Best Outdoor Aquatic Centers for Extreme Water Fun

These aquatic centers near Chicago promise a fun summer day for the entire family.

If you’ve become a regular at the park district pool, it’s time to make the trek to the burbs, where you’ll find awesome aquatic centers for the whole family to enjoy. Make a full day of fun out of it: from climbing walls and plunge slides to zero depth pools, here are some of our favorite aquatic centers.

Note: Some of these spraygrounds might be closed depending on the weather, so please check before heading out! Looking for more things to do with kids? Check out our summer fun family guide!

Barefoot Bay

A great alternative to the larger, overcrowded waterparks, Barefoot Bay has four bodies of water that feature a 740-foot lazy river, a zero-depth pool, tube slides, body flumes, a diving well, a fenced tot swim area and everyone’s favorite — an AquaClimb water wall — a real workout!

Centennial Park Aquatic Center

This 360,000 square-foot water park is a child’s paradise. The kids will have a blast riding five slides and floating through a lazy river around bends and under waterfalls. Enjoy some fun out of the water with sand volleyball courts just outside of the pools.

Cypress Grove Family Aquatic Park

With eight acres of water attractions, Cypress Grove was designed with active families in mind. The youngest swimmers can enter a zero-depth pool or splash around in a state-of-the-art sprayground with geysers, water tables, a tot flume slide and an oversized dumping bucket. For the older set, there’s eight water slides, a 600-foot lazy river and large diving well.

Wheeling Park District – Family Aquatic Center

Plunge down slides galore (drop slides, tube slides, body slides) at this outdoor water park with a zero-depth entry main pool. Younger kids love the water playground, splash pool, toddler slide, and sand play area. Daredevils will especially enjoy the Paradise Falls area with two huge drop slides you have to see to believe.

Mystic Waters

A child’s paradise, Mystic Waters has water attractions for all ages. The youngest swimmers will enjoy a large, zero-depth pool and splash pad, while thrill seekers can zoom down two 37-foot water slides. Mystic Waters also features a 550-foot lazy river that’s perfect for the whole family.

Park Forest Aqua Center

The Park Forest Aqua Center boasts three pools — a shallow pool for kids, an adults-only pool (parents rejoice) and an activity pool featuring a 160-foot water slide, two drop slides and a 15-foot high aquatic climbing wall.

Pelican Harbor

Experience the thrill of four different water speed slides (two enclosed and two open); relax in the Lazy River or challenge yourself in the diving well with a 1-meter diving board. Featuring a zero-depth pool and interactive sprayground that’s perfect for younger children, Pelican Harbor caters to kids (and adults) of all ages.

Sea Lion Aquatic Park in Lisle

With so many water attractions, it’s easy to spend the whole day at Sea Lion Aquatic Park. The award-winning water park has a large open swim area, two 50-foot body flume slides, two drop slides, a sprayground and more. The vortex pool — a favorite for adults — creates water resistance that’s ideal for water aerobics.


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Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.
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