Make a splash at these water parks
Ready for a little summer adventure? Cool off at these water parks, where thrills await kids and adults.
1. Alton Towers Waterpark — Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England: Summer in England isn't always full of cloudless skies and rainbows. But that doesn't matter at this indoor water park, best suited for young children. Get launched across and around the park on the water coaster, then go with the flow on the lazy river. The best part? When you're ready to dry off, head into the theme park for roller coasters, kid-friendly rides and playgrounds.
2. Acquaworld — Concorezzo, Italy: This resort's eight indoor zigzagging slides total half a mile of vertical plunges. Join the kids or rejuvenate in the whirlpools, salt baths and saunas. When the sun is shining, work on your tan and cool off in the outdoor pools.
3. Tropical Islands — Krausnick, Germany: Not far from Berlin is a beach paradise. Yes, you can find a sliver of the tropics in land-locked Germany. Tropical Islands is the world's largest indoor water park. Float in the 600-foot-wide Tropical Sea, where the water is a constant 82 degrees Fahrenheit, check out all the slides plummeting from an 88-foot-high tower, build a sandcastle, tour a rainforest and take a balloon ride for a bird's-eye view of the park. As if that isn't enough, there's a 375,000-square-foot outdoor zone, scuba diving lessons, mini golf, saunas, plus a fitness center and wellness spa. You can stay inside the dome in a hotel, beachfront tent or bungalow.
4. Therme Erding — Erding, Germany: Europe's largest spa has all of the elements for a grand vacation for kids and adults. Galaxy Erding's 26 slides and wave pool ensure hours of entertainment. Need some time to relax? Sign the little ones up for the Galaxy Kids Club while you enjoy the saunas, baths, spa treatments and swim-up bar of the Vitality Oasis or Tropical Spa.
5. Area 47 — Ötztal, Austria: Think you're brave? You won't find anywhere else like this extreme outdoor center — and it's not for kids. The water zone has a human water cannon, 30-foot-high diving platform, blob and bouldering wall. You can also take a guided whitewater rafting or canyoning tour. Accommodations and campsites are available for reasonable fees.
6. Siam Park — Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain: After a couple of days in Tenerife, mix things up with a day trip to this water park. The Sawasdee area is perfect for littles, while thrill seekers will not be disappointed by the nearly vertical 90-foot-high Tower of Power, 650-foot-long Kinnaree mega slide ride and 65-foot-wide zero gravity Dragon funnel.
7. PortAventura Caribe Aquatic Park – Taragonna, Spain: You will not get bored exploring the half a million square feet of this water world, which has an indoor area for younger children, plus outdoor attractions for the entire family. As if that isn't enough, the amusement park next door has themed lands, roller coasters and more.
8. Alpamare – Bad Seedamm, Switzerland: This place has everything for everyone in your family. Children ages infant to 6 years can make new friends in the kids' section, and older kids can slide and swim while Mom and Dad enjoy the adult amenities, including spa treatments and gym classes.