7 waterpark adventures a short drive from home

  • Tabatha Wharton
Updated May 24, 2017


Sure, there are some pretty great public and membership-only pools just about everywhere, but sometimes you’re in the mood for something bigger and maybe even more thrilling.

Here’s a roundup of some of the best waterparks within a short drive from home for a day of fun with your love, your friends or the whole family.


Description: The 35-acre park includes inner-tube rides; an oversized spa pool; Big Creek Beach, with a 600-gallon dump bucket, water cannons and four slides

Location: 2590 Water Park Drive, Mason (Warren County)

Open: Operating hours vary by day and throughout the season. Check here.


Admission: $28.99 for general admission, with lower rates for seniors, children under 48” tall, and military personel. Also, online discounts are available through their website.

Parking: $8

Least-busy days: Mondays through Thursdays; check website for hours

Tickets/information: 513-398-7946; www.thebeachwaterpark.com

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Coney Island's The Twister is the park's newest feature. It stands at 45 feet tall and is more than a quarter-mile long. The park is just east of Cincinnati.

Description: On the banks of Lake Como, the theme park includes rides, Sunlite Pool, water slides, an arcade and miniature golf.

Location: 6201 Kellogg Ave., 10 miles east of downtown Cincinnati (Hamilton County)

Open, Sunlite Pool: Open May 28 through Labor Day. Hours vary, so check here.

New attraction: Typhoon Tower is a giant, interactive water play structure that will cover 16,000 square feet in the northeast corner of the waterpark complex near the main gate. Typhoon Tower features two twisting, 130-foot waterslides and over 70 interactive water play stations, including a 33-foot tall Hydro Storm that will soak visitors with more than 1,300 gallons of cascading water.

Admission: $21.95 for general admission, discounts for children and seniors available. Tickets available for just the Sunlite Water Adventure and the Rides and Attractions only; check website for pricing

Parking: $8

Least-busy day: Tuesdays

Tickets/information: at the park and online; 513-232-8230, www.coneyislandpark.com

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At both Ohio Great Wolf Lodge resorts, the focal point is the 1,000-gallon tipping bucket adorning the top of Fort Mackenzie. CONTRIBUTED

Description: The indoor water park features water slides and a four-story treehouse with water sprays.

Location: 2501 Great Wolf Drive, Mason (Warren County)

Open: daily, year-round

Admission: must be an overnight guest; rooms and suites available

Parking: free

Least-busy days: midweek

Information/reservations: 513-459-8885, 1-800-913-9653, www.greatwolf.com/mason/waterpark

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The new Tropical Plunge at Soak City Waterpark at Kings Island made its debut May 28. The amusement park complex continues to be a major tourism attraction in Warren County.

Description: The park offers more than 100 rides, including 15 roller coasters (and the Beast, the world’s longest wooden coaster), and Soak City, a 33-acre waterpark.

Location: 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason (Warren County)

Kings Island: daily, operating hours vary through Aug. 23; select weekends through Nov. 1

Soak City (free with park admission): operating hours vary; call for details

New attractions: Tropical Plunge is a complex of six different water slide experiences towering nearly seven stories. Three of the slides on the 65-foot tall complex start with guests climbing inside an Aqua-Launch chamber, which will send them into a high-speed free fall through a series of flat loops and S-curves in a translucent flume. Tropical Plunge also features a slide that will send riders twisting and spiraling through an enclosed chute featuring four intense 360-degree loops across 449 feet of slide before they’re released out into a pool of water and dueling 337-foot long tube slides that zip riders through a series of drops and turns.

Single priced tickets: Single day admission tickets can be purchased on the Kings Island website for $45.99 each plus applicable taxes and fees — a considerable savings off the front gate price.

Parking: $15 online or $18 at the gate

Least-busy day: Wednesdays

Tickets/information: available online, at the park and participating AAA and Kroger locations; 513-754-5700, www.visitkingsisland.com

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Wake Nation Cincinnati owners and wake boarding professionals began a quest Friday, June 25, 2010, to set a Guiness World Record for the most distance traveled on a wakeboard in 24 hours at Wake Nation Cincinnati. Photo: Staff photo by Nick Daggy

Description: The water-sports complex offers wakeboarding, water-skiing, knee-boarding and wake-skating without the use of a boat. Riders are pulled on a 10-acre lake at 18 to 20 mph by an overhead cable-pulley system.

Location: Joyce Park, 201 Joe Nuxhall Way, Fairfield (Butler County)

Open: operating hours vary; call for details

New attraction: beginner speeds available on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings

Admission: $30 for two hours, $35 for four hours, or $40 for an all-day pass; free for spectators; equipment rental available. Additional cost for Aqua Glide Waterpark.

Parking: free

Least-busy day: Tuesdays

Tickets/information: available on-site; 513-887-9253, www.wakenation.com

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Description: A 50,000-square-foot water park, including an interactive-adventure area for young children, body slides, an activity pool with water basketball and a fast-paced tube ride, a wading pool, a family hot tub and an indoor/outdoor hot tub for adults; plus a restaurant and bar

Location: Cherry Valley Lodge, 2299 Cherry Valley Rd. S.E., Newark (Licking County)

Open: 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday; check website for special summer dates

Admission: $20 after 4 p.m.; $27 on Saturdays and Sundays; $22 for hotel guests per day; $11 spectator passes

Parking: free

Least-busy day: Sundays

Tickets/information: 1-800-788-8008, 740-788-1200 or www.cherryvalleylodge.com

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Description: A 22.7-acre water park — adjacent to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium — featuring 17 water slides, a wave pool, an action river, a lazy river, private cabanas and a kiddie play pool

Location: 4850 W. Powell Road, Powell (Delaware County)

Open: daily, operating hours vary; call for details

Admission: $21.99, other rates available online

Parking: $10

Least-busy days: weekdays

Tickets/information: available at the park, AAA, Columbus-area Kroger stores and online; 614-645-3550, 1-800-MONKEYS, www.zoombezibay.com