When the midwest freezes over in the winter, many of us long for the freedom and comfort of warmer days.
Luckily, there’s no need to hop a flight to a tropical location to catch a break from the cold.
Just head to one of these indoor water parks in Wisconsin (or Illinois), where it’s 80+ degrees all year round!
725 Blue Harbor Dr., Sheboygan, WI 53081
An hour north of Milwaukee, it’s always a comfortable 84 degrees inside Blue Harbor’s 54,000-square-foot entertainment area and waterpark, located inside of a stately resort along the shores of Lake Michigan.
The little ones can head to the colorful Toddler Tides play structure for an age-appropriate waterslide and fun spray features. Older kids will love the four-story water center with suspension bridges, cargo nets, and four thrilling waterslides. Two of the waterslides are three stories high! The whole family can head to the recreation pool for water basketball and sea creatures you can climb on. There’s also a leisure river and whirlpool when you‘re ready to relax.
Don’t miss the Riptide, the only double surf simulator in eastern Wisconsin. Use their boards to boogie board and surf on the waves here year round.
If you want to feel like a VIP, rent a private cabana for your family right alongside the water park. Lounge on comfortable furniture, and enjoy a flat screen television and mini-fridge stocked with bottled water.
Head to the Pier Fun Zone Arcade to win prizes, or try your hand at glow-in-the-dark miniature golf. The bright neon balls and decorations make for a memorable experience.
During the summer months, guests have access to Lake Michigan and a beautiful view of it from the outdoor pool. There’s also a lovely walking path along the water.
2810 Golf Rd., Pewaukee, WI 53072
Over 45,000 square feet of water park adventures await you just outside of Milwaukee at Springs Water Park. Your family will love exploring the high-speed raft and body slides, the relaxing lazy river, an activity pool with water basketball and a lily pad rope walk, indoor and outdoor whirlpools, and an interactive arcade.
Don’t miss the the Triple Dog Dare, a 362-foot-long boat slide for up to three people. Little kids can head to Waukesha Waterworks, a zero-depth entry interactive area with a 600-gallon dump bucket, squirting water cannons, small water slides, water geysers, and more.
7020 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI 53147
Moose Mountain Falls is less than an hour’s drive from Milwaukee, and it’s Timber Ridge Lodge’s very own 50,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor waterpark.
If you’re up for a thrill, slide down the 35-foot-high, 300-foot twisting slides. If you’d rather take it slow, the 500-foot Lazy River might be for you. Little kids will be entertained at the Tiny Timbers area with swings, slides, spouts, and a mushroom waterfall.
To find fun for the whole family, head to the activity pool with a rope climb and water basketball court.
“The water is always sooooo warm”
-Review from Instagram follower, March 2023
“Timber Ridge is close and they don’t sell day passes so it’s never super busy.”
-Review from Instagram follower, March 2023
1700 Nations Dr., Gurnee, IL 60031
Tons of water fun awaits just over the Illinois border at this 80,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor waterpark. Great Wolf Lodge (formerly Key Lime Cove) opened its Gurnee, Illinois, location in 2018, and its been a hit ever since!
Fort Mackenzie is an interactive four-story water fort full of slides and toys for the littles. Younger children love to wait while the giant bucket at the top fills up with gallons of water and then comes splashing down on them.
Thrill seekers will love the Double Whirlwind, a family raft ride that whirls through two vortexes before splashing down into the landing pool. In Coyote Cannon, drop four stories before spinning down a water jet-fueled vortex.
Other things you won’t want to miss: Alberta Falls (tandem tube ride), River Canyon Run (family raft ride), a water playground with basketball hoops, a wave pool and a lazy river. There is also a kiddie pool with gentle fountains and small water slides.
865 Lombardi Ave. Green Bay, WI 54304
The Tundra Lodge waterpark — the largest of its kind in Green Bay — is a 30,0000-square-foot aquatic playground of family fun. Climb three-stories to the top of Moosejaw Mountain, rocket down the Alaskan Pipeline or swoosh along 500 feet of whirling, swirling rapids on the Polar Plunge water slides. Or you can chill out on Elk Island River — Green Bay’s only lazy river.
During the warmer months, you can splash in the sun in the outdoor splash pad and Jacuzzi (which stays open as long as the “feels like temperature” is at least 10 degrees above zero). Even the smallest of swimmers will have fun splashing through Tenderfoot Falls. Once you need a break from the water, slide over to the Gold Rush Arcade, where you’ll find more than 70 arcade games.
6. Wilderness Resort
511 E Adams St, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Located in the water park capital of the world, Wilderness Resorts is the largest of the resorts, home to four massive indoor waterparks and four outdoor waterparks.
With more than a dozen other attractions, three arcades, an 18-hole championship golf course, an outdoor hot tub, a spa, and onsite dining options, it has something to offer the entire family.
7. Kalahari Resort
1305 Kalahari Dr, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Kids of all ages will love the Kalahari, one of the most popular indoor water parks in the Dells.
There’s Crocodile Cove, a 3,000 square foot swimming pool with water activities, Elephant’s Trunk, a tandem tube slide that’s almost 300 feet long, a five foot wave simulator for older children to practice their surfing skills, a 920 foot lazy/torrent river, an indoor/outdoor spa, a swim-up bar, and more.
The Master Blaster is a 570 foot waterslide meets rollercoaster, and Leopard’s Lair is a multi-level water tree fort that’s great for kids of all ages. It has a zero-depth entry pool, slides, water cannons, and more.
Waterpark admission is included with your stay, as is free wi-fi, fitness center access, and tickets to Tommy Bartlett Exploratory, an interactive science center with over 175 exhibits.
655 N Frontage Rd, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Also located in the waterpark capital of the world is Mount Olympus, with an indoor and outdoor theme park, an indoor and outdoor water park, and home to “Medusa’s Slidewheel”.
Mt. Olympus Resort Rooms are located on the famous Wisconsin Dells Strip.
There are five roller coasts, including Hades 360 with an upside-down 360-degree roll and a 65-degree drop, 7 go-kart tracks, dozens of slides, Poseidon’s Rage Surf Pool – with waves up to 9 feet tall, kiddie play areas, and more.
The rooms in the hotel are fitted with a TV. All rooms include a private bathroom with free toiletries. Rooms will provide guests with a microwave. All rooms include WiFi.
1000 Chula Vista Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Chula Vista in the Wisconsin Dells has 200,000 square feet of waterparks, a world class spa, an award-winning chophouse, and relaxing views of the Wisconsin River.
It’s just a short drive from all that the Dells have to offer – roller coasters, boat rides, natural beauty, shopping, and dining.
2643 IL-178, North Utica, IL 61373
Grand Bear Resort is the perfect place for a fun family getaway, located in the beautiful setting of Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois. It offers an indoor water park, a miniature golf course, an arcade, crafts, family movie nights, outdoor bar, and more.
Grand Bear Falls is the 24,000 square foot indoor waterpark featuring several play zones, a variety of slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and 15 person hot tub. The arcade also has 60 interactive games that all ages will love.
11. Pirate’s Cay
2558 N 3653rd Rd, Sheridan, IL 60551
Pirate’s Cay at the Holiday Inn in Sheridan has winding tubes, a lazy river, dump buckets, shooting water guns, and Parrot’s Perch, a pirate ship playscape for tiny tots. There are tubes, pool toys, swim accessories, and life jackets throughout the park, as well as an arcade nearby for post-swimming fun.
12. The Water Works Indoor Water Park
505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg
This community indoor water park has three water slides, a rapid water channel, sprayground, dining pool, lap pool, zero depth entry pool, a whirlpool, plus a family changing room and nursery. It’s located inside the Community Recreation Center in Schaumburg.
13. Crawdaddy Cove
1109 Fourier Dr, Madison, WI 53717
Located inside the Holiday Inn, Crawdaddy Cove is the only indoor water park in Madison. It’s great for little kids with a zero-depth entry pool, mini-fountains, small slides, an open body water slide, a large whirlpool, and a pool bar.
A water park vacation is a sure-fire hit for kids of all ages, and it’s a great way to make memories and bond on your family trip. The indoor parks on this list will give you that tropical vibe you’re looking for in the depths of winter without breaking the bank on a faraway beach vacation.
We hope this list helps you as your plan for your next family vacation or getaway.
We recommend visiting the destination’s website to ensure that you can access to most up-do-date information, special, and protocols.
In 2013, Calie Herbst, a former teacher with three little ones, saw a need for a “One Stop Shop” for family fun in Milwaukee. So she founded Milwaukee With Kids. Her goal was to find the best this city has to offer families and share it with other parents. In one place.
In 2019, she published “Exploring Milwaukee WIth Kids”, a comprehensive Milwaukee travel guide for families and kids.
She appears regularly on WISN News, Fox 6’s ‘Real Milwaukee’, B93.3, and Wisconsin Morning News. She has been featured in Medium, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NPR, the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, and on CBS 58 News.
Calie is available for hosting, moderating and media appearances.