Indoor Water Parks and Pools for Philly Area Families
Winter in Philadelphia certainly has its charms, including sledding, building snowmen, ice skating, and hot cocoa. But with a month or more of winter still ahead of us, Philly families might be looking to warm up in a more tropical environment.
While it might be nice to board a plane to a sunny island, it’s not always possible or cost-effective. Luckily, you can enjoy some summertime fun even in the coldest months at a of indoor water parks and pools not too far from Philly. Go dig out your bathing suit from behind your coats and mittens, and get ready to take the plunge at one of these exciting parks.
Staying home this weekend? Don't forget to check out Poppins@Home, which is filled with great classes, workshops, and sessions for every kid in the family. Babies can enjoy a music class, and tots can play soccer. Older children can learn how to draw cartoon characters or make science-related magical potions. Keep reading for other great ways to finish out the month.
As COVID circumstances unfold, check directly with a venue website for updates before heading out. Keep your family and others safe by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing measures. If an event appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find other exciting options.
Indoor Water Parks for Families in New Jersey
Sahara Sam's Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park — West Berlin
2021 Update: This location is currently closed due to COVID-19.
Clocking in at more than 58,000 square feet, Sahara Sam’s is one of the largest indoor water parks in New Jersey. While the typical attractions are here, such as a lazy river and a family raft ride, there also are unique offerings such as The Flow Rider, an indoor surfing simulator, and new attractions such as Tut's Twister and Cleopatra's Cove. 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 lots of options just for little ones, too, including the Lizard Lagoon, which is perfect for toddlers.
Hit the Biosphere Pool Complex at Crystal Springs Resort for a taste of the tropics.
2021 Update: Both the indoor pools and outdoor heated snow pools located at the Grand Casacades Lodge and Minerals Hotel are open. However, visitation passes and weekend member access is currently not offered to help maintain social distancing and limit capacity.
Billed as the resort’s “architectural and amenity focal point," the Biosphere pool is a 10,000-square-foot tropical indoor pool complex. The Biosphere has 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. The Mineral Pool Complex has an underground aquarium, waterfall screened cave, and beautiful views of the mountains.
CoCo Key Water Resort—Mount Laurel
2021 Update: This resort is currently closed due to COVID-19.
While this water park is located inside a hotel, you don’t need to be a guest to purchase day passes. However, we 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 balance on Lilly Pad Adventure. 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. The resort also hosts events such as movie nights.
American Dream—East Rutherford
2021 Update: This spot is open and is keeping guests safe with social distancing, mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning.
New to the list, this theme park in northern New Jersey opened in late 2019 and has so much to offer families and kids of all ages. To start, the water park is open year round and is actually the largest one in North America. Visitors can expect Nickelodeon-themed attractions, wave pool, lazy river, slides, hot tubs, sky box suites, and poolside cabanas. In addition to the water park, guests can enjoy the indoor theme park with roller coasters and rides, blacklight mini-golf, Angry Birds mini golf, an indoor snow park featuring skiing and snowboarding, ice rink, shops, and restaurants. With so many options, there is no way to be bored at this kid paradise,.
Masks are required for water play at Kalahari Resorts.
Indoor Water Parks for Families in Pennsylvania
H20ooohh! Indoor Family Water Park—Lake Harmony
2021 Update: This water park is generally open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays with a few additional days surrounding Presidents Day. Guests and staff must have their temperatures checked. Increased cleaning and sanitation can be expected. Visitors must wear masks and maintain social distance.
This family water park is particularly great for adventure seekers. Popular attractions include Pennsylvania’s first indoor flowrider as well as three four-story slides. Families looking to take it easy also can enjoy the wave pool, and younger children can splash and explore in the activity pool and lilly pad play areas. The water park is adjacent to Split Rock Resort, but day passes are available on Fridays from 4 to 8 pm. This spot is the most fun for kids 12 and younger and moderately enjoyable for kids 13 and older.
Kalahari Resorts—Pocono Manor
2021 Update: This spot is open for business although water park hours may be shortened. Guests 2 and older must wear masks and maintain social distancing. To minimize contact, there is no valet parking, bell service, and luggage storage. Hand sanitizing stations are positioned throughout the resort.
Known as America's largest water park, Kalahari Resorts has 220,000 square feet of fun. It features a sweeping park full of slides, tubing adventures, and even its own indoor surfing and body boarding 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 to bask in the sunshine. Note: Purchasing day passes online is the only way to guarantee admission.
2021 Update: This resort welcomes guests for the season. Upon arrival, each visitor completes a health screening and temperature check. Capacity has been reduced to 50%, including dining, indoor activities, and entertainment. No daily housekeeping is offered.
Woodloch's Splash Zone is one of the smaller indoor water parks on this 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. Children who go on the slide must be able to swim without a floatation device.
Aquatopia at Camelback Resort—Tannersville
2021 Update: Safety protocols such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing are in place at this resort. Cashless transactions are offered to limit contact and outdoor dining and take out are available.
Aquatopia is one of the largest water parks at more than 125,000 square feet. 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. For the little ones, there are kiddie slides and a zero-depth entry pool at the Penguin Play Bay. Families can also delight in the gigantic wave pool that’s so real, you’ll feel like you’re at the beach. Open only to hotel guests. Camelback, which we've visited several times, offers year-round fun, including skiing and tubing, and an outdoor water park for the summer.
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Take the plunge with a ride on the Hydro Plunge at Great Wolf Lodge.
Great Wolf Lodge—Scotron
2021 Update: This resort is open for guests. Visitors ages 2 and older must wear masks. Social distancing, contactless transactions, and enhanced cleaning protocols are also in place.
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 lots of 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 is required for use of this water park, parents will get a lot of bang for their buck here with so much fun to be had from wakeup to bedtime.
Indoor Water Parks for Families in New York
Six Flags Great Escape Lodge—Queensbury
2021 Update: Guests can enjoy the lazy river, Tak-It-Eesi-Creek, children’s activity pool, and Tip-A-Kanu-Beach. Attractions inside White Water Bay, Great Escape Theme Park and Hurricane Harbor are currently closed. This resort offers a flexible zero cancellation fee up to 48 hours prior to check-in. All resort fees are currently being waived. Capacity is limited. Day passes are not available.
White Water Bay is the indoor water park housed at this mountain lodge. Access is included with a stay at the hotel. Normally day passes can be purchased but are not being offered at this time. While families can float leisurely along the lazy river, those looking for a faster pace will 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.
2021 Update: Cascades Indoor Water Park features including wave pool, outdoor pool, small indoor pool, and the kiddie pool are open by reservation. Due to state COVID-19 regulations, the slides, hot tubs, and splash features are closed. Capacity limits are in effect.
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 will love splashing and exploring, and the Cove, a 22,000-gallon, 1,000-square-foot area designed for shooting hoops. Meanwhile, parents can enjoy Hot Springs, indoor/outdoor hot tubs fitted with hydrotherapy jets that are perfect for unwinding after a day of fun.
Rocking Horse Ranch—Highland
2021 Update: Temperatures are checked upon arrival. Masks must be worn and social distancing must be maintained. Restaurants will not offer buffets and a new air purification system has been installed in public areas to kill 99% of viruses and germs.
It's always 85 degrees at Rocking Horse Ranch. This large indoor water park is part of an all-inclusive Hudson Valley resort that also features a true ranch, complete with horseback riding year-round. Big kids find thrills and chills on Gold Rush, a 250-foot-long Golden Flume Water Slide as well as Dynamite Alley Water Walk Challenge. Preschoolers aren't left out either, with smaller slides, fountains, and aqua stations aplenty. Kids can also enjoy fun beyond the water park with bounce houses, entertainment characters, and an arcade.
This post was originally published in 2017. Writer Kristen Sullivan contributed to this 2020 update.
Photos courtesy of the resorts; some photos are from before COVID-19 protocols.