Surfing, swimming and sliding are all part of the sun-splashed days offered at water parks this summer.
If you can't stand the heat or a big squeeze on your pocket, consider spending the day in cooling waters. Sahara Sam's Oasis in West Berlin and Thundering Surf Water Park in Beach Haven, N.J., are among the parks offering never-ending waves without a trek to the beach.
"This is not an ordinary wave pool; it is a standing sheet wave, which means the skill level of the rider controls when each ride ends, not the wave [ending], as that never stops," said Dan Sprague, general manager of the FlowHouse at the Thundering Surf Water Park.
Sahara Sam's offers a "weatherproof" weekend of surfing and body boarding in its enclosed park where temperatures can be kept in the 80s, said Pam Nuzzo, marketing director. The park will offer a National Flow Tour competition in its wave area June 5.
Or try Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Jackson, N.J., which is celebrating its 10th anniversary season with a new water attraction, the Tornado.
It is "an enormous funnel-shaped water attraction," said Angel Aristone, director of communications at Six Flags Great Adventure, Wild Safari, and Hurricane Harbor.
Guests are blasted down a 135-feet long vortex tunnel and into a 60-feet wide funnel, where they are splashed by more than 5,000 gallons of water.
If you are up for a day trip, several parks are highlighting their rides. This year marks the fifth anniversary of Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains.
"Great Wolf Lodge's Double Barrel Drop is the first indoor waterslide of its kind in the world," said Chris Salerno, director of sales and marketing. Guests on the six-story waterslide experience the thrill of a high-speed vertical drop into a huge funnel, a 450-degree turn through a vortex tunnel, and then into a second funnel.
Another indoor water park is CoCo Key Water Resort in Mount Laurel, just 15 minutes from downtown Philadelphia. Its attractions include an interactive play island, adventure river, activity pools, a dip-in theater and an indoor and outdoor spa. CoCo Key is open 365 days a year and offers several discount packages including a Memorial Day weekend day pass.
For the third straight season, Clementon Park & Splash World is holding its season pass price to $49, said marketing coordinator Jennifer Thompson. This park's hot summer attraction is "Ring of Fire," a 60-foot loop thriller that takes 20 riders backward, forward, and then to a standstill upside down - six stories up. But after getting heated up, visitors can cool off at Sky River Rapids, which allows groups of five the thrilling sensation of "grabbing air" as they navigate three sets of slides and three splash pools.
Guests at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown can race to the finish line on Aqua Racer, a 300-foot, six-lane mat water slide.
Out in Hershey, Pa., Hersheypark is offering one-price admission to the theme park, to The Boardwalk at Hersheypark, and to ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park. The Boardwalk offers the Coastline Plunge-Whirlwind, perfect for thrill-seekers. Other water rides include Canyon River Rapids raft ride; the Tidal Force Splashdown ride; and Roller Soaker, an interactive water coaster.
And if you go down the Jersey Shore, Wildwood's Splash Zone Water Park has its Stimulus Pass. It includes parking, a pancake breakfast, a slice of pizza, unlimited soft drinks, a tram car coupon, and a miniature golf game for $36, $27 for people 48 inches or shorter.
Dutch Wonderland in Lancaster is ideal for visiting with small children and watching them splash. Ashlee Hurley, marketing and promotions manager, said Duke's Lagoon is a zero-depth interactive water area, which pretty much means there is nothing deeper than a puddle.
And finally who can forget Elmo? This year marks the 30th anniversary of Sesame Place in Langhorne. It has one of largest water parks in the Philadelphia area including the Count's Splash Castle, a multilevel water attraction that features a 1,000-gallon tipping bucket, multiple water slides, valves, levers, water curtains, bridges, hydro blasters, waterwheels and more. And you can unwind and cool off along Big Bird's Rambling River, where guests float in inner tubes along a 1,000-foot waterway past swirling waters, under coconut trees with water splashing down from tipping coconuts, through waterfalls and spraying geysers.
So, go ahead and make a splash at a water park this summer.
Below are selected theme and water parks within a two-hour drive. Hours and admission prices vary; contact the parks for more information.
and Splash World,
144 Berlin Rd., Clementon, N.J. 859-783-0263 or www.clementonpark.com.
CoCo Key Water Resort, Mount Laurel Marriott, 915 Route 73, Mount Laurel. 856-802-3990 or www.cocokeywaterresort.com.
Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, 3830 Dorney Park Rd., Allentown. 610-395-3724 or www.dorneypark.com.
Dutch Wonderland, 2249 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, Pa. 866-386-2839 or www.DutchWonderland.com.
Hersheypark, 100 W. Hersheypark Drive, Hershey, Pa. 800-437-7439, www.HerseyPA.com.
Idlewild and Soak Zone, Route 30 East, Ligonier, Pa. 724-238-3666 or www.idlewild.com.
Sahara Sam's Oasis, 535 N. Route 73, West Berlin, N.J. 856-767-7580, www.saharasams.com.
Sesame Place, 100 Sesame Rd., Langhorne. 215-752-7070, www.sesameplace.com.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson, N.J. 732-928-1821 or www.sixflags.com.
Great Wolf Resorts Inc., 1 Great Wolf Dr., Scotrun, Pa. 608-661-4754 or www.greatwolfresorts.com.
Splash Zone Water Park, 3500 Boardwalk (Schellenger Avenue and the Boardwalk), Wildwood. 609-729-5600 or www.splashzonewaterpark.com.
Thunderingsurf Water Park, Eighth Street and Bay Avenue, Beach Haven, N.J. 609-492-0869 or www.thunderingsurfwaterpark.com.