Last Updated on September 11, 2022
When the weather cools down in the Midwest, why not head to one of the indoor water parks! Many places and hotels have indoor pools but in this post you’ll find some options that take things up a gear! From indoor surf simulators to thrill slides and giant wave pools, there’s something for everyone. Check out some of the best indoor waterparks in the Midwest!
Midwest Indoor Waterparks
Great Wolf Lodge, Multiple Locations
Great Wolf Lodge is ‘North America’s Largest Indoor Water Park Resorts’ with 7 locations in the Midwest.
- Chicago/Gurnee, IL
- Cincinnati/Mason, OH
- Kansas City, KS
- Minneapolis/Bloomington, MN
- Sandusky, OH
- Traverse City, MI
- Wisconsin Dells, WI
The majority of the locations have similar attractions with the most be aimed at younger visitors. However a couple of the Midwest Great Wolf Lodge locations have addition thrill slides, such as in Cincinnati OH and Gurnee IL.
Great Wolf Lodge have both full day and half day passes available as well as the water parks being included in the room rate (with access from 1pm on the day of arrival). The room rate is the same regardless of whether there are 2 people in the room or 4. So it’s better value for money if there are more guests sharing a room!
Other attractions on site include the Great Wolf Lodge ‘MagiQuest’, laser tag, arcades and more. There are several dining options on site and pool side cabana rentals.
Iowa Indoor Waterparks
Grand Harbor Resort, Dubuque
Located in Dubuque Iowa, right next to the Mississippi River, is the Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark. It’s best suited for kids as it has a giant jungle gym style climbing structure with a selection of smaller slides and a giant dump buckets. For even younger visitors, there’s a paddling pool with fountains. Older guests may enjoy the lazy river and a larger tube slide with both single and double rings, along with 2 hot tubs.
Tables and chairs are dotted throughout the waterpark and there’s an outlet selling food and drink. It often gets REALLY hot in this area, so make sure to drink plenty of water!
Guests staying at the hotel have access to the waterpark included as part of the room rate. (The waterpark is sometimes shut on weekdays during the off season, so check before booking for midweek stays). On Saturdays the waterparks is reserved for guests only, however day passes are available on other days that it’s open ($18 per adult, $14 per child).
Next to the waterpark is an arcade where tickets can be exchanged for prizes. If you are after more than the ‘light bites’ on offer from ‘The Bait Shack’, Tony Roma’s restaurant is on-site. Guests of the hotel can also enjoy a fitness room and complimentary breakfast.
Ohio Indoor Waterparks
If you’re looking for best indoor water parks in the Midwest, look no further than Kalahari in Sandusky, Ohio. Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is the largest indoor water park in the country. Visiting the waterpark is one of the best things to do in Sandusky, Ohio!
It’s perfect temperature at 84 degrees makes Kalahari a great destination for a winter getaway or spring break. During the summer months (Memorial Day to Labor Day), the outdoor water park is also open, providing more space and options for recreation and activities.
Inside there’s a ton of activities for all ages. Perhaps the shining star of the waterpark is Victoria Falls, which is a raft ride where the slide takes you outdoors in a tube before dumping you into the pool. There’s also body boarding area, wave pool, lazy river and so much more.
Kalahari has thought of quite literally everything. You can rent cabanas, eat and drink indoors or outside, including a swim-up bar. There’s lockers to keep your belongings and a robust locker room. When you’re all shrivelled from being in the water, you can play laser tag, zipline or the ropes course.
The onsite rooms, suites and villas are perfect to accommodate most size groups of family and friends. The waterpark admission is included in your resort price, too. Or, you can stay another location and just purchase waterpark passes.
Recommended by Nikki of She Saves She Travels
Wisconsin Indoor Waterparks
The Wilderness Resort, Wisconsin Dells
You can’t talk about the best Midwest indoor water parks and not include the Wisconsin Dells, ‘Waterpark Capital of the World’. The Wilderness Resort has 4 indoor waterparks alone, not including outside ones! The Wild Waterdome is also home to the largest indoor wave pool in the USA. My personal favourite waterslide at The Wilderness is the The Black Hole in the Wild West waterpark. It’s an extreme thrill slide which is super fast.
One of the downsides of The Wilderness Resort is that only guests have access to the waterparks, no day passes are available. Most people just walk between the different waterparks in their swim wear and obviously it’s handy that you can store valuables in the rooms.
As well as the waterparks, The Wilderness has an arcade and other various indoor attractions such as a high ropes climbing course, go karts and mini golf.
Kalahari, Wisconsin Dells
For adults visiting the Wisconsin Dells, I think that the Kalahari is the best option. You can see my comparison of The Wilderness and the Kalahari here: Kalahari vs Wilderness: Best Indoor Water Parks In Wisconsin Dells. Although there is only 1 indoor waterpark compared to 4 at The Wilderness, the Kalahari has 9 thrill slides altogether with 5 being extreme (not including the smaller waterslides!).
They also have various other pay to play water attractions, such as a Flowrider surf simulator, VR snorkelling and a mermaid experience.
The Kalahari also has a limited amount of day passes available (which can be pre-booked online). This is great if you just want a day at a waterpark, rather than it being the focus of the whole trip. I thought it was great value, especially if you are after an adrenaline kick in the winter, as you can easily spend all day at the park.
You’ll find large changing rooms pool side, locker rentals, free pool towels and even a ‘swimsuit extractor’ which sucks all the water out of your wet swim stuff, making it easier to take it away.
As well as the indoor waterpark, there’s also Tom Foolery’s indoor theme park with go karts and arcades, an escape room and more.
Michigan Indoor Waterparks
Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, Boyne Falls
Avalanche Bay in Boyne Falls is said to be Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark! The Splasherhorn is a giant play structure with dump buckets and water slides, but there are also 4 larger thrill slides, a hot tub, a lazy river, a couple of play pools and a surf simulator. You’ll find 7 water slides and 4 pools altogether.
There are day passes available from $40 per person. The hotel on-site does not have waterpark access included in the room rate, they are an additional cost or as part of a package. Complimentary access to the heated outdoor pool at the Clock Tower Lodge IS included and is open year round.
Boyne Mountain Resort also have a ski slope for skiing, snowboarding and tubing, with several of the rooms overlooking the slope. Regardless of whether you visit during the summer or winter, the resort has a huge range of outdoor activities on offer.
South Dakota Indoor Waterparks
WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort, Rapid City
Watiki is the biggest indoor indoor water park in the Dakotas. There are 3 large thrill slides, a lazy river, hot tub, activity pool and Koko’s Kingdom water play structure. Day passes start at $30 and it’s open 365 days of the year.
Five major chain hotels surround Watiki Indoor Waterpark Resort: Residence Inns & Suites, Fairfield by Marriott, La Quinta by Wyndham, Homes2 Suites and Courtyard by Marriott. Hotel guests receive 2 free spectator passes per room and 20% off waterpark admission. For an extra $100 or $200 a room bundle includes: waterpark tickets, pool towel use, arcade credit, dining credit and a souvenir gift.
What is your favourite water park in the Midwest?