Kids get wet & wild

Have a splashing good time at a cool waterpark

Rent tubes at Town Tinker in Phoenicia and float down the Esopus Creek. Keep in mind, however, that this is an activity for ages 12 and up.

For kids, summer means getting wet, whether it’s under sprinklers in the backyard or making a special trip to a water park. Both the Hudson Valley and Capital District are bursting with water-time fun for all ages.

At SplashDown Beach, located off Route 9 in Fishkill, has it going on for summer fun. The kids won’t want to miss the giant wave pool, a totally cool 4-story raft ride known as the Humunga Half-Pipe, the three giant water slides at Cowabunga Falls, and the lazy river, Crocodile Creek. For the little ones, SplashDown offers Buccaneer Bay, which features kiddie adventure slides and fountains.

SplashDown Beach isn’t just full of fun water rides. Also on site is Adventure Island, which is home to a miniature golf course complete with 18 challenging holes, an arcade, as well as good, old-fashioned bumper cars. If you get the munchies, grab a bite to eat at the snack bar, which has a new, expanded food menu to satisfy all your cravings.

Drive about an hour north up the Thruway and get off at East Durham, in the northern Catskill Mountains. That’s where you’ll find Zoom Flume, the largest water park in the Catskills with 13 different attractions. If you’re up for some adventure, try shooting down the Black Vortex, a slide in total darkness, or give the Mighty Anaconda a whirl. Siblings can race each other in the Grand Prix Splashway and trek on over to Thrill Hill. Take a dip in the giant Lagoon Activity Pool, or float on down the Lazy River.

Young visitors can slip and slide down Pelican Pond, a mini version of the waterslides. Then, when the little ones get hungry, walk the cable bridge above the canyon to get to the cliffside restaurant, The Country Place, or grab a simple snack at the snack bars.

Is your family heading to Lake George in the Adirondacks? Lake George has two exciting water parks: Water Slide World and The Great Escape and Hurricane Harbor.

Water Slide World boasts more than 35 water slides and water attractions.

For older children and adults alike, there are two Tasmanian Twister slides, the Blue Bomber slide, two Lava Flow Mountain slides, two Calypso Cascade slides, two Pirate’s Plunge slides, two Caribbean Cannonball slides, and the Blue Tornado.

If you’re looking for something a little less fast-paced, check out the Hurricane Harbor Wave Pool or the Fantasy Island Activity Pool, where you can join in a game of water volleyball. If you just want to lay back and relax, float down the Amazon Adventure River in an inner tube. For the kiddies, Water Slide World has two toddler pools, Pirate Ship Cove and the Aruba Scuba Duba Bay.

And, of course, there are lockers for safe keeping of your clothes and valuables. A concession area offers all the summertime treats kids (and more than a few adults) love to get their hands on.

Not too far away, right off the Northway, you will see Splashwater Kingdom, which is nestled inside The Great Escape, a branch of Six Flags. Splashwater Kingdom is home to Paul Bunyan’s Bucket Brigade, which includes a five-story treehouse with more than 150 water gadgets and a 1,000-gallon water barrel that fills up and tips over to soak everyone below.

Don’t feel like getting drenched? Take a ride on Capt’n Hook’s Adventure River, a 1,100-foot lazy river through waterfalls with cannons firing at you from Capt’n Hook’s Pirate Ship as you float along! You could also take a dip in the Lumberjack Splash Wave Pool. If you’re up for some adventure, slip on down the Black Cobra, two enclosed dark water slides, or try the Blue Typhoon slide, Twister Falls, or Banshee Plunge.

Small kids won’t be left out of all the fun. Noah’s Sprayground houses five kiddie-sized pools with fountains and slides.

Splashdown Beach, Waterslide World, Splashdown Kingdom, and Zoom Flume are all man-made waterparks. How about visiting a natural one? Described as nature’s ultimate water park, Town Tinker Tube Rentals in Phoenicia, in Ulster County, is a great alternative to the standard waterpark.

Instead of floating down a lazy river of chlorinated water, try floating down the Esopus River, surrounded by nature’s beauty. This five mile stretch of river offers two tubing courses, novice and expert. Each course is two and a half miles long and takes two hours to complete. Unlike the other waterparks which are designed for children of all ages, Town Tinker Tube Rentals suggest that this exciting activity should be reserved for children over the age of twelve who are good swimmers.

Unlike lazy rivers where the water steers you, you are responsible for navigating yourself by paddling with your hands and kicking your feet. You have the option of renting equipment along with your tube including helmets and wetsuits; both are strongly recommended, but the helmet is mandatory for those under fourteen years of age.

If tubing down a real river doesn’t float your boat, you can also go horseback riding or go hiking through mountain trails at Town Tinker. For the kids, Town Tinker also provides pony rides in the corral.

So the next time you and your family are wondering what to do on a hot summer’s day, think of visiting one of these wild and wet waterparks. You are sure to have a splashing good time! Get all the details on our Travel Guide!