Water parks aren’t just for the summer. In fact, since we live in Chicago where the cold weather months far outnumber the warm ones, we think these all-season water parks are a wish come true.
And here in Chicagoland, we’ve got a handful of indoor water parks that are worth the drive.
Breakers Bay Waterpark at Blue Harbor Resort
Hang 10 at the water park and try surfing indoors. If you don’t know where to start, you can take a private lesson. Toddlers can splash away in an area made just for them with slides and splash zones, while all kids will have a fun time exploring the four-story activity center. Thrill-seekers can slide down from any of the three-story slides. Even if the weather isn’t great, take time to head outside and take in the lakefront views.
Grand Bear Falls Indoor Waterpark
- Address: 2643 IL-178, North Utica
This 24,000-square-foot indoor waterpark is open year-round and offers day passes for guests, non-guests and even locals. It features a wave pool, water slides, lazy river and a kiddie pool for the younger visitors. Take a break and grab a bite to eat at the Wave Café.
Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark
- Address: 350 Bell St., Dubuque, Iowa
If you’re looking for a weekend getaways, Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark is great for younger kids. The highlight is the water playground with tipping bucket and water features. You’ll find water sprinklers, slides and shallow waters. Once you’ve dried off, head to the arcade, which offers plenty of fun and of course, prizes.
Great Wolf Lodge Illinois
- Address: 1700 Nations Drive, Gurnee
Looking for an easy drive from Chicago? The two-family raft rides, a four-story tandem tube ride and a funnel water ride will satiate your thirst for adventure. Families can literally roll with the waves at the tide pool. If you’d rather relax, you can float around in the lazy river or challenge each other to a game of water basketball. Little kiddies can splash around in either a padded splash pad, the slides or the water playground with the ever-so-popular tipping bucket.
They’ve got everything you’ll need for a great staycation, so you’ll park your car and won’t return to it until it’s time to go home. We’re obsessed with the really crazy slides that drop you, free-fall style into the water and the baby area, which will entertain even the tiniest babies. When you’re tired of the water activities, let your kids blow off the rest of their energy at the 10,000-square-foot indoor theme park. Go to the bowling alley or conquer the climbing wall.
Pelican Harbor Aquatic Park
- Address: 200 Lindsey Lane, Bolingbrook
If you live in the west and south portions of Chicagoland, this option works great for your family. There are two water slides and a Parkie the Pelican tot slide, tumble buckets and a 10-person hot tub (when parents need a break). This is operated by the park district and it’s smaller than other indoor water parks.
Pirate’s Cay Indoor Waterpark
- Address: 2558 N. 3650rd Road, Sheridan
Bring out your inner pirate at this indoor waterpark in LaSalle County. It’s only a little over an hour away from Chicago, making it an easy trip to make with little ones. Families can race down the winding tubes and float down the lazy river. There is even a spot just for the littles, which includes a pirate ship play place, shooting water guns and dump buckets. Need a break from the water? Test your skills at the arcade or enjoy a flick at the onsite movie theater.
Springs Waterpark at Ingleside Hotel
- Address: 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee, Wisconsin
Springs Waterpark is a kiddie haven with a zero-entry pool water playground, dump buckets and tame slides. Chill out on the lazy river. Daredevils have three slides to choose for thrills: a 362-foot-long boat slide, a 317-foot-long tube slide or a 206-foot-long body slide that twists and turns all the way to the bottom. The indoor and outdoor hot tub will surely be a family favorite. Be sure to check out the interactive arcade and grab a bite to eat at the snack bar.
The Water Works
It’s close, it’s cheap and it’s an easy way to do an indoor water park without making a huge commitment. The many shallow areas make it great for tiny tots, but the slides guarantee that your slightly older child (under 10 is probably best) also will enjoy their day here.
Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark at Grand Geneva
Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark is perfect for children ages 0-10. They’ve got a wading pool, slides and a mushroom fountain — plus a pool that maxes out at less than 4 feet. Your older children can entertain themselves by playing water basketball, going down a massive water slide or checking out the lazy river. A food court and a barbecue restaurant are available as well as an arcade and outdoor mini golf course.
Wilderness Wildpark Resort
It’s one of the largest water parks in the Midwest and it’s spread out into four separate water parks, so there is a lot to do. They’ve got great water slides for the swimmers and tons of shallow areas for the tots. They have other attractions like golf, arcades, spa and plenty of onsite dining. Due to the sheer size of the water park, expect to do lots of walking, so bring a stroller if necessary.
This post is updated regularly.