Theme & Water Parks

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10 Best Indoor Water Parks for Kids in the US

Whether it's the middle of winter and you need a family getaway or you have a special occasion to celebrate but don't want to risk your party being washed out by rain, it's nice to have indoor water options. And we're not talking the dip pool at the downtown Best Western. We're thinking mega water slides, relaxing lazy rivers, toddler-friendly water play, and thrilling wave pools that only a water park can offer.

Those living in the North and Midwest no longer have to seek sunny locales to beat the winter blues. And residents of the South and West now have ways to beat the heat when even water won't cool you off from a blazing sun. The year-round fun of an indoor water park is a bonus for everyone!

Here are our picks for the best indoor water parks for kids around the country. For more ideas, check out our local coverage of indoor water parks near New York, New Jersey, Boston, and Philadelphia.

Dutch Wonderland: A Fairy Tale Amusement Park in Amish Country

If you have a little thrill-seeker like I do, Dutch Wonderland might be just the right place to go this summer. The quaint, fairy tale-themed amusement park in Pennsylvania's Dutch Country caters toward the small but fearless like my ride-loving toddler.

In spite of the name and location, there isn't much Amish about Dutch Wonderland, aside from a photo opportunity with a horse and buggy statue. If you're in the area for more traditional Amish Country fun, Dutch Wonderland is nearby all of it, so the amusement park makes a great addition for a trip to Dutch Country. With over 35 rides, attractions, and shows, as well as a 15-acre campground right on site, you can easily fill a whole day here with the kids, or even a long weekend. Read on for our review of this theme park. If you're heading to Pennsylvania for a weekend or day trip, also check out our review of Hershey Park. For even more family fun with pint-sized rides, don't miss our round-up of NJ amusement parks that are perfect for preschoolers

Diggerland: A New Jersey Theme Park for Construction-Loving Kids

If your kids can't get enough of trucks and dirt, head to Diggerland USA, a construction-themed amusement park in West Berlin. Diggerland is a child's construction-site fantasy, with a setup designed to fulfill the dreams of little builders ages 2 and up.

My 2-year-old son and I recently took the ride to West Berlin to see what it was all about, and we had a blast. However, we'll probably wait another year before returning so as to avoid the temptations of the rides he wasn't big enough to go on just yet. That said, if you're looking for a unique alternative to traditional amusement parks this summer, a trip to Diggerland is definitely in order. 

Storybook Land in New Jersey: A Magical Park for Preschoolers and Tots

If you’re looking for an enjoyable amusement park experience minus crazy thrill rides and super-sized crowds, take a day trip to Storybook Land in Egg Harbor. This charming spot, in operation since 1955, was created with younger children in mind—the rides and attractions are all geared toward the under-10 crowd, making it great for toddlers and big siblings alike.

Visiting is a bit like stepping into a fairy tale: as you walk through the wooded grounds, you encounter characters from nursery rhymes and classic children's stories, like Humpty Dumpty and Alice in Wonderland. Even if you didn't go there as a kid, as many New Jerseyans did, you're sure to fall under its nostalgia-laced spell. 

My husband and I recently visited for the first time with our two boys, ages 5 and 2, and we all loved it and will definitely go back. Storybook Land is No. 1 on our list of 30 Things to Do with NJ Preschoolers, with good reason. Read on for more about this sweet NJ gem.

Jersey Shore Boardwalks and Amusement Parks for Family Fun

Everyone loves a good trip to the beach, but Jersey Shore boardwalks, with carnival games, kids' rides, and even water parks, are where the real memories are made. Whether you make it a day trip or have weekend or week-long plans to visit the beach, one thing you most definitely don't want to miss is time on the boardwalk.

From ice cream and funnel cakes, to rides and mini-golf—and a few that feature water parks and toddler amusements—a boardwalk ups the ante on your usual trip to the beach. Boardwalks and the Jersey Shore go hand-in-hand, but if you are making only one trip this year, make sure it's to one of the best!

Water Theme Parks In or Around CT

In Connecticut the water parks we have are located in larger amusement parks. The water parks themselves provide a day's worth of fun.  If you’re planning a day trip, you might want to focus on the water park area only (otherwise you could become overwhelmed by too many fun options!) Thankfully for our wallets, a few of the parks have water park only tickets available. For more water fun check out our CT Beach and Water Fun Guide Mommy Poppins Theme and Water Park Guide and our post on Brownstone Park (not a theme park, but lots of fun.).

Beauty and the Beast Aboard the Disney Dream: Cruising the Caribbean with Belle

Following last year's announcement of a Beauty and the Beast themed European river cruise, Disney Cruise Lines has opened a spectacular new stage production of Beauty and the Beast exclusively on the Disney Dream. I can’t recommend this show enough—it’s sure to be a highlight of anyone's vacation (maybe even more than the all-you-can-eat-soft-serve)—and who knew you could improve on a trip to the Bahamas?

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