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DISCOVER FUN IN THE SUN AT TEXAS WATER PARKS

BY CHRISTINA GARCIA

Instead of being drenched in sweat all summer, you’ll find that Texas has fantastic entertainment options that will shower thrill seekers and lazy river riders alike. But water park fun takes planning. To help you decide where to go, here is a list of local parks and some you can visit if you are road-tripping this summer.


SIX FLAGS HURRICANE HARBOR, ARLINGTON

Gigantic slides tower and twist over the skyline as you drive past Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Arlington, but inside the park, you’ll watch adrenaline junkies climb up seven stories to free-fall on the Der Stuka and Dive Bomber. They’ll launch into the Black Hole to see only flickering lights as they descend, and they’ll still have more to do at the largest water park in North Texas. With almost 24 rides and attractions, slick, high-charged rides coexist with the slower paced lazy river and more placid attractions, like the enormous lagoon’s park combers, offer a peaceful getaway. No outside food allowed. For some South Texas fun, check out Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Splashtown.


EPIC WATERS INDOOR WATERPARK, GRAND PRAIRIE

Ranking second on USA Today’s 2024 list of the top 10 best indoor waterparks, Grand Prairie’s city-owned Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark is a sprawling 172-acre complex open year-round. With ten rides and attractions as well as a 4,000-square-foot arcade, the park boasts some rides as high as seven stories. Trap doors, long tubes, and racer rides attract plenty of families frolicking in a climate-controlled space beneath the retractable roof. Bring proof of Grand Prairie address for a discount. No outside food allowed.



SCHLITTERBAHN, GALVESTON

Three sections called Blastenhoff, Surfenburg, and Wasserfest are all connected by a river at Schlitterbahn’s Galveston location, meaning you can visit every ride without ever leaving the water. Each section features wilder slide and tube rides alongside calmer wading pools, so everyone can come along. Elevate your heart rate with rides like the Screaming Serpents double helix, and then jump on a racing uphill coaster, the Dragon Blaster, before coasting gently to the next ride guaranteed to blow your hair back. Hold onto your swim trunks in the Boogie Bahn. You’ll need them for the more than two dozen other rides and attractions.


TYPHOON TEXAS WATERPARK, HOUSTON, AND AUSTIN

Typhoon Texas Waterpark, located in Austin and Houston, offers thrilling water attractions and family-friendly activities, making it a popular summer destination. In Austin, the park features exciting rides like the Lone Star Racers, where guests can race down high- speed slides, and the Snake Pit, three body slides that twist and turn like a West Texas Rattler. For those seeking relaxation, the Lazy T River offers a serene floating experience through the park.


In Houston, Typhoon Texas boasts the exhilarating Tidal Wave Bay, a massive wave pool that simulates ocean waves, and the Duelin’ Daltons, a pair of high-speed body slides. The park also features Gully Washer, a huge interactive play area with water cannons, slides, and a giant tipping bucket, perfect for younger guests. Both locations offer cabana rentals for a more private and relaxing experience, as well as various dining options to refuel during a day of fun in the sun.

GREAT WOLF LODGE, GRAPEVINE, TEXAS

This expansive indoor water park is perfect for family fun. Highlights include the Howlin’ Tornado, a thrilling funnel slide, and Fort Mackenzie, an interactive treehouse with water cannons and slides. The wave pool and lazy river offer relaxing alternatives for all ages. Additionally, the lodge provides comfortable accommodations, dining options, and family-friendly activities beyond the water park. Not a guest staying at the lodge? Day passes are available to purchase for the water park online. Exciting news for Texans: a new Great Wolf Lodge is set to open in Houston on August 29th, promising even more adventure and memorable experiences for families in the Lone Star State.


PIRATES BAY IN BAYTOWN, TEXAS

Operated by the Baytown Parks and Recreation Department, this water park offers a variety of exciting attractions for all ages. The park features a large wave pool, a lazy river, and a children’s play area with splash pads and mini slides. Thrill-seekers can enjoy the park’s numerous water slides, including the thrilling Space Bowl and the high- speed Boomerango. For a more relaxed experience, guests can rent private cabanas and enjoy dining options within the park. Pirates Bay provides a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, making it a favorite summer destination for families and water enthusiasts in the Houston area.


BAHAMA BEACH, DALLAS

A tropical treat in South Dallas, Bahama Beach is a family water park and municipal facility open from mid-May to mid-August. Get into the coastal spirit with over a dozen rides and attractions, including classics like the lazy river, lagoon, two-person racing slides, and winding chutes. Park admissions are affordable and offer discounts for Dallas residents. Coolers are permitted for a fee based on size.

NRH2O FAMILY WATER PARK, NORTH RICHLAND HILLS

Another municipally owned treasure, NRH2O in North Richland Hills invites babes to their Tadpole Swimming Hole and Frogstein’s Splashatory. Bigger kids race mats down slides, twirl through Bounder’s Thrill Tower, and slither on The Viper. With 23 attractions, the park is a water world full of family fun. NRH20 also offers private cabanas for rent, providing a comfortable, shaded retreat. North Richland Hills residents get discounted entry with proof of address.


Just Add Water!

Five ParkMust-Haves


Sunscreen: Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to severe sunburns, especially when you’re in and out of the water, which can wash away protective layers. Opt for a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply it every two hours. Don’t forget to cover often- missed spots like the ears, the tops

of feet, and the back of the neck.


Swimwear and Cover-Up: Comfortable, well-fitting swimwear is crucial for enjoying the waterpark’s attractions. Consider swimwear with good support for activities like wave pools and water slides. Additionally, a lightweight cover-up or rash guard can provide extra sun protection and is handy for walking around the park.


Water Shoes: Water shoes are essential for protecting your feet from hot pavement, slippery surfaces, and potential hazards in the water. They provide better grip than flip-flops and can be worn on most water rides. Choose a pair that is lightweight, quick-drying, and has a good sole for traction.


Waterproof Bag: A waterproof bag or pouch is invaluable for keeping your belongings dry. Store essentials like your phone, money, and keys in this bag to prevent water damage. Some waterproof bags can also double as floatable pouches, ensuring your items are safe even if dropped in water.


Hydration and Snacks: Staying hydrated is crucial, especially on hot days. Bring a refillable water bottle to keep your fluid intake up. Some waterparks have water fountains or refill stations. If the park allows it, pack some light snacks like fruit, nuts, or granola bars. Many parks have picnic areas or designated eating spots where you can take a break and recharge.

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