If your kids are anything like mine, it doesn’t take a 90-degree day to get them daydreaming about splashing around in the pool. They’re happy to take a dip any time, any day, anywhere–especially when they’ve been cooped up in their playroom all winter. While we don’t have the luxury of enjoying fun in the sun all year round in Chicago, we do have a great selection of indoor water parks near Chicago that are just a hop, skip and a short road trip away.
Read on to learn about a variety of indoor water parks in our area, and start planning your family’s perfect getaway. Whether it’s an afternoon retreat or a full-fledged spring break vacation you seek, you and your water babies are bound to have some water park fun in the Midwest!
Indoor Water Parks in Illinois
Pelican Harbor, Bolingbrook, IL
Pelican Harbor is indoor-outdoor, so it stays open throughout the winter. Inside, you’ll find zero-depth-entry and lap pools, two big water slides, a tot slide, tumble buckets, and a hot tub. Parents of young kids can check out the parent/tot admission rates for a great discount on access to just tot-friendly areas.
Oak Brook Park District Family Aquatic Center, Oak Brook, IL
Even when the outdoor Splash Island is closed, this aquatic center boasts a zero-depth-entry pool with a water slide and small indoor splash playground. There’s also a six-lane lap pool and a whirlpool. Check out the website to see a 360-degree interactive tour.
The Water Works, Schaumburg, IL
Water Works has a great water playground with three small slides in a zero-depth-entry pool. They also have a diving pool, lap pool, and rapid water channel for older swimmers.
Kroc Center Chicago, Chicago, IL
The pools here include a kid’s pool and a vortex pool. You’ll also find a water playground and two really big indoor slides.
Pirate’s Cay, Sheridan, IL
Pirate’s Cay is a 31,000-square-foot resort-style indoor water park with four water slides, a lazy river, and a ship-themed playground. It’s all enclosed in glass for an airy, open feel—and in summer, the roof retracts.
Grizzly Jack’s Resort Grand Bear Falls Water Park, Utica, IL*
Right by Starved Rock, Grizzly Jack’s indoor water park includes water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, a tot pool, and a hot tub. Day admission is available, and the park is free for resort guests.
*Temporarily CLOSED due to recent fire damage. Check website for updates.
Great Wolf Lodge, Gurnee, IL
Great Wolf Lodge is coming to Gurnee! Scheduled to open in September, this brand-new behemoth features a four-story, water jet-fueled vortex slide; a water fort treehouse with interactive toys; plenty of tots-only territory; and much more. See the full lineup of attractions here. Can’t wait till September? Consider planning a trip to Great Wolf Lodge’s massive Wisconsin Dells waterpark. (Read on for details!)
Arctic Splash, Wheeling, IL
This smaller center is great for little kids, with a toddler slide, zero-depth entry pool, mini lazy river, and water play structures. There’s also a four-lane lap pool.
Splash Central Indoor Aquatic Center, Bartlett, IL
Splash Central combines a lap pool with a zero-depth-entry pool that has water play structures and a twisty slide.
Indoor Water Parks in Wisconsin
Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark, Lake Geneva, WI
Timber Ridge Lodge is a big resort water park with activities for all ages, from a safe spot for tots with swings and a tiny waterfall to an activity pool with a rope climb, water basketball court, and slides. And check out their deals page to get a discount on certain dates!
Country Springs Hotel, Pewaukee, WI
Over more than 45,000 square feet, this indoor water park fits in fast raft and body slides, a lazy river, a water basketball court, a lily pad walk, and more. Kids can hold their breath beneath the 600-gallon-dump bucket or scream down the Triple Dog Dare: a 362-foot boat slide for up to three people. Check the website for a 3D tour.
Crawdaddy Cove, Madison, WI
Inside the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Madison West, Crawdaddy Cove’s crowning jewel is the SS Crawdaddy shrimp boat, a playground that shoots water out of its smokestacks. There’s also an adventure pool, kiddie pool, five mini slides, and one big slide. It’s a bit of a hike for the water park itself, but you’ll also be able to explore Madison.
Indoor Water Parks in Wisconsin Dells
Chula Vista Resort’s Los Rios Indoor Waterpark
The world’s fastest and longest uphill indoor water roller coaster zooms around this indoor waterpark. Tots play in the kiddie area, older kids duck beneath a 500-gallon tipping bucket, and people zoom down the mat slide or float down the lazy river. You can sometimes find Chula Vista deals on Groupon, Expedia, Trivago, and other sites.
Great Wolf Lodge
This is a big one: 80,000 square feet with both high-speed thrills and special attractions for the littles. Click here for the full list of indoor water park attractions, which include the Howlin’ Tornado waterslide with a raft built for four, a huge tot space, and a slide with a four-story drop. Great Wolf Lodge was one of Parents magazine’s top 10 water parks in 2016.
Kalahari Resort has both an indoor water park and an indoor theme park. The water park is huge at 125,000 square feet, with everything from slides to stand-up surfing. The little kids area has its own mini lazy river, and the slides include family raft rides. Check out their entry on Parents magazine’s top 10 water parks of 2016, and be sure to visit the specials page to find packages and deals.
Mt. Olympus Water Park
Mt. Olympus features four water slides, a raging river, a swim pool, a whirlpool, and a hot tub. At the Hispaniola Bay play area, kids can play on a 35-foot pirate ship, slip down five water slides, and dart around water spouts and geysers.
Wilderness Waterpark Resort
Wilderness Waterpark Resort was one of Parents magazine’s top 10 water parks in 2016. There are really four separate indoor waterparks here, from the Cubby’s Cove kiddie playground to the glass-enclosed Wild Waterdome for a real tan, even in winter. Attractions include the country’s biggest indoor wave pool, tons of waterslides, and a waterslide/video game hybrid. You can’t purchase day passes, but admission is included with resort stays. Also check out their specials page before you book.
Indoor Water Parks in Indiana
Big Splash Adventure Indoor Water Park and Resort, French Lick, IN
A giant glass ceiling gives Big Splash a bright, sunny feel. Inside, families can climb a three-story play structure, float down the Lost River, whirl around the Silver Beard’s Revenge bowl ride, and more.
Indoor Water Parks in Michigan
Surfari Joe’s Indoor Wilderness Water Park, Rochester Hills
A smaller park at 18,000 square feet, Surfari Joe’s is attached to a Fairfield Inn & Suites for a low-stress vacation setup. Two slides, a lazy river, an activity pool, and a kiddie area with a big dumping bucket make for plenty of water fun. There’s also an arcade for after everyone has toweled off. Find coupons on their deal page.
Double JJ Resort’s Gold Rush Waterpark, Rothbury
Double JJ’s is a rustic resort. Guests ride horses, take hayrides to roast s’mores, and challenge the mechanical bull. At the 60,000-square-foot water park, you’ll find thrill slides, a wave pool, a toddler pool, and a multi-story water fort outfitted with water guns.