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Splashin' Safari Water Park named best in the U.S.

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This is the second win for Santa Claus, Indiana park

When the heat of summer descends, millions of visitors head to America's water parks to cool off. We asked our readers to vote for their favorite outdoor water parks in the country for the ultimate day of sun and fun.

  • Splashin' Safari Water Park
    Santa Claus, Ind.

    It may be in Santa Claus, Indiana, but Splashin’ Safari’s about as far from the North Pole as you can get, offering myriad thrills to cool guests off in the summer heat. Families who thrill-ride together will revel catching actual air on Mammoth – a water coaster so massive its seven-story bulk takes up more than three acres! Multiple drops employ cutting edge technology, lifting up to six passengers to plunge again and again and again.
    Photo courtesy of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

  • Lost Island Waterpark
    Waterloo, Iowa

    At Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo, Iowa, park-goers can take the plunge at Lost Soul Falls, catch a wave in Tsunami Bay, float the Kailahi River, play some volleyball in Blue Iguana Lagoon or ride one of the world's only hydromagnetic water coasters, Wailua Kapua.
    Photo courtesy of Lost Island Waterpark

  • Dollywood's Splash Country
    Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

    Dolly’s Smoky Mountain oasis offers up more than 24 slides and thrill rides for all ages at Splash Country. The littlest guests enjoy loads of interactive play time in places like the Cascades – a lagoon-style pool where hidden misters, bubblers and secret slides make for fun discovery. Thrill seekers, on the other hand, revel on rides like the RiverRush. It’s four stories of family fun on a water coaster with multiple drops, twists and turns.
    Photo courtesy of Dollywood

  • Cowabunga Bay
    Henderson, Nev.

    Cowabunga Bay is the best place to cool off in Las Vegas, with 23 acres of fun featuring more than 20 slides, pools and attractions. Highlights include Wild Surf, the world’s largest man-made wave, and Point Panic, an enclosed, pitch-black water slide that’s not for the faint of heart.
    Photo courtesy of Cowabunga Bay

  • Aquatica Orlando
    Orlando

    SeaWorld’s first and most popular water park, Aquatica Orlando, draws 1.5 million visitors per year while seamlessly integrating sea life into rides. Its signature attraction, Dolphin Plunge, is an enclosed tube slide that passes through a pool of playful, black and white Commerson’s dolphins. Guests can also take a leisurely raft ride down Loggerhead Lane, through colorful exotic fish. Aquatica's South Seas theme is further enhanced by 60,000 lush, tropical plants covering its 60 acres.
    Photo courtesy of Aquatica Orlando

  • Schlitterbahn New Braunfels
    New Braunfels, Texas

    Over three miles of tubing and seven kids' areas complete this popular water park between Austin and San Antonio. It sets itself apart with three uphill water slides (a novel concept invented by Schlitterbahn) as well as The Falls, a 3,600-foot-long lazy and not-so-lazy river: the world's longest water park ride. 
    Photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn New Braunfels

  • Water World
    Denver

    For those who like their attractions big, Water World is a definite contender. At roughly 70 acres, it’s one of the nation’s largest – with wave pools, towering slides, interactive offerings and winding rivers from mild to wild. While rides like the Funhouse Express Gondola take guests high above the winding slides for a birds-eye view reminiscent of winter’s ski lifts, Warp Speed allows riders to cool down with a journey through an interstellar wormhole that’s both game and ride in one.
    Photo courtesy of Water World

  • Rapids Water Park
    Riviera Beach, Fla.

    Rapids Water Park, the largest water park in South Florida, comprises 30 sun-kissed acres dotted with some 42 water slides and attractions, including the Black Thunder dark vortex funnel, Brain Drain vertical plunge, FlowRider surf simulator and Riptide Raftin family raft ride.
    Photo courtesy of Rapids Water Park

  • Adventure Island
    Tampa

    In Tampa, thrill seekers can tackle Colossal Curl, a thrill slide at Adventure Island bringing up to four riders high above the action for a weightless experience that merges funnel and wave for an action-packed descent. Back on the ground, Paradise Lagoon’s 9,000 square feet of slides and waterfalls offer lots of adventure on terra firma – unless you choose to cliff jump off its 20-foot platform, of course.
    Photo courtesy of 2019 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

  • Hurricane Harbor
    Austell, Ga.

    Hurricane Harbor, a Caribbean-themed water park inside Six Flags Over Georgia, represented the largest expansion in the park's history when it opened in 2014. Facilities include a 38,000-square-foot wave pool, the world's first zero-gravity hybrid single slide, a 2,000-square-foot interactive play area with six kid-sized slides and a 41-foot slide tower.
    Photo courtesy of Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

The top 10 winners in the category Best Outdoor Water Park are as follows:

  1. Splashin' Safari Water Park - Santa Claus, Ind.
  2. Lost Island Waterpark - Waterloo, Iowa
  3. Dollywood's Splash Country - Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
  4. Cowabunga Bay - Henderson, Nev.
  5. Aquatica Orlando - Orlando
  6. Schlitterbahn New Braunfels - New Braunfels, Texas
  7. Water World - Denver
  8. Rapids Water Park - Riviera Beach, Fla.
  9. Adventure Island - Tampa
  10. Hurricane Harbor - Austell, Ga.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning water parks!

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Robb Alvey

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