No matter how many Minnesota winters I experience, the transition into the colder season is never easy. Even though I know that come January 40-degree days will feel more like 70, right now its got me feeling pretty nostalgic for the summer sun. The good news is there’s a solution. Across the state you’ll find a number of indoor water parks, many of which will have you fogetting about the cold and let you relive the days of summer.
The Big Splash
About 2.5 hours outside of the Twin Cities you’ll find tropical-themed fun at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria. Race down one of three four-story waterslides, splash across the lily pad water walk, or relax on an inner-tube ride down the lazy river. Kids will love the play fort area complete with three slides, water blasters, a palm tree with tipping coconuts, and a spinning thatch roof. 2100 Arrowwood Lane N.W., Alexandria, 320-762-1124.
Rapid River Water Park
Located at Rapid River Lodge in Baxter, you can choose to ride down a 250-foot tube slide or 240-foot body slide before warming up in the indoor/outdoor hot tub. Find more slides, tipping water buckets, basketball hoops, and hoses for water fights all at the activity pool, or travel past a waterfall and rapids on the lazy river. 7376 Woida Road, Baxter, 218-825-7234.
The Great Serengeti Water Park
Here you’ll not only feel like you’ve stepped back into summer, but also like you’re in the jungle as you splash around a life-size giraffe, hippopotamus, and water-spraying elephant. This African-themed park, found at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Owatonna, features a Kilimanjaro tube slide, python body slide, and lazy Zambezi river, as well as an activity pool with water basketball and columns of water that shoot up from the floor. 2365 43rd Street N.W., Owatonna, 507-446-8900.
The Depot WaterPark
At this 15,000-square-foot park you can slide down three stories on the indoor/outdoor waterslide, play in the splash fountain or Northwood’s pool area, or relax in the oversized whirlpool before hitting up the video game arcade or grabbing a bite to eat at the snack bar. If you feel like you’ve had enough summertime fun, head over to the indoor ice skating rink also located at The Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel. 225 Third Avenue S., Minneapolis, 612-375-1700.
Water Park of America
At the country’s largest indoor water park you can have some Minnesota-themed fun at the Fort Snelling or Lake of the Woods activity pool, Cascade Falls surf stimulator, and Lake Superior wave pool, or catch views of the Twin Cities’ skyline while weaving in and out of the building in an enclosed waterslide. Adjacent to the Radisson Hotel Bloomington by Mall of America, 1700 E. American Boulevard, Bloomington, 952-698-8888.
Edgewater Water Park
Find more tropical fun at the Edgewater Resort and Waterpark Hotel in Duluth. Here you can ride the tiki tumbler, a massive tube slide that drops riders down 4.5 stories, or the tiki thriller, a body slide that travels through slippery, spiraling darkness. Following those thrills, check out Minnesota’s first vortex pool or the more than 40 games at the paradise cove arcade. 2400 London Road, Duluth, 800-984-4380.