16 New Water Park Additions for 2017

Whether you want to relax poolside listening to waves with your toes in the sand or get an adrenaline rush on a high- speed slide, water parks beckon in the summertime. Across the U.S., you’ll find a host of new and re designed water parks and resorts as well as a multitude of new slides, splash area and attractions. If you have the urge to s hoot through a volcano, race your friends and family or even fight the ” Battle of Lake Erie,” visit one of these top 16 water park attractions opening in 2017.

Volcano Bay UOR

Krakatau Aqua Coaster at Universal’s Volcano Bay, image courtesy Universal Orlando Resort

Volcano Bay

Universal Orlando Resort, Florida

Touted as the third theme park for Universal Orlando Resort, Volcano Bay water park is scheduled to open May 25, just in time for the summer season. The centerpiece of the water park is the 200-foot-tall Krakatau volcano, which will feature the Krakatau Aqua Coaster that launches riders uphill before the ultimate plunge. The volcano is also home to Ko’ okiri Body Plunge, a 125-foot-tall body slide. In addition, Volcano Bay will decrease your wait time with its TapuTapu wearable device, which sends an alert when it’s time to ride. Here’s how it works: You tap the device at the attraction to reserve your spot in line, and go play in other areas of Volcano Bay.

Volcano Bay UOR

Universal’s Volcano Bay, image courtesy Universal Orlando Resort

H2OBX Waterpark

Powells Point, North Carolina

A brand-new water park opens Memorial Day Weekend on the northern edge of North Carolina’ s Outer Banks. The 80- acre H2OBX Waterpark features 30 different slides and attractions designed by the organization WhiteWater West. Notable rides at H2OBX include a FlowRider surfing simulator, two separate wave pools and Adventure Lagoon with balance, climb and crawl obstacles. Families can also enjoy a Pirate- themed play structure with 70 interactive water features and seven slides. There will also be body and tube slides for younger kids.

H2OBX Waterpark

Image courtesy H2OBX Waterpark

Great Wolf Lodge

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The 14th resort for the popular North American indoor waterpark chain, Great Wolf Lodge recently opened in Colorado Springs. The property affords stunning views of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains. Known as an all-in-one destination resort, Great Wolf Lodge features a 50,000- square- foot indoor water park with a Howlin’ Tornado five-story funnel slide, a Wolf Tail trapdoor drop slide with 360-degree loop, a wave pool and the Fort Mackenzie splash ground. Keep in mind, a dmission to the newest Great Wolf Lodge indoor waterpark is limited to hotel guests and limits crowding that could be found at other indoor waterparks.

GWL Co Springs Howlin' Tornado

Howlin’ Tornado, image courtesy Great Wolf Lodge

Cedar Point Shores Water Park

Sandusky, Ohio

Cedar Point has redesigned its Soak City water park to fully embrace its Lake Erie beachfront location with the opening of Cedar Point Shores Water Park. In addition to original attractions, the 18-acre waterpark will include four brand-new additions for 2017, such as Point Plummet, a six-story, four person drop slide, the Portside Plunge five-story tube slide, the Lakeslide Landing junior kid complex and Lemmy’ s Lagoon family splash area, along with unobstructed views of the vastness of Lake Erie. Cedar Point Shores opens Saturday, May 27.

Cedar Point Shores Plummet

Point Plummet, image courtesy Cedar Point Shores Water Park

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Lake Buena Vista , Florida

In March , Disney opened Miss Adventure Falls, a family raft ride at its 61-acre Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. A conveyor belt transports visitors to the top of the ride, eliminating the need to plod up staircases while hauling your raft. Along the way, visitors meet Duncan the parrot, the first audio animatronic at either of Walt Disney World’ s two waterparks (Blizzard Beach is the second). The twisting, turning, splashing, two-minute ride is currently the longest waterslide at Walt Disney World.

Miss Adventure Falls at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon

Miss Adventure Falls at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, photo by Kent Phillips, courtesy Walt Disney World Resort

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions

Sandusky, Ohio

Not one, not two, three or four… but five new waterslides are coming to Kalahari’s outdoor waterpark in 2017. The twisters will include Stingray, Sahara Sidewinder, Tornado Alley, Serengeti Spinner and Extreme Rush. You’ ll experience weightless hang time on Stingray, centrifugal force on Sahara Sidewinder, tight 360-degree loops on Serengeti Spinner, a 24-foot funnel on Tornado Alley and a near-vertical high- speed drop into a 360-degree loop on Extreme Rush.

Kalahari Resorts

Image courtesy Kalahari Resorts

Elitch Gardens

Denver, Colorado

Elitch Gardens will unveil a new action-packed multi slide tower this year. Sliders can choose one of three different body slides on the six-story Mega Wedgie tower, which will send riders at 40 mph towards the bottom. Whether you decide to take the twisting, bumping or straight route to the splash pool, once you touch down, you’ll likely be adjusting your trunks.

Mega Wedgie

Mega Wedgie, image courtesy Elitch Gardens

Splash Island Water Park

Valdosta, Georgia

Wild Adventures theme park in Valdosta, Georgia will open a new area for its Splash Island Water Park. The surfing- themed Ohana Bay will feature seven new water slides, with five well-suited for visitors of all ages, and the remaining two nearly three-stories tall. Ohana Bay will also feature a splash ground area for younger children.

Ohana Bay

Ohana Bay, image courtesy Splash Island Water Park

Knott’s Soak City Water Park

Buena Park, California

Two new waterslide towers will debut at Knott’s Soak City when it opens for the summer season. The seven-story tall Shore Break tower features a four- person trap door, drop slide and a dueling tube slide. Meanwhile, t The Wedge tower takes up to 6 riders through the twists, turns and drops of a family raft ride. In addition to the two new slide towers, Knott’ s Soak City added additional shaded seating, more private cabanas and a remodeled eatery – Longboard’s Grill.

Knott's Soak City

Knott’s Soak City, image courtesy Knott’s Berry Farm

Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park will add TailSpin Racer, a high-speed, multi lane slide, where guests can compete against five other riders on mats through spiraling tubes. TailSpin Racer’ s tower rise 5 stories , and the intertwined, twisting slides are longer than the length of a football field. Best of all, the ride begins in an ergonomically designed starting block before dropping at high speeds into the AquaTubes.

TailSpin Racer

TailSpin Racer, image courtesy Dollywood

Legoland Water Park

Carlsbad, California

Racing slides are all the rage in 2017 as Legoland Surfers opens at this popular California water park. Up to six little surfers race on mats to see who can get to the finish line first. Legoland Surfers is part of a beach-themed expansion that also includes Surfer’s Bay splash ground, which will be full of interactive water jets and Lego models.

Image courtesy Legoland California

Image courtesy Legoland California

Schlitterbahn Riverpark & Resort Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi, Texas

Padre’s Plunge is a flume ride opening at Corpus Christi’s Schlitterbahn Riverpark. Named for nearby North Padre Island, Padre Plunge will take a boat full of 15 riders 45 feet to the top of the chute before dropping to its adrenaline-filled finale. The ensuing 20-foot splash zone wave drenches riders, nearby spectators and can be observed from outside the park boundaries.

Padre's Plunge

Padre’s Plunge, image courtesy Schlitterbahn Resort

Waldameer Park and Water World

Erie, Pennsylvania

The historic Waldameer Park will feature a new addition to its Water World water park that will be themed around the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The 40-foot- tall climbing structure and splash ground includes seven slides and a 400-gallon dump bucket in addition to over 100 interactive water features. Atop the structure, visitors will even find a replica of Erie’ s tall sailing ship, the U.S. Brig Niagara.


Image courtesy Waldameer Park

Wilderness at the Smokies Waterpark Resort

Sevierville, Tennessee

Treehouse Springs will be a newly designed outdoor oasis for younger kids full of interactive water features, including sprinklers, bubblers, geyser jets, waterfalls and dump buckets all in a zero-depth entry wading pool. Wilderness at the Smokies Treehouse Springs tower also contains three junior-size slides well-suited for little dippers. While the little ones swim, parents can keep an eye on their youngsters from lounge chairs on the expanded deck and enjoy drinks and snacks from the refreshment area.

Wilderness At The Smokies

Image courtesy Wilderness at the Smokies

Silver Dollar City’s White Water

Branson, Missouri

The Coconut Cove kids area will debut in 2017 with five slides, four water blasters, bubbler fountains, hose jets, tipping buckets and more inventive features, all designed with the littlest swimmers in mind. This special cove at Silver Dollar City’s White Water park was created specifically to keep younger kids busy as older kids visit more intense attractions. Coconut Grove will open for the season on May 27.

Silver Dollar City

Image courtesy Silver Dollar City White Water

Waterworld California

Concord, California

Now part of the Six Flags portfolio, Waterworld California sits 30 minutes from San Francisco. Opening this summer is Break Point Plunge, a six-story, trap-door, drop slide that sends riders plummeting through a 270-foot long tube. Break Point Plunge is one of 35 different water attractions that also includes the Big Kahuna family raft ride, the Honolulu Halfpipe curved tube slide, the Cliffhanger speed slide, the Breaker Beach wave pool, the Treasure Island children’ s water playground, and the newly renovated Lil’ Kahuna’ s Waterworks splash area.

Waterworld CA

Image courtesy Waterworld California

A version of this article originally appeared on U.S. News & World Report and MSN.com. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.