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North Texas splashdown: Beat the heat at these area water parks

Make some summer memories with slides, rides, lazy rivers and more.

Many neighborhoods in Dallas-Fort Worth offer community splash pads and aquatic centers, but sometimes it’s nice to round up the family and head out to a big water park with slides, rides, pools and lazy rivers. Make some sun-kissed summer memories and welcome a new tan line at these hot spots to cool down.

Bahama Beach

Lifeguard Hope Hart keeps an eye on swimmers at Bahama Beach in Dallas. The water park has three new attractions this year.
Lifeguard Hope Hart keeps an eye on swimmers at Bahama Beach in Dallas. The water park has three new attractions this year.(Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)

Dallas’ Bahama Beach reopened May 29 and is bursting with opportunities for fun in the sun in southern Dallas. From the kid-friendly Coconut Cove to the Calypso Cooler-Lazy River and the multitude of slides throughout the park, there’s something for just about everyone to enjoy. You can even engage the family in a no-holds-barred water balloon showdown at Water Wars.

Bahama Beach is debuting three new attractions this season. Show your courage on the Boomerango Slide, which touts a near-vertical ascent before a stomach-flipping drop in a two-person tube. Once your heart rate is back to normal, head over to the Lagoon to unwind in a pool featuring waterfalls and bench seating. Lil Paco’s Splash Pad caters to the youngest swimmers and features a soft-sided starfish slide, interactive activity tables and deck sprays.

Before heading out to shop, slide, swim or suntan, don’t forget to secure your belongings. Locker rentals are available for $4. And if searching for the perfect chair to lounge on — or commandeering enough seating to keep the group together — isn’t high on your wish list, reserved seating is available for individuals or groups with tables ($25), cabanas ($50), umbrellas ($75) and pavilions ($150-plus).

Food and drinks are available for purchase or you can take a cooler, but no outside restaurant food, glass containers or alcoholic beverages are permitted.

Attendees can expect pandemic safety protocols including social distancing in and out of the water, reduced park capacity and hand sanitizing stations. Additionally, masks are strongly encouraged when not in the water.

1895 Campfire Circle, Dallas. $15 general admission, $11 for those under 48 inches, free for ages 2 and younger. $2 discount for city of Dallas residents with proof of residency. $60-$90 season passes. Free parking. Park schedule varies; see website for details. bahamabeachdallas.com.

Epic Waters

Whether it’s triple-digit temperatures or pop-up thunderstorms, Texas’ chaotic weather can make it tough to plan outdoor activities. At Epic Waters indoor water park, however, there is fun to be had rain or shine.

Visitors can earn prizes at the 4,000-square-foot arcade, treat their taste buds at Hungry Wave Cafe and Longboards Bar and Lounge, and enjoy attractions ranging from slides, rides and pools to the lazy river and kids-only Rascal’s Round Up.

Epic Waters also features events including Twilight Swim and Family Fun Fridays. On select Mondays through Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m., Twilight Swim visitors can enjoy the park at a reduced cost of $20. On Family Fun Fridays, families of four can enjoy the park from 4 to 9 p.m., along with pizza, drinks and arcade cards, all for $129.

No coolers or outside food are allowed in the park, but each visitor can take in one unopened bottle of water.

Expect coronavirus safety protocols including limited capacity at the park, face masks for crew members, social distancing in the arcade and hand sanitizer stations. Masks are highly recommended though not required for parkgoers. Additionally, with the park’s limited capacity, reservations are required for annual and season pass holders. To secure a private space for your group, cabanas ($150-$200) are available for rent.

Discounted admission is available for first responders, health care workers, teachers, military personnel and seniors.

2970 Epic Place, Grand Prairie. General admission starts at $34 for adults and varies based on availability and date. Discounted admission for those under 48 inches, free for ages 3 and younger. Discount for Grand Prairie residents with proof of residency. $99-$299 season and annual passes. Park schedule varies; see website for details. epicwatersgp.com.

Great Wolf Lodge

Hotel guests find fun away from the sun at the indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine. Day passes are available for those not staying overnight.
Hotel guests find fun away from the sun at the indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine. Day passes are available for those not staying overnight.(Ting Shen / Staff Photographer)

Great Wolf Lodge is known as a popular family vacation spot, but some may not know that day passes are available for the lodge’s 84-degree indoor water park featuring myriad attractions at different thrill levels for parkgoers of all ages.

If you like that raising-the-hair-on-your-arms feeling, the lodge’s Howlin’ Tornado might grab your interest. Riders will experience six stories of swishing and swirling on the lodge’s signature slide. This attraction is not recommended for children.

But not to worry if that’s out of your comfort zone. From tandem tube ride Alberta Falls and four-story vortex drop Coyote Cannon to the Slap Tail Pond wave pool, there are plenty of electrifying experiences to be had with medium-thrill-level attractions.

Low thrill but not low on fun are areas like the Raccoon Lagoon outdoor pool area and Fort Mackenzie’s four-story interactive treehouse. And don’t forget to have the family round up some tubes so you can float around the lodge in the Crooked Creek lazy river.

Burgers, sandwiches, salads and more are available for purchase inside the park. Coolers are not allowed.

Expect coronavirus safety precautions including limited capacity and hand sanitizing stations, as well as socially distanced seating and lines. Masks are required for everyone over 5 except while eating or drinking, when in outdoor areas where social distancing is possible, or when splashing around on the park attractions. Additionally, the hot tubs are closed, and cash payment is not being accepted at this time.

100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine. Day passes start around $70, half-day passes (3 p.m. to close) around $56, free for ages 2 and younger. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. greatwolf.com/grapevine/waterpark-attractions/indoor-water-park.

Hawaiian Falls

With four locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (plus one in Waco), Hawaiian Falls parks are a great option for those who plan to keep cool at a water park often this summer but don’t want to be confined to one park.

After 20 years in the business, these parks have got it down with attractions and amenities including high-thrill slides, kid-friendly rides and water playgrounds, lazy rivers, wave pools, and shady cabanas and private lockers for rent. Plus, each location offers Hawaiian shaved ice — some popular flavors are cherry, strawberry, blue raspberry, coconut and lime.

Top rides at each park include Beach Blasters at the Roanoke location — a multitube slide on which participants can race each other to the finish line. At the Mansfield park, head to the Cliffhanger, where rafts of two to three people drop 40 feet. The 65-foot-tall Aloha Towers at the parks in The Colony and Garland each have two speedy slides: the Waikiki Wipeout and the Flyin’ Hawaiian.

With season passes, you can enjoy access to the parks all summer — passes for parks in The Colony and Garland are $59.99-$79.99, and passes for the Mansfield, Roanoke and Waco locations are $54.99-$99.99. With these packages, guests can get perks like extra tickets for friends, early park admission, discounted tickets, food and merchandise. The passes also include access to Dive-In Movies at The Colony and Friday Night Slides at Garland.

Keep hydrated and satiated by taking a cooler stocked with your favorite drinks and snacks — no alcohol, glass containers, fast food or other cooked food are allowed. Daily cooler passes are $15, or get a season cooler pass for $35-$45.

The location in The Colony recently underwent $500,000 in improvements — the grand opening is June 5. New amenities include the Tiki Snacks and Bar, where you can get wine, beer, a frozen cocktail or a quick bite to eat; specialty menu items like Dole Whip; daily entertainment programming; Wi-Fi throughout the park; and a mascot named Maka.

Expect coronavirus safety precautions including hand sanitizing stations and enhanced cleaning measures. Hawaiian Falls does not require face masks but recommends wearing them when entering the park, when in line at food stands, at the gift shops and in the restrooms. Masks are not permitted in the water or on the slides.

D-FW locations in The Colony, Garland, Mansfield and Roanoke. $27.99-$32.99 general admission, $20.99 -$25.99 for those under 48 inches, free for ages 2 and younger. Season passes $54.99-$99.99; $35-$45 for a season cooler pass, or $15 for a day pass. Free parking. Park schedules vary; see each park’s website for details. hfalls.com.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Arlington

The Banzai Pipeline at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Arlington has three slides to twist, turn and spin riders.
The Banzai Pipeline at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Arlington has three slides to twist, turn and spin riders.(Six Flags Hurricane Harbor)

Did you know that Hurricane Harbor is North Texas’ largest water park? It has more than 40 slides, attractions and pools spread out across 47 acres, including thrill rides like the 80-foot-tall blacked-out twin routes of the Black Hole and the seven-story, 72-foot free fall slide Der Stuka. The new Banzai Pipeline water slide complex features a four-story tower with two enclosed tubes and an open-air slide. The longest of the three slides features strobelike visual effects.

For family-friendly activities, check out Splashwater Beach for the little ones, Hook’s Lagoon Treehouse for adventurous kiddos, the (tame) whitewater-like Raging Rapids and the always-popular lazy river and Surf Lagoon wave pool.

There are tons of spots to grab snacks, water and soda, barbecue, sandwiches, salads, hamburgers, wings, chicken strips, nachos, pizza, popcorn, funnel cakes, Blue Bell ice cream, Icees and Dole Whip, plus alcoholic drinks including beer, wine, frozen margaritas and mixed drinks. Don’t miss out on the classic Dippin’ Dots Sundae Shop, near the main entrance. No outside food or drinks are allowed, but there’s a picnic area in the parking lot for those who want to take a lunch or snacks.

Season passes are $59.99 and include access to the water park and Six Flags Over Texas as well as free parking, admission to Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park, free tickets for friends on select days and discounts on park tickets for friends.

Six Flags does not require masks or social distancing in its parks, but it recommends masks for unvaccinated individuals. Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the park, and enhanced cleaning procedures will stay in place.

1800 E. Lamar Blvd., Arlington. Open daily at 11 a.m. through Aug. 29 and Sept. 4-5 and 11-12; closing time varies. See website for schedule. $24.99 online general admission on weekdays, $29.99 online general admission on weekends, $34.99 at the gate. Parking is $27.71 per car. $59.99 season passes; 2020 season passes have been extended through Dec. 31. sixflags.com/hurricaneharbortexas.

NRH2O Family Water Park

NRH2O Family Water Park offers attractions for daring thrill-seekers and those who prefer calm waters.
NRH2O Family Water Park offers attractions for daring thrill-seekers and those who prefer calm waters.(Ting Shen / Staff Photographer)

From thrillers like the Accelerator — slides three stories tall and 200 feet long — to calmer attractions like the open-body Blue Sky slide, there’s reason for excitement for every parkgoer at NRH2O.

Enjoy a round of sand volleyball or lounge poolside at Beachside Bay before checking out the waves at NRH2Ocean and relaxing in the Endless River. Family-friendly fun awaits with attractions like the Tadpole Swimming Hole, Frogstein’s Splashatory and the Double Dipper. Food and drinks are available for purchase throughout the park, or you can pack a cooler for a picnic. For booming festivities, head to NRH2O on June 12, July 10 or Aug. 7 to enjoy a fireworks display.

Cabanas ($99.99-$124.99) and luxury loungers ($39.99-$49.99) offer the chance for a relaxing oasis and perks within the park. Picnic ($39.99-$74.99), pavilion ($199.99-$299.99) and banquet ($299.99-$399.99) seating options are also available for large groups.

Enjoy discounted admission to the park Monday through Thursday, and for further discounts, purchase tickets online instead of at the gate. Additionally, discounted admission is available for military and senior parkgoers, as well as North Richland Hills residents.

Expect coronavirus safety precautions including hand sanitizing stations and socially distanced seating and lines. Masks are not required but are recommended in public areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain — but not in the water or on attractions.

9001 Boulevard 26, North Richland Hills. $19.99-$24.99 online general admission, $32.99 at the gate. $15.99-$19.99 online for those under 48 inches, $27.99 at the gate. Free for ages 2 and younger. For North Richland Hills residents, general admission is $14.99-$17.99, $10.99-$13.99 for those under 48 inches. $79.99-$209.99 season passes. Free parking. Open daily at 10 a.m. through Aug. 15; closing time varies. See website for schedule. nrh2o.com.

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