Nothing takes the edge off a hot summer day like a dip in the pool, but if you're looking for a little more excitement this summer, we have the perfect suggestion. Across the country, water parks featuring heart-stopping attractions are breaking records and taking riders to new heights, while offering family-friendly fun that offers something for everyone. From water coasters to the country's first inclined loop on a waterslide, check out what's on tap this summer at America's best water parks.
1. Noah's Ark
Where: Wisconsin Dells
As the nation's largest water park, Noah's Ark in the Wisconsin Dells lives up to its title with an overwhelming assortment of water rides. With 51 slides, two wave pools, and a surfing simulator, Surfing Safari, Noah's Ark offers something for the whole family. Thrill-seekers head to Noah's Ark for its extreme rides including the Scorpion's Tail, which sends riders down a near vertical slide into an inclined loop. Be sure to check out the Black Anaconda as well, touted as America's most thrilling water coaster, which clips riders through the dizzying course at speeds up to 30 mph.
Insider Tip: After working up an appetite exploring Noah's Ark, head over to The Dell's best burger joint, Monk's Bar & Grill. No trip to Wisconsin is complete without indulging in the local staple of cheese curds, and Monk's offers some of the finest. Be sure to ask for extra dipping sauces!
2. Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark
Where: Kansas City, Kansas
Verruckt, the tallest water slide in the world is scheduled to open this summer at Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark. By all accounts, there simply is nothing else like it. Having garnered incredible buzz online for its sheer height, Verruckt plummets four riders at a time on a raft down 15 stories, reaching speeds up to 70 mph. For those looking to stay closer to sea level, Schlitterbahn offers the Torrent River, the world's largest tidal wave river. Mind the rough seas as you drift through a canyon and around the colorful park.
Insider Tip: Seek out the swim-up bar for the chance to relax in the heated pool while enjoying your favorite refreshment.
3. Kalahari Resort
Where: Wisconsin Dells
Open rain or shine, the 125,000-square-foot indoor water park at the Kalahari Resort is simply palatial. Head straight to the Sahara Sidewinders for the thrill of a lifetime as you enter an enclosed capsule seconds before the floor drops out. Learn how to surf alongside the best with Kalahari's powerful Flowrider, a surf simulator that pumps 50,000 gallons of water under you every minute, creating what feels like a five-foot ocean wave. Add this to the well-themed outdoor water park, Zambezi, and you have more than a day's worth of fun.
Insider Tip: Not far from the Wisconsin Dells in Baraboo, Wisconsin, is the Circus World Museum, birthplace of the Ringling Brothers. The museum features an inside look into the Brother's success story. Go for the history and stay for the shows, as the museum offers an array of circus performances daily.
4. Splashin' Safari
Where: Santa Claus, Indiana
You'll surely feel your heart stop with a ride on the world's two longest water coasters, formidably dubbed Mammoth and Wildebeest, two of the prized rides that lend Splashin' Safari its reputation. Mammoth's unique six-person raft takes riders to the top of a seven-story hill before starting the course of seven drops. Gliding down facing forward, sideways or backwards, your raft spins independently making each ride unique. Wildebeest's remarkable track of underground tunnels and drops add to its clipping speed of 36 feet-per-second. With toboggan-style sleds that seat four, Wildebeest offers a comparable thrill to Mammoth.
Insider Tip: Splashin' Safari features fireworks on Fridays through August 1, the perfect way to end your day in the sun with a boom.
5. Water World
With nearly 40 aquatic attractions, Water World is enormous. The Mile High Flyer, a water coaster, is one of the park's star attractions for its speed and intensity. The Storm is a unique take on a raft ride as riders zoom down a pitch-dark tube themed to recreate a storm. With loud thunder, flashes of lighting, and of course, rain, let Mother Nature delightfully disorient you. If speed piques your interest, be sure to step up to the Turbo Racer, an eight-across slide competition that ends each bout with an announcement of the winner.
Insider Tip: While in Denver, take a drive on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, a 28-mile picturesque drive that climbs up to 14,265 feet. Gorgeous panoramic views await above up in the clouds.