Water Parks & Water Slides in Wichita (and A Few Worth Driving to Visit!)

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Who else remembers the days of Barnacle Bill’s FantaSea, Wichita’s very own water park?  From personal experience, it had that summer birthday “it factor.”  Since FantaSea’s closing in 2000, Wichita has filled the gap with staples such as the YMCA locations, Rock River Rapids (Derby), and the Splash Aqua Park.  But if you’re looking for that true water park experience, there are plenty of options ranging from day trips and weekend getaways to vacation destinations.

Wichita YMCA South

Water Parks & Water Slides in Wichita

  • Splash Aqua Park, 860 W W Steeple Bay Pkwy, Wichita, KS
    • A unique park made up of inflatable slides, jumping pillows, and fun obstacles. Splash is open for weekend fun in a unique take on the definition of “water park.”

      Splash Aqua Park in South Wichita
  • YMCA
    • With various locations around Wichita, the YMCA offers several options to fill that water park itch without traveling too far from home.
    • North YMCA, 3330 N. Woodlawn Blvd. – bonus feature: this location incorporated a portion of the original FantaSea wave pool into its own! Also includes a spot for the littles and a couple of water slides for the more adventurous.
    • Northwest YMCA, 13838 W 21st St N. – between the slides, the lazy river, and the toddler bay, there is something here for each family member to enjoy.
    • South YMCA, 3405 S Meridian Ave. – the South “Y” not only offers the regular water park staples but also includes a climbing wall and adult only water therapy benches.
    • Andover YMCA, 1115 US-54 – lazy river, water slides, and water basketball will keep you busy all day! (NOTE: As of April 29, 2022, the Andover “Y” location is closed until further notice.  Check the website for updates.)
  • Rock River Rapids, 1900 E. James, Derby, KS
    • Rock River Rapids is a great spot for water fun. Featuring a lazy river, water slides, a family pool, a zero depth spot for the littles, and a play structure for the in-betweeners, Rock River Rapids has earned its spot on the summer activity list.
Rock River Rapids in Derby

Day Trip / Weekend Getaway Ideas within Driving Distance from Wichita

All located around a three hour drive, these options will get you a little more of that water park thrill while still offering relaxing family options.

  • Parrot Cove Water Park, 990 Stone Creek Dr., Garden City, KS
    • An indoor water park, Parrot Cove gives you a western Kansas year-round alternative to Great Wolf Lodge. On the way, stop and visit the Big Well in Greensburg to mark “see world’s largest hand dug well” off your bucket list.
  • Kenwood Cove Aquatic Park, 701 Kenwood Park Dr., Salina, KS
    • Kenwood Cove gives you a few extra water slide options with just a short drive north to Salina. (Make it a day or weekend and visit hit up Rolling Hills Zoo and one of the “8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine”—The Cozy Inn.)
    • *Read here for more information!
  • Great Wolf Lodge, 10401 Cabela Dr., Kansas City, KS
    • Not only does Great Wolf Lodge offer a quality indoor water park with all the necessities, there are several other family fun options. Even the lodge rooms get in on the fun with themed selections.  (Plus it’s a great location in proximity to Sporting Kansas City, Legends shopping, Kansas Speedway, and more.)
  • Oceans of Fun, 4545 Worlds Of Fun Ave, Kansas City, MO
    • One of Wichita’s closest true water park options, Oceans of Fun is perfect for a summer weekend getaway. With lots of water slide options, pool options, and Worlds of Fun right next door, Oceans of Fun is an easy way to make the whole family happy.
  • Silver Dollar City’s White Water, 3505 W. 76 Country Blvd., Branson, MO
    • Just a bit farther down the road, you’ll find Silver Dollar City and Silver Dollar City’s White Water. Not only is this another theme park + water park option, you add a whole new level of “weekend getaway” with all the offerings of Branson and Table Rock Lake.
  • Safari Joe’s Water Park, 4707 E 21st St., Tulsa, OK
    • Between the Gathering Place and the Oklahoma Aquarium, Tulsa is quickly becoming a one- to two-day trip spot. Safari Joe’s won’t disappoint with a moderate size water and adventure park, which includes Reptile World.  To learn more about making a trip out of Tulsa, check out our day trip
  • Hurricane Harbor, 3908 W Reno Ave, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Thinking Oklahoma City for a quick summer getaway? Hurricane Harbor offers a good waterpark option for the day or half day.
Kenwood Cove Aquatic Park Salina KS
Kenwood Cove Aquatic Park in Salina KS

Destination/Vacation-Worthy Near Kansas

Looking to make it more of a destination or family vacation?  Check out these spots.

  • Schlitterbahn, 400 N Liberty Ave., New Braunfels, TX
    • Located near San Antonio, Schlitterbahn boasts itself to be the “World’s Best Water Park,” and it might not be too far off base. The park offers numerous slides and areas that are unique and provide a different water park experience.  Its proximity to San Antonio makes it a great option for a vacation day.
  • Aquatica, 10500 SeaWorld Drive, San Antonio, TX
    • While you’re in San Antonio, you can add Aquatica to your list. Affiliated with Sea World, Aquatica offers a stingray animal encounter you can add onto your day.  Also check out Sea World and Discovery Point to round out your trip.
  • Epic Waters Indoor Water Park, Grand Prairie, TX
    • Open year-round, this indoor water park is located a short drive from downtown Dallas and features several slides, a flow rider, and a wave pool (only open during the summer months).

Fancy yourself a water park enthusiast?  Then you need to check out the Wisconsin Dells, also known as the “Water Park Capital of the World.”  Two of the top recommendations include:

  • Noah’s Ark Water Park, 1410 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI
    • If you’re into thrills, Noah’s Ark categorizes slides as “mild, moderate, or intense” so you can get the biggest bang for your buck… or time.
  • Kalahari Resorts, 1305 Kalahari Dr., Wisconsin Dells, WI
    • The Kalahari Resorts offer it all: an adventure park with an arcade, rides, and bowling; both an indoor and outdoor water park; golf course; dining; and spa.
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Laura grew up in Mulvane, and aside from the grad school years, she has lived in the Wichita-area her entire life. After an initial career as a high school English teacher, she now works full-time as a lawyer. Laura met her husband in high school and the two navigated years of infertility before welcoming their son in 2020. The family are avid Kansas State Wildcat supporters and can often be found supporting the local foodie scene in their purple and white. Laura is also an avid reader, baker, and Disney enthusiast.

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