Today’s water parks offer more spills, chills and thrills than ever before, and of course, they still have plenty of opportunities for soaking, speeding and splashing. From water cannon-equipped pirate ships to water slides that let you race with friends, here are our 10 favorite water park rides.
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With a near-vertical freefall of 120-feet, the 12-story Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach offers one of America's most thrilling water slide experiences. Slide at top speeds before going through a dark tunnel, ending in a mega splash. Before hopping out to plummet again, check the digital display at the bottom of the ride to see your peak speed on the slide.
G F Walker (via Panoramio)
For a top-notch family rafting ride, look to Rattlesnake Rapids at Lagoon water park, just outside Salt Lake City. Hop aboard a raft and you’ll find twists, turns and soaking waterfalls. Be prepared: everyone in the raft will get wet before this ride comes to an end. The rapids are gentle enough for little ones, but pack enough of a punch to be enjoyed by teens and adult riders.
If you’re looking for a water slide that drops 6 stories before plunging you into a shark-infested lagoon, take a ride on Leap of Faith at Aquaventure, part of Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. After sliding out of a Mayan temple, keep your eyes open as you quickly zip through a clear tunnel surrounded by sharks before finishing up with a big splash.
Enjoy splashing with friends? Then Maximum Velocity, the side-by-side, dueling water coaster ride at Wet ‘n’ Wild in Phoenix, is an absolute must. The water coaster takes you up, down and all around as you race friends at top speeds through more than 800 feet of tandem tubes. Only serious thrill-seekers need apply.
If it’s not enough to race against just 1 slider, hop on a mat and slide head first down Quadzilla, a 4-lane racing slide at Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells, WI. Twist, turn and speed through tunnels before splashing down and discovering which rider was first to the finish.
Laze the day away in a tube along the relaxing currents of Kookaburra Kreek, a lazy river that spans 1/4 mile at Raging Waves, an Australia-themed water park just outside Chicago. Float along the river for its entirety or hop out at 1 of several entrances, which are located near a water slide, a wave pool and a water coaster.
Knott's Soak City Water Park
Hold onto your swimsuit if you plan to take on the 750,000-gallon Tidal Wave Bay at Knott’s Soak City Water Park in Orange County, CA. Grab a tube or jump the waves on your own in this gigantic wave pool. Slip slowly into the zero-entry pool before catching a wave along with hundreds of your closest friends.
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
Grab a seat on a 6-person round boat before screaming down the Mammoth, the world’s longest water coaster. This popular ride at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, IN, takes riders down 7 stories, going forward, backward and all around before splashing down at the end of the ride. This is definitely a ride to brave as a family.
Slip, slide and do a 360-degree loop-de-loop on the Zuma ZOOMa water slide at Cowabunga Bay outside Las Vegas. Riders start in a launch capsule before the bottom drops out and they plunge more than 7 stories on this high-speed water ride. Zuma ZOOMa is best suited for those with a high thrill threshold.
10. The Battle of Mutiny Bay
Spray and be sprayed on The Battle of Mutiny Bay at Splish Splash on Long Island. Sail across Mutiny Bay in a pirate ship, using water cannons to soak those on land and on other boats, while defending your crew from the likes of a giant octopus. Stay alert: passers-by on land can put you in their sights with their own competing water cannons.