story interactive tree house tricked out with suspension bridges, water cannons, spray stations and a 1000 gallon soaker bucket. Along with the indoor water park, the lodge also features an outdoor water park (Racoon Lagoon) that stays open during the summer. (817-488-6510)
Hawaiian Falls Waterpark - North Garland
Whether it be free-falling from a 60-foot-high body slide, floating down a lazy river-- or exploring a fortress filled with ladders, geysers and a thousand-gallon dump bucket, Hawaiian Falls provides a myriad of opportunities to get wet-- and it also offers four metroplex locations (Garland, The Colony, Roanoke and Mansfield) to do it. Those looking to up the fear factor will not want to miss The Torpedo, a ride that takes you hurtling 40 miles per hour down a four-story drop. Or for a real rush, take the Rush, an enclosed tube slide that sends riders on a multi-sensory experience in complete darkness. And if you really want to shake things up, hit the Hawaiian Halfpipe, one of the park's most popular rides that launches riders up and backwards before dropping them 40-feet down into the water. The parks stay open daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Check online for prices, special discounts, events and a description of the park you're planning to visit. (927-675-8888)
NRH2O Family Water Park
Going beyond an average public swimming pool, NRH2O, operated by the City of North Richland Hills is a water-filled wonder in every sense of the word--and it has consistently ranked among the top water parks in the nation since it opened in 1995. Located mid-way between Dallas and Fort Worth, this 17-acre water park features over twenty-two water-slides, a 660-foot long endless river, a 12,000-square foot wave pool and a children's swimming hole complete with a five level water playground. The park is also home to the Green Extreme, an uphill water-coaster that's over 1,100-feet long and 81-feet high. Along with rides, guests can hang out and play volleyball on a white sand beach or take a dip in a 5,300-square-foot pool. Be sure to keep an eye out for weekly events, which cover everything from music festivals to dive-in movie nights and fire-works displays. The park is open from May to September, be sure to check the website for specific hours of operation. (817-427-6500)
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
If you thought Six Flags had it all, wait until you dive into the company's behemoth water wonderland. Here' you'll find 47-acres filled with everything from a million-gallon wave pool and a lazy river to over a dozen different water-slides and jaw-dropping rides. Thrill-seekers will definitely not want to miss the Black Hole, a ride that plunges you 80-feet down a twisted tube into total darkness. But probably nothing beats the Geronimo, an incredibly steep body slide that sends riders on a free-fall drop down six-stories. And if that's not enough to keep everyone satisfied, then you can purchase a combination ticket that includes admission to Six Flags, located across the way-- and enjoy unlimited admission to both of the Arlington amusement parks. Be sure to check the schedule before you go, Hurricane Harbor hosts a wide variety of events throughout the season which runs from May through mid-September. (817-265-3356)
About Ilene Jacobs
As a perpetual wanderer, foodie freak and wannabe chef, Ilene is always on the lookout for the best places to see, eat, drink and sleep. Ilene got hooked on this wanderlust lifestyle after spending 10 years as a university student in Paris where she spent most of her time eating her way around France.
When she's not writing about the latest happenings in her hometown of Dallas, she's hanging out in Paris and road tripping around Europe with her spunky teenage son.
You can find Ilene's articles about her favorite hot spots and foodie finds at 10Best.com, CBSDFW.com and Examiner.com.
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