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. 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. 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. Plus, Bahama Beach offers up everything from terrific food to private cabanas and fun events like dive-in movies. The park is open Tuesday- Sunday, from May 31 through August 11, as well as on the weekend of August 17.
Recommended for Water Parks because: Bahama Beach is an easy place to hit when you don't want to travel far from Downtown Dallas.
Ilene's expert tip: Get $2 off any full-price admission on Tuesdays. General admission $11-$15; and free for kids under 2 years of age.
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. As far as attractions go, the Great Wolf Lodge has it all--seven pools, twelve water slide rides plus a multi-level tree house tricked out with a boatload of interactive features. Oh, and in addition to the indoor water park, the lodge also features Racoon Lagoon, an outdoor water park that is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Recommended for Water Parks because: Great Wolf Lodge is, undoubtedly, the best place for round-the-clock family fun.
Ilene's expert tip: Book at least 60 days in advance and save up to 50%.
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. The Lake is open daily from Memorial Day through August 18, and on weekends until Sept 2.
Recommended for Water Parks because: Burger's Lake offers endless hours of old-fashioned family fun.
Ilene's expert tip: Admission is $15 per person, $5 for ages 6 years and under, and free for children ages 1 and younger. The best time to go is early on weekdays to avoid crowds and snag a good parking place.
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 tacos, burgers and pizza.
Recommended for Water Parks because: King Spa is a perennially popular place for Dallas area families.
Ilene's expert tip: The kids play-pool is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The website offers an e-coupon good for $24 admission. Regular admission is $45 adults/$20 for ages 12 and under/Free for ages 2 and younger.
Another hotel that has splashed into the waterpark action is the Hilton Anatole, located in Dallas' Design District near downtown. Created to appeal to hotel guests of all ages, this 4-acre, 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. Additional amenities include luxury cabanas, daybeds and an outdoor bar and grill. Along with water activities, the resort dials up the fun with lawn games, dive-in movies and a host of family-fun events. The leisure pool stays open year-round and the family pool is open from May 1 through September 2. Not a hotel guest? No problem, the company, Resort Pass, offers limited quantities of day passes for non-hotel guests starting at $38 per person.
Recommended for Water Parks because: JadeWaters is as much fun for adults as it is for kids.
Ilene's expert tip: The hotel offers family packages and staycation deals, check the website for more information. Catch the hotel's 2019 fireworks series on 5/26, 5/31, 6/14, 7/5, 7/19, 8/9 and 9/1.
Taking the concept of water parks to a new level is Altitude H2O, the largest floating aqua park obstacle course in Texas. Set across 25,000 acres on Grapevine Lake (around 25 miles from Downtown Dallas), the buoyant wonderland boasts everything from bridges and monkey bars to slides, trampolines and balance beams. Tickets, which can be purchased on-site or online, run $20 for a single, 45-minute session, and $30 for a double session. Depending on lake levels, the park is typically open from 12 to 5 p.m. daily, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Note that you also must pay a fee of $5 per day per car, or $1 for walk-ups and bike riders, to the City of Grapevine for access to Meadowmere Park, where the venue is located.
Recommended for Water Parks because: Altitude H2O is an ideal place for adults and kids (ages 6 and up) who are looking for a unique way to enjoy the water.
Ilene's expert tip: It's first come, first serve, so it's advisable to purchase your tickets online in advance. Follow on Facebook to find out about the special deals offered throughout the summer.
Owned by the City of Grand Prairie, this 80,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor aquatic paradise boasts eleven different waterslides, including the nation's tallest indoor Aqualoop and the first indoor double rider Aquasphere inner tube ride. Not into water slides? No problem, the park also features a surf simulator, a 10,000-square-foot wave pool, a kiddie play area and one of the longest lazy rivers in America. Add in a 4,000-square-foot arcade, a café and a full-service bar, and good luck convincing your family to leave. Best of all, you don't need to wait for summertime to get your splash on, the park is open year-round. Daily admission rates for non-residents run $29-$34, plus children 3 years and younger are free.
Recommended for Water Parks because: Epic Waters is the largest indoor water park under a single retractable roof in the nation.
Ilene's expert tip: Epic Waters offers a Twilight Swim ($14 per person/free for ages 3 and under), starting at 4 p.m-- Sunday through Thursday.
While not as large as some of the major waterparks on this list, Hawaiian Falls packs in plenty of soak-filled fun for family members of all ages. And one of the best things about this park is that there are four Dallas-Fort Worth locations to choose from. Along with wave pools, lazy rivers and interactive water-play complexes, expect to find state-of-the-art rides that feature everything from four-story drops to tube slides equipped with laser lights and music. All of the parks stay open daily from Memorial Day weekend through August 11, and on weekends to September 2, 2019. Check online for a description of the park you're planning to visit.
Recommended for Water Parks because: With four area locations, Hawaiian Falls is the most accessible water park in the metroplex.
Ilene's expert tip: General admission starts at $19.99 for kids under 48", and $29.99 for anyone over 48". Save $2 a ticket when you purchase online or save $7 per daily admission ticket for purchases after 3 p.m. at the park.
Ranked among the top water parks in the nation, NRH2O is a city-operated park located mid-way between Dallas and Fort Worth in North Richland Hills. Situated on 17-acres, the 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. NRH2O is also home to the Green Extreme, the world's largest uphill water-coaster, measuring over 1,100-feet long and 81-feet high. Aside from rides, guests can play volleyball on a white sand beach and take a dip in a 5,300-square-foot pool. Be sure to keep an eye out for weekly events like music festivals, dive-in movie nights and fireworks displays. The park is open daily from May 4 through August 18, and on weekends from August 24 to September 22, 2019.
Recommended for Water Parks because: NRH2O offers the biggest bang for your buck and it's one of the best city-operated water parks in the nation.
Ilene's expert tip: Coolers, parking and tubes are always free and visitors can also bring in their own coolers at no additional charge. Buy your tickets online for the best savings: Weekday admission is $32.99 (48″ and taller) at the gate and $19.99 online. Kids admission (under 48″) is $27.99 or $15.99 online.
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. Highlights include the Black Hole, which plunges riders 80-feet down a twisted tube into total darkness, and the Geronimo, a steep body slide ride featuring a free-fall drop down six-stories. As an added bonus, visitors can purchase combination tickets and enjoy admission to both parks. Open daily from June 11 through August 18, and on weekends from August 24 to September 22, 2019.
Recommended for Water Parks because: Hurricane Harbor offers the widest variety of aquatic adventures in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Ilene's expert tip: General admission at the park is $41.99; $36.99 for children under 48" and free for children ages 2 and under. Save $5 when you purchase tickets online. Or buy your online tickets at least three days in advance and save $7.