WORTH THE TRIP
Beat the heat with water parks
Make some waves at Bluegrass water parks
Anyone who’s spent a summer in the Bluegrass can tell you that besides racehorses and basketball, Kentucky is well-known for something else—the humidity. This summer should be no different, leaving everyone looking for ways to cool down. Why not grab a swimsuit, slather on sunscreen, and make some waves at one of the many water parks our state has to offer?
Now in its 11th season, Hal Rogers Family Entertainment Center/Kentucky Splash is located in Williamsburg, just off Interstate 75. The surf’s always up in the 18,000-square-foot Wipe Out wave pool. Children will have a blast firing water cannons, slipping down slides, and crawling through the tunnel on Tadpole Island.
Visitors looking to make a splash can head for the 40-foot-tall triple slide complex, where they’ll zoom from the top to the bottom of the body slide, Aqua Whiz, in 10 seconds or less, or try the newest attraction, the double-slide complex Aqua Twist.
Those seeking a slower pace can drift along the Lazy Castaway River, a favorite feature of manager Diane Bruers. “It’s relaxing. You get on a tube, and it floats you around,” she says.
New amenities this summer include additional restrooms, an awning over concession areas, and a second concession stand. Other attractions available at additional cost include go-kart rides, batting cages, a driving range, and miniature golf.
A watery adventure awaits at Venture River Water Park in Eddyville. Check out the 18,000-square-foot Hurricane Bay Wave Pool, or mosey peacefully down Old Man River. With water hoses, a log walk, and Soak City—an interactive play structure—Pleasure Island Kiddie Pool is great fun for kids.
Ready for slip-sliding action? Head for the Waloopas, the Cliffhanger, Dueling Demon, Triple Mania, or Twin Twisters—you’ll find a slide that’s just your speed. There’s also the Fumbi, a 3 1⁄2-story, triple-dip family slide that’s a favorite of manager Andrea York. “I like it because it’s fast, but it’s not too scary,” York says. “It’s a thrill slide without being extreme.”
York offers tips for visitors: Be prepared to stay all day. Bring sunscreen. And make sure you’ve checked for height requirements before you arrive.
Beech Bend Park and Splash Lagoon, voted Publisher’s Pick Park of the Year in 2010 by Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards, is located off Interstate 65 in Bowling Green. New for 2011 is Tiki Island, a tropical themed four-story play structure with seven water slides.
Other attractions include a lazy river that runs through the Surf’s Up wave pool, featuring eight different wave patterns. According to the Web site, “When the waves start rolling, the river starts rockin’!” The 45-foot-high Raging Rapids water slides boast lengths greater than 400 feet. Lotta Watta Island is a children’s interactive splash pool with four levels of play, including two slides.
Operations manager Charlotte Gonzalez says, “Honestly, we have something for everybody, from the little ones to the teenagers and parents and grandparents.” And with free soft drinks, free sunscreen, free mats and tubes, and free parking, she says, “It’s a good value for the family.”
You can also make a splash this summer at SomerSplash Waterpark in Somerset. Visitors will enjoy floating along the lazy river, racing down the 40-foot-tall tube and body slides, and cooling off in an almost 20,000-square-foot giant wave pool with up to 4-foot waves. Kids will love the huge water-dumping bucket and Kiddie Play’s more than 30 interactive features. Last season an 18-inch wading pool was added for smaller children.
Thrill-seekers in your group won’t want to miss the speed slide or the bowl slide, both added in 2010. Supervisor Brenda Cruey explains the bowl slide, which resembles a huge blue-and-white soup bowl: “You’re sitting in a tube. You’re going to go around twice into a loop-de-loop. Then you come out into an open bowl. Then you get flushed out into the lazy river.”
When asked what attracts Kentuckians to area water parks each summer, Cruey says, “It’s good family fun. We don’t have much of that anymore.”
Go online or call for ticket prices, hours, and more information.
Beech Bend Park and Splash Lagoon
798 Beech Bend Road,
Bowling Green, (270) 781-7634
Admission to Splash Lagoon includes admission to the amusement park, home of the wooden roller coaster Kentucky Rumbler.
Hal Rogers Family Entertainment Center/Kentucky Splash
1050 Highway 92 West,
Williamsburg, (606) 549-6065 or (866) 812-1860
Open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Weekend-only schedule begins August 8.
1030 Highway 2227, Somerset
Special events: The SomerSplash Coca-Cola Mellow Yellow Youth Challenge, Somer Jam 2011, Swim 2011, and Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration.
Venture River Water Park
280 Park Place, Eddyville
Half-day rates available beginning at 3 p.m. Visit two consecutive days and get the second day for half price.
More water parks
Comfort Inn and Pirates Bay Indoor Water Park
191 Brenton Way, Shepherdsville
Five water slides, pirate ship with cannons, and water basketball. $10 for hotel guests; $15 for nonhotel guests, based upon availability. Birthday party packages available.
Florence Family Aquatic Center
8200 Ewing Blvd., Florence
Two spray grounds, two water slides, lazy river, zero-depth entry pool, and a 25-meter pool.
Nicholasville/Jessamine County Aquatic Center
300 Martin Luther King Blvd., Nicholasville, (859) 887-2853 or (859) 885-5013
Two water slides, two diving boards, spray ground area, and play features in the pool.
Paradise Breeze Waterpark
3177 AA Highway, Maysville
Tadpole Island—a 6,000-square-foot zero-depth entry pool with 300-gallon rain curtain, and a lazy lap pool.
Russell Sims Aquatic Center
2303 Tomblinson Way, Bowling Green, (270) 393-3271 or
www.bgky.org (under “visitors” click on aquatic center)
Zero-depth entry pool, two water slides, Spray Land playground, 50-meter pool with two diving boards.
Suffoletta Family Aquatic Center
200 Airport Road, Georgetown
More than 320,000 gallons of water, 200-foot water slide, lazy river, splash pad, and an interactive water playground.
Tie Breaker Family Aquatic Center
9503 Eagle Way Bypass, Hopkinsville
The Splash Zone—a kids’ interactive playground, Hurricane Alley and Riptide Express water slides, and Ripple River.