Are you looking to travel inexpensively but still have access to a water park? Kansas may not seem a likely hot spot for vacationers, but its many national parks and historic sites beg to differ. So where do travelers to the Sunflower State find the best water parks?
Kenwood Cove Aquatic Park — Open Memorial Day to August 21
701 Kenwood Park Drive in Salina, KS 67401
Open daily from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.; until 6 p.m. on Sundays
Children under 3 enter free; older kids pay $3.50. Adults pay $5.50. Enjoy the water obstacle course for older children or the Soggie Bottom Kiddie Area for the youngest visitors, who prefer water no deeper than 18 inches. Other attractions include a lazy river, wave pool, and seven different water slides.
Rock River Rapids — Open Memorial Day to Mid-August
1900 E. James St. in Derby, KS 67037
Open daily from 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Pay $9 to get in; kids under the age of 18 pay $8. The boat-themed play structure and adjacent zero-depth pool are huge hits with younger children and their parents. The water walk and drop slides appeal to the older set. The Aqua Climb attraction puts a watery spin on rock climbing.
Schlitterbahn — Open May 26 to September 3
9400 State Ave. in Kansas City, KS 66112
Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; until 8 p.m. during the height of the season
The Schlitterbahn is one of the best water parks nationwide, and the prices reflect this confidence. General admission prices for adults are $47, while children pay $39. Although this may seem steep, consider that the Kansas City water park is heavy on attractions. Kinderhaven is a splash area for the youngest visitors, while those in search of tube slides rave about the Bahnzai Pipeline. This year marks the debut of the Boogie Bahn surf ride, Cyclone mat slide, King Kaw Rapids River, and the Mighty Mo tube chute. Since plenty of rides do not feature height requirements, there is a little something for everyone at the Schlitterbahn.
McPherson Water Park — Open May 27 to August 15
511 Lakeside Drive in McPherson, KS 67460
Open 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays through Thursdays; until 8 p.m. on Fridays
Plenty of parking, cheap admission costs, and the sound reputation enjoyed by the YMCA make the McPherson Water Park one of the least expensive Kansas water parks to visit. Children under the age of 4 enter free; kids between 4 and 7 years of age pay $2. Older kids pay $3, and adult admission costs $4. Larger families might want to visit on Fridays between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., when family admission only sets you back $7. Enjoy a 500-foot lazy river, the 188-foot giant water slide, a diving area, sunbathing, concessions, and floating features.
Great Wolf Lodge — Indoor Water Park
10401 Cabela Drive in Kansas City, KS 66111
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Available only to guests of the Great Wolf Lodge resort, this is a more luxurious setting. Life jackets and towels are just a couple of the little extras that make this water park stand out. The Fort Mackenzie tree house is a famous feature of this water park; Kansas residents appreciate that the water is always warm — no matter what the temperatures are outside. Undoubtedly one of the best water parks in Kansas, consider the resort a vacation or staycation destination.