Splash and Slide at Indoor Water Parks For New Jersey Families
You can enjoy some summertime fun even in the coldest months at a multitude of indoor water parks in and around New Jersey, where the temperature is kept at a balmy 84 degrees year-round. All of these destinations can be reached in about 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 we've found a slew of winter day trips, and a ton of picks for February break entertainment.
Before you head out, be sure to check state and local travel advisories, many of which require out-of-state visitors to quarantine or have a negative COVID-19 test before arrival. You may also be required to quarantine or test out when you return. See the latest New Jersey travel guidelines for further details. As always, protect your family and others by wearing a mask anytime you're not in the water.
It's all about speed in these water slides at Sahara Sam's.
Indoor Water Parks in New Jersey
Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park – West Berlin
2021 update: Reopening on Saturday, February 13; Sahara Sam's will operate weekends-only until spring break. Advance tickets are required.
Clocking in at more than 58,000 square feet, kids of all ages will 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.
DreamWorks Water Park – East Rutherford
2021 update: The Soakin' Sugari, Majunga Jump, and hot tubs are currently closed; the lazy river is open on weekends only. Visit the website for updates on additional attraction limits. Guests are temperature checked upon arrival. Purchase tickets in advance since capacity is limited. Complimentary date changes (subject to availability) will be honored if you are not feeling well.
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.
Hit the Biosphere Pool Complex at Crystal Springs for a taste of the tropics.
2021 update: The pool remains open to hotel guests during the pandemic. Masks are not required while in the pool but are required elsewhere. Guests must sign a declaration of health before their stay.
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. Note that the Biosphere pool complex is open only to guests of the hotel.
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
2021 update: Aquatopia reopened in early January. Masks are required when you're not in the water, and you can see a full list of Camelback's precautions online.
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 kinds of 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. Overnight stay is no longer required to visit, but plan to book your tickets in advance.
Woodloch Resort – Hawley
2021 update: While the pools are open, there are capacity restrictions—but you can check the resort’s app to see if they’ve hit the maximum capacity before you suit up.
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 the littles to enjoy.
H2ooohh!, known for its high-thrills attractions, also offers some gentler fun.
H20ooohh! Indoor Family Water Park – Lake Harmony
2021 update: This facility's safety protocols require face coverings when not in the pool and social distancing in public places.
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.
Kalahari offers fun for thrill seeks and little kids alike
Kalahari Resorts – Pocono Manor
2021 update: Kalahari reopened in early January. Social distancing must be practiced and masks worn when you are out of the water. Find the resort's full safety precautions here.
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.
Test your courage on the Hydro Plunge at Great Wolf Lodge.
Great Wolf Lodge – Scotrun
2021 update: Hot tubs are currently closed, and face masks are required when you're not actively enjoying the water park attractions.
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.
It's always summer at Rocking Horse Ranch's Big Splash indoor water park.
Indoor Water Parks in New York
Rocking Horse Ranch – Highland
2021 update: Temperature checks are required, and more safety precautions are in place.
This indoor water park is part of an 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.
Cascades at Greek Peak Mountain Resort – Cortland
2021 update: The pool features (wave pool, small indoor pool, and the kiddie pool) are open by reservation. Slides, hot tubs, and splash zones are temporarily closed due to New York COVID-19 regulations. Advanced tickets will be sold for three-hour time periods.
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.
Six Flags Great Escape Lodge – Queensbury
2021 update: The lazy river, Tak-It-Eesi-Creek, and children’s activity pool, Tip-A-Kanu-Beach, are open. Check the hours of operations as they may vary. The remaining attractions inside White Water Bay, Great Escape Theme Park, and Hurricane Harbor remain temporarily closed.
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.
The interactive aquatic jungle, Parrot's Perch at CoCo Key, is for kids of all ages.
Nearby Water Parks That Are Currently Closed
CoCo Key Water Resort – Mount Laurel
2021 update: Hotel ML and CoCo Key Water Resort are closed indefinitely.
While this water park is located inside a hotel, you don’t need to be a guest to purchase day passes. However, we highly recommend buying day passes in advance to ensure admission. CoCo Key boasts a dizzying array of slides, and there is something for every child, from the littlest ones dipping into the baby pools to bigger kids daring to take on the Barracuda Blast. There's also an aquatic jungle gym for kids of all ages, with slides and dumping buckets. And the whole family will love drifting on the lazy river.
Kartrite Resort & Indoor Water Park – Monticello, New York
2021 update: This facility is temporarily closed until further notice.
The Catskills' newest attraction, The Kartrite, features 80,000-square feet of indoor water activities, including a lazy river, 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. If the weather cooperates, pick up a s'mores kit for $5 in the lobby and head to the outdoor fire pit.
Photos courtesy of the venues
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated since.
Places featured in this article:
H20ooohh! Indoor Waterpark
Great Wolf Lodge
Kartrite Resort and Indoor Water Park
Greek Peak Mountain Resort
Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark