Splash and Slide at Indoor Water Parks Near New Jersey for Families
You can enjoy some summertime fun even in the coldest months at a multitude of indoor water parks in and near New Jersey, where the temperature is kept at a balmy 84 degrees year-round. All of these destinations can be reached in 3 hours or less by car, give or take your starting address and traffic, of course.
So, go dig out your bathing suit from behind your coats and mittens, and get ready to take the plunge at one of these exciting indoor water parks. If you're looking for more seasonal fun, we've rounded up 30 things to do with NJ kids this winter, plus a slew of winter day trips.
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Be sure to check with each venue for its COVID guidelines and requirements before heading out as they are constantly changing.
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Indoor Water Parks in New Jersey
DreamWorks Water Park – East Rutherford
Escape to American Dream for year-round fun at DreamWorks' Water Park, the biggest indoor water park in North America. Drop through Baobab trees in Madagascar, catch a six-foot wave in the wave pool, visit the Kung Fu Panda Temple of Awesomeness Play Structure, or five and glide like the Madagascar penguins on six child-friendly body slides. There are plenty of fast and large drop attractions for teens as well. Plus, enjoy meet-and-greets with DreamWorks characters from Shrek, Madagascar, Trolls, Kung Fu Panda, and more. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed on the day of your visit. Check the daily schedule for the most recent updates.
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It's all about speed in these water slides at Sahara Sam's.
Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park – West Berlin
Clocking in at more than 58,000 square feet, kids of all ages love racing on the body slides, mastering the challenging obstacle courses of Crocodile Flats, and even slam-dunking basketballs in the pool. There are many options just for little ones, too, including the Lizard Lagoon, which is perfect for toddlers. Note that Sahara Sam's is only open Fridays-Sundays during off-peak months plus select weekdays in March and April. Check the schedule for the most up-to-date hours.
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Hit the Biosphere Pool Complex at Crystal Springs for a taste of the tropics.
Biosphere Pool Complex at Crystal Springs Resort – Hamburg
This is no ordinary hotel pool. Billed as the resort’s "architectural and amenity focal point," the Biosphere pool complex is a 10,000-square-foot tropical indoor paradise. Attractions include a 140-foot water slide, grotto-like Jacuzzis, and even an underground aquarium. Waterfalls and lush foliage transport families to a true tropical state of mind. If you're missing the sun, this is the place for you: the Biosphere's special roof allows nearly 100% light transmission, so be sure to pack your sunscreen. As if all of that weren't enough, kids can also test their skills on a life-size chessboard. One caveat: A plunge here is reserved for hotel guests only.
Aquatopia's Bombora FlowRider makes you forget you’re frolicking indoors and not at the beach.
Indoor Water Parks in Pennsylvania
Aquatopia at Camelback Resort – Tannersville
At more than 125,000 square feet, Aquatopia is one of the largest indoor water parks we’ve encountered. Daring older kids (and parents) can test their mettle on the aptly named Skydive Plummet, which is one of more than a dozen slides you can find at the park; others include mat slides, bowl slides, body slides, and even aqua launch capsule slides. There are kiddie slides and a zero-depth entry pool at the Penguin Play Bay for the little ones. Families can also delight in the gigantic wave pool that’s so real, you’ll feel like you’re at the beach. An overnight stay is no longer required to visit, but plan to book your tickets in advance.
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Woodloch Resort's indoor Splash Zone is perfect for pint-sized visitors and included in the resort's all-inclusive rates.
Woodloch Resort – Hawley
Woodloch's Splash Zone, which opened in 2016, is one of the smaller indoor water parks on our list. Open only to those who stay at the all-inclusive resort, the Splash Zone is perfect for families with younger children and is a great complement to the many outdoor winter activities Woodloch offers. It houses a double-corkscrew slide, a water tower that douses revelers with 300 gallons of water every few minutes, and a splash area featuring fountains and sprayers. There's also a kiddie splash pool for little ones to enjoy.
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H2ooohh!, known for its high-thrills attractions, also offers some gentler fun.
H20ooohh! Indoor Family Water Park – Lake Harmony
This family water park is particularly great for adventure seekers. Popular attractions include Pennsylvania’s first indoor Flow Rider, called the Komodo Dragon, as well as Amazon Blast slides that drop an astounding four stories! Families looking to take it easy also can enjoy the Lava Springs hot tubs, and younger children can splash and explore in the Jungle Falls, and Leapin’ Lizards play areas. The water park is adjacent to Split Rock Resort, but day passes are available. Note that the park is only open Fridays-Sundays in off-peak months, so check the schedule before heading out.
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Kalahari offers fun for thrill seeks and little kids alike
Kalahari Resorts – Pocono Manor
We visited Kalahari Resorts when it opened in 2015. It features a sweeping park full of slides, tubing adventures, and even its own indoor surfing and bodyboarding experience. While thrill-seekers can test their bravery on the Anaconda water roller coaster, younger guests have plenty of fantastic options for water play in the Splashdown Safari, complete with zero-depth entry pools, net crawls, and interactive water fun. While Kalahari is a wonderful option for the coldest days, it's also great during the summer months, when guests can take full advantage of Kalahari’s retractable roof and outdoor water park to bask in the sunshine. Purchase day passes online to guarantee admission.
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Test your courage on the Hydro Plunge at Great Wolf Lodge.
Great Wolf Lodge – Scotrun
This family-friendly water park is a favorite among the well-known indoor water parks, and it’s not hard to see why. Kids of all ages have seemingly unlimited options, from slide boarding and tube slides to aquatic roller coasters with a 40-foot drop. Families looking to relax can also float along the lazy river or have pint-sized fun on the mini slides and geysers at the Cub Paw Pool. There are also many options for kids after they dry off, including storytime, puppet shows, character appearances throughout the park, a scaled-down bowling alley, and an arcade. While a stay at the hotel used to be required, day passes are now available and can be booked online in advance.
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It's always summer at Rocking Horse Ranch's Big Splash indoor water park.
Indoor Water Parks in New York
Rocking Horse Ranch – Highland
This indoor water park is part of the all-inclusive family resort that also features a true ranch, complete with horseback riding year-round. Big kids find thrills and chills on The Gold Rush, a 250-foot-long Golden Flume Water Slide, as well as in-water obstacle courses, a cargo net challenge, and dumping buckets. Preschoolers aren't left out, with smaller slides, fountains, and aqua stations aplenty. Kids can also enjoy fun beyond the water park with bounce houses, live entertainment, and an arcade. At this time, masks are required for all guests, regardless of vaccination status.
Cascades at Greek Peak Mountain Resort – Cortland
The first indoor water park in the Finger Lakes Region, Cascades is attached to Hope Lake Lodge, a luxurious “green” hotel with panoramic views of the area. Priding itself on a spacious wave pool and three-story tube slide, Cascades also features Big and Little Bear Falls, where kids of all ages love splashing and exploring, and the Cove, a 22,000-gallon, a 1,000-square-foot area designed for shooting hoops. Meanwhile, parents can enjoy Hot Springs, indoor/outdoor hot tubs fitted with hydrotherapy jets perfect for unwinding after a day of fun. Tickets sell out on busy weeks, so be sure to book your reservations in advance.
Six Flags Great Escape Lodge – Queensbury
White Water Bay is the indoor water park housed at this mountain lodge. Access is included with a stay at the hotel, but day passes can also be purchased. While families can float leisurely along the lazy river, those looking for a faster pace take pleasure in the whitewater rafting experience or hang 10 while trying their hand at surfing. An aquatic treehouse is a real treat for kids of all sizes, and there are plenty of slides and pools for water play of all kinds. At Tip-A-Kanu Beach, tots can swing in baby swings and wade in shallow pools complete with wildlife-themed fountains. This park is open on weekends in the winter months and select weekdays in February and March. Check the schedule for the most up-to-date hours.
Kartrite Resort & Indoor Water Park – Monticello, New York
The Kartrite features 80,000-square feet of indoor water activities, including a lazy river, a little kids' play area, a racing slide, a surf simulator, and aqua basketball. When the kids are ready to dry off, other features include an arcade with toddler ride-ons, a mini-bowling alley, and an outdoor playground. With three different restaurants plus a sweet shop, coffee bar, and poolside snack bar, even the pickiest eaters will find something to nosh on. Check the daily schedule for fun weekend events like movies, a hot chocolate bar, crafts, make your own pizza, paint and sip, and more. Additional fees may apply. Day passes are available.
Photos courtesy of the venues
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated since.