Itching to ditch the snow pants and bust out your swim suits and snorkels? Want a respite from the blazing sun? Well, there’s no need to wait on Mother Nature to get her act together. Instead, check out the vast amount of indoor water parks in Chicagoland!
If you have been following my blog for at least a short time (if not, welcome….what took you so long?!?), you know that my boys truly are part fish. And in an effort to have them expend some energy and have fun in the water, we have traveled to a TON of indoor water parks in the area.
When thinking about what makes a water park great, our family looks for these major elements:
- Fun water features for swimmers of all ages
- Warmth of water
Yes, we’re pretty darn simple. So here are our recommendations on how to spend a few hours splashing around while it is snowing outside.
Cleanliness: B The locker rooms could be spruced up a bit (and expanded to fit all of the families who take to the swimming pool on the weekends)
Cost: B (Youth are $5 for residents, $7 for nonresidents, Adults are $7 for residents and $9 for nonresidents)
Fun Features: A The higher price tag is oh so worth it at this fun mecca for swimmers of all ages and abilities. There are three water slides, a water pool, lap pool, zero depth entry pool with a water playground, whirlpool…the list goes on and on. We also held our son’s birthday party here and had an absolute BLAST. The staff is so accommodating and helpful and the venue is the perfect way to spend a few fun hours.
Warmth of Water: A The majority of the pools are kept on the warmer side, especially the pool that caters to young children.
Overall: A for families with older children, B for families with younger children. This is a great pool to visit if you have multiple kids with different interests and swimming abilities. I would hold off on going here if your child is still only interested in water fountains and instead visit the next two options.
This hidden gem is right outside The Glen, where you can find another great indoor activity, the Kohl Children’s Museum. But back to the pool. We had a great time at this facility, playing with the numerous water spouts, taking a dip in the lap and zero depth entry pool, and watching the bigger kids try the big tube slide. The aquatic center is home to a play pool, lap pool, whirlpool, and therapy pool. There are many different options for “family swim times” to accommodate different schedules, and you are guaranteed to have napping children post-swim. Oh, and be sure to take advantage of the provided life jackets to give yourself an extra sense of security while playing with your little fishies.
Cleanliness: A (Side note: There is no locker room, so you should use the restrooms located near the rental lockers to get changed into your swim gear.)
Cost: B Admission fee is $6 per person. Babies under 23 months are free.
Fun Features: A There is without a doubt something for everyone at the water park. Although it is small scale, there is much fun to be had in the “airplane themed” pool areas.
Warmth of Water: B A little chilly, but not too bad! The air in the pool is kept nice and toasty so we only needed a few “warm up” breaks.
The “Parent and Tot” time at the Wheeling Park District Arctic Splash is a great way to spend a week day with your little one. Since it is a special time just for little ones, it is not over crowded and there are lots of opportunities to play with the interactive play structures and wade around the zero depth entry pool. This special time is held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10-12 for parents and children under 3 for the great price of only $3!
Cleanliness: A Everything, from the water to the locker rooms, were well maintained.
Cost: B Adult admission is $6.50, Children between the ages of 3 and 9 are $5.50, and children 2 and under are free.
Fun Features: B There seems to be more fun for the young ones, such as the toddler slide, than older children.
Warmth of Water: B We only needed a few brief “warm ups” while playing during the tot and parent time. Mommy wasn’t cold at all, which was a pleasant surprise.
Plain Old Pools
Looking for just the opportunity to get your little one acclimated with the water? Then look no further than your local park district! There are so many great options to choose from, and many community centers hold special events such as Family Swim Nights and “Flick and Floats” where you hang out on water rafts while watching a movie with everyone else in the pool. Our favorite swim schools, Big Blue and Foss also tend to have fun swimming events and activities for families.
All of this pool research led us to planning a trip to the big kahuna….The Kalahari in the Wisconsin Dells. Interested in learning more about the Water Park Capital of the World? Then check out our tips and tricks for visiting here.
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