Indoor water parks in Texas are a great getaway not only from the pressures and aggravations of daily life, but also from the wild climate of the southwestern state. Visitors to the Lone Star state expect southern hospitality, cowboys, and heat, but the water parks offer a chance for locals and visitors a great way to cool down or warm up no matter the time of year. Indoor water parks, in particular, may prove safer for visitors than outdoor attractions during the turbulent thunderstorm season from April to September.
Fun In and Out of the Sun
There are multiple water parks for families to frolic in during the sizzling summers, but only four indoor water parks to visit year round. Despite experiencing warmer winters, the unpredictable Texas winter can include ice storms, blizzards, and sheeting rain. But even balmy days in the fifties and sixties are too cool to spend in water that isn't heated. Residents and tourists alike will enjoy the option of visiting the state's indoor water park locations in and around the Dallas area and further south near Galveston and Padre Island.
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark
Rated the best indoor water park in Texas by USA Today, the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark opened in 2006, and its Wasserfest - ironically translated as "waterproof" - section can be converted to an indoor water park. During cooler months, as well as when the weather is bad, this section is enclosed and operated on weekends and holidays while the remaining sections of the park wait for warmer temperatures. The Wasserfest section makes up approximately one-third of the 15 acre park and includes many fun attractions.
- Three children's areas, including a toddler activity area with kiddie slides and shower fountains
- Multiple speed slides as high as 70 feet in the air
- An innovative tidal river that flows in and around other attractions
- An 1,100 square foot hot tub with swim up bar
- A man-made beach area for games and relaxation
Guests who want a chance to dry off can also enjoy the arcade section of the park as well as snack booths and other classic park features. While the Wasserfest section of the park may not deliver the full thrills of the entire park, as the first of the indoor water parks in the state it has drawn attention to the popularity of these year-round destinations and has made Schlitterbahn Galveston Island one of the most popular water parks in Texas. Schlitterbahn Galveston earned a number two rating in the top indoor water parks to visit by the Huffington Post.
South Padre Island Schlitterbahn
Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the South Padre Island Schlitterbahn has seasonal options for guests with a fully heated, indoor water park and outdoor park attached. However, this popular spring break destination for college students and families alike did not earn high ratings from visitors who reported bad service and high costs on TripAdvisor.
Visitors will find:
- Two large 70-foot tall tube slides
- Two adventurous tidal wave rivers
- Kids play areas with several smaller sliders
- Swim-up refreshment areas
- Beachfront pool
Visitors do not have to stay at the resort, but special packages are available for vacation planning. To avoid peak crowds, do not visit the park on weekends or during school vacations.
The WaterPark at The Villages
Located near Lake Palestine in Flint Texas, which is about two hours of east of Dallas, park is part of a dual condominium-resort complex. The WaterPark at The Villages resort offers multiple swimming pools, restaurants, and amenities as well as a 19,000 foot indoor water park. Though smaller than the other parks in the state, it's an attractive vacation option for families. Attractions include:
- Four water slides
- An inner-tube raft ride
- Wave pool
- Children's playscape
In summer time, the roof retracts to allow open air and sunshine. In the winter, it is strictly temperature controlled. The facility is also available to be booked for private events. Prior to planning a trip, visitors are advised to call ahead to verify the park is open to the public. Visitors described The WaterPark at The Villages as an unexpected gem and a great family treat on TripAdvisor.
Great Wolf Lodge: Grapevine
Located northwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, the Grapevine, TX Great Wolf Lodge is part of a nationally established chain of indoor water parks that offer year round accommodations and splashy thrill rides. In addition to indoor water park attractions, guests can enjoy other features at this resort property, such as the black light arcade with more than 100 video games, the kids' craft and activity room, themed restaurants, the state-of-the-art fitness center, and the luxury spa. With more than 600 ratings, Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine was rated a great vacation for families of all ages on TripAdvisor.
Visitors to indoor water parks benefit from the controlled environment, availability to visit in off season months, and avoiding sun burns and insects. Didn't find a park near where you are visiting? Don't worry, indoor water parks continue to be a growing trend in the state and around the nation.