Best Chicago Area Indoor Waterparks

January 20, 2012 6:00 AM


by Kristin McCann

By the time January and February roll around, my kids are going stir crazy. It’s been weeks since we’ve been able to go to an outdoor park to burn off some energy and it’s been months since they’ve been able to go swimming. Our bathing suits and sunscreen have been tucked away in a drawer for much too long. But it’s time to break them out again – well, maybe just the bathing suits. These local-area indoor water parks are climate controlled and don’t miss a beat when it comes to pool-time, water-splashing fun.

Most of these waterparks are available even without an overnight stay and if you do stay overnight, the park is usually included in the price of the hotel room. Some are open on weekends only and some will open for school holidays. Be sure to check out the website for all the details.

Foursquare Favorite: Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark
7020 Grand Geneva Way
Lake Geneva, WI 53147
(262) 248-8811
Read all the tips on Foursquare

Two hours north of Chicago in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Timber Ridge Resort & Waterpark is a 50,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor park with a 35-foot slide, activity pool, lazy river, and more. Kids also love the downstairs arcade, and weekends in the summer are often delightfully uncrowded. Willing to settle for a pool instead? Try Chicago’s Best Swimming Pools.


And head to Foursquare to sort reviews by these tastes:


01 Best Chicago Area Indoor Waterparks


Hours: September – May – 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. (M-F)
9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays
Day Rates: $20 ½ day pas – $30 full day pass
Overnight Rates Start at $103.00 per night

At the Mayan Adventure Indoor Waterpark, it’s always a balmy 82 degrees and there’s never any snow. Kids and adults alike can enjoy 24,000 square feet water-based fun, including the Grand Mayan Falls Tube Slide or the Howling Monkey Body Slide. You can take it easy and drift along the Oogaboo Lazy River. How about taking in a game of water basketball in the Twisted Lizard Family Activity Pool, exercising your Mayan climbing skills, exploring the Parrot Island Interactive Play Station or getting drenched by the 300-gallon Mayan Head Dumping Bucket? The other great thing about this water park is you can visit by the day.

gbl waterpark12 300x225 Best Chicago Area Indoor Waterparks


Overnight Rates Start at $179.95
Waterpark hours vary by days and season

Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort offers skin-drenching fun all year long right in the beautiful setting of Starved Rock State Park. Located just 90 minutes from Chicago, the 60 wooded acres offer all of nature’s wonders, featuring 60,000 sq. ft. of Indoor Entertainment! This includes Grand Bear Falls Indoor Waterpark and Enchanted Forest Indoor Amusement Park, beautiful lodge accommodations, a variety of dining options and Canyon Creek Miniature Golf Course. The 24,000-square-foot indoor waterpark includes a wave pool, water slides, a lazy river, Jacuzzi hot tub and a kiddie pool. The Enchanted Forest indoor amusement park is a 36,000-square-foot indoor play house featuring incredible, full size amusement park rides, great video games, rocking music and plenty of food options.

02 Best Chicago Area Indoor Waterparks

(credit: KeyLime Cove)

Hours: Monday – Friday – 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday – 9:00 am to 9:00 p.m.
Overnight rates start at: $129.95

Kids who can make the height requirements (42” to 48” height requirements for these rides) as well as parents love the thrill of KeyLime Cove’s Wild Rides. Bigger kids and parents will love the thrill of two giant body slides that are each more than 500 feet long, the “Hurricane Vortex” swirling whirlpool ride, and the Tsunami Washout Wavepool. Waterpark admission is included with all rooms. In addition, there is 10,000 square feet of entertainment including the RipTide Reef Arcade, Leapin’ Lizards artistic adventure spot for funky crafts and games, Pinki’s Pet Palace where the kids can make their very own pet, and much more.

CoCo Key Water Resort attraction is closed effective October 4th until upgrades are completed to Rockford’s only indoor water park. This closure is only temporary and CoCo Key will be open again soon offering 84 degrees of rain or shine indoor water park fun.

Kristin McCann is working mom with two young girls. She strives to have fun, quality time with her family and a fulfilling professional career – even though many believe the two to be mutually exclusive.