Make a splash at a local water park in Middle Tennessee, or plan a family road trip to one nearby. (pictured: River Rush at Dollywood's Splash Country)
Beech Bend Park’s Splash Lagoon
798 Beech Bend Road
Bowling Green, KY 42101
$32.99 for 54 inches and taller
$30.99 for 53 inches and shorter
Free ages 2 and younger
Located an hour-and-15-minutes north of Nashville via I-65, Beech Bend’s Splash Lagoon water park offers several aquatic attractions for fun and cooling off.
NEW THIS YEAR: The park recently underwent the park’s largest expansion to history. The multi-million dollar expansion includes Cyclone Saucers, the first-ever North American installation of ProSlide’s FlyingSAUCER ride, Cyclone Saucers. It’s a water slide where riders fly around the edge of three “flying saucers” at high speeds at nearly 500 feet long with a 55 foot elevation change. There are three other new rides, too. Tidal Wave positions riders face to face as they surge up a thrilling wall and hang weightless before rocketing back down. Riptide features an intense dark ride section, before plummeting into two separate funnels. Polynesian Plunge drops riders from the top of the slide tower into a swirling bowl.
FUN FOR EVERYONE: Your littlest ones can have fun at Lotta Watta Island, an interactive splash pool featuring a four-level play structure with two slides. Tiki Island has seven slides, a giant tipping bucket and other features. You can also enjoy the Ragin’ Rapid Water Slides, take a gentle float on the Lazy River that passes through the Surf’s Up Wave Pool or chill in the giant leisure pool. Kids will also like the Lily Pad Challenge running across all 50 feet of the pool. Free sunscreen’s available. Admission also includes entry to the adjoining amusement park featuring nearly 40 classic and contemporary rides. There’s also the Air Race and Monster Trucks (for tots) rides.
Dollywood’s Splash Country
2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd.
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
$48 adults, $43 ages 4 – 11, free ages 3 and younger (does not include theme park admission)
Three-and-a-half hours east of Nashville in the Smoky Mountains sits Dollywood, including the robust Splash Country Water Park. While there are no new water attractions this year, the park boasts more than 23 adventure slides and aquatic thrill rides from low-speed, little-kid-friendly options to aggressive high-speed thrills. Splash Country features the RiverRush, Tennessee’s first and only water coaster. This exhilarating ride races through the trees four stories in the air, and it has all the things you love about land coasters — climbs, drops, twists and turns — plus lots of splashes along the way. Small children can have fun exploring The Cascades. Here, an 8,000-square-foot pool invites your family to cool off under a waterfall while also enjoying water slides, a geyser, water jets and more than 20 interactive elements. Wee ones can squeal with delight as they discover hidden misters, bubblers and slides in secret coves.
Holiday World’s Splashin’ Safari
452 E. Christmas Blvd.
Santa Claus, IN 47579
$49.99 for 54 inches and taller
$39.99 for 53 inches and shorter
(online discounts available)
It’s only about three hours north of Nashville! After a hot day of riding coasters, cool off in the 40-acre water park, Splashin’ Safari, featuring loads of thrills and chills. Get there early to pick your locker as crowds amass quickly. Holiday World’s Splashin’ Safari doesn’t have any new rides this year, but there are water coasters and slides for everyone!
FUN FOR EVERYONE: Enjoy two of the longest water coasters — Mammoth and Wildebeest — both with seven drops that’ll drench you. There’s a lazy river, wave pool and lots of small water slides for the little kiddos over at Safari Sam’s Splashland. Splashland features eight different water slides and many different water play features for kids up to 54 inches tall. Other great things about this park are the free drink stations, free sunscreen and free parking. Admission also includes entry to the adjoining amusement park featuring a bevy of rides including last year’s new coaster, Thunderbird.
Six Flags Over Georgia’s Hurricane Harbor
275 Riverside Pkwy., SW
Austell, GA 30168
$65.99 for 49 inches and taller (discounts available online!)
$45.99 for 48 inches and shorter
Free ages 2 and younger
At about three hours south of Nashville, this multi-million dollar water park inside Six Flags Over Georgia is only three years old and offers families a great place to cool off from the thrills of the main park itself. There’s a giant wave pool; an enclosed tunnel zero-gravity wave slide on Tsunami Surge; three twisting, turning water slides on Bonzai Pipelines; and a giant interactive children’s area. While Hurricane Harbor doesn’t have anything new since it’s still pretty new itself, the main park had several new attractions open this year including Bugs Bunny Boomtown and DC SUPER Friends with 12 new rides and attractions; Blue Hawk, which took the place of the Ninja roller coaster, with a new paint color and new soft-vest restraints and roller coaster trains; and the all-new virtual reality experience, Dare Devil Dive.
Lake Winnie’s SOAKya Water Park
1730 Lakeview Drive,
Rossville, GA 30741
$33.95 ages 3 and older
$16.95 ages 1 – 2
(watch Facebook for great discounts!)
It’s only two-and-a-half hours away and close to Chattanooga. This water park is included with Lake Winnie admission and features a water obstacle course, Coke Float Cove; Crazy River with rolling waves and water geysers; Soak-N-Slide children’s play area featuring four water slides, a zero-depth entry activity pool and many elements featuring spraying water; Splish-N-Splash body slides; Twist-N-Shout tube slides; Water Works play structure featuring a water slide, dumping bucket and more; and the Zoom Flume tube ride.
Boro Beach at Sports*Com
2310 Memorial Blvd.
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Premium pass required: $4 adults, $3 ages 5 – 17, free ages 4 and younger
Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation operates Murfreesboro’s affordable water park that features lap lanes, three water slides, a play structure with spray features and zero-depth entry, a rock wall, a splash pad area, diving boards and a floating bridge. The play structure is a favorite for the kids to crawl around on and it has its own mini slide and bucket at the top that dumps tons of water down on the swimmers below. There are no new additions to this outdoor water area at this time.
Kentucky Kingdom’s Hurricane Bay
937 Phillips Lane
Louisville, KY 40209
$49.95 those 48 inches and taller (buy online and save $5)
$49.95 those 47 inches and shorter (buy online and save $10)
Two-and-a-half hours north of Nashville, families can acquaint themselves with Kentucky Kingdom. There are no new additions to Hurricane Bay, but you can enjoy the family wave pool or get drenched at the Big Surf wave pool that boasts waves up to six feet high. Little kids can get soaked with jet sprays and the large tipping bucket in Splash Zone — an interactive, four-level water playground — or at Buccaneer Beach, featuring more than 10,000 square feet of interactive water play elements and pint-sized water slides. Admission includes entry to the amusement park side featuring the last year’s additions — 5D theatre, The Cyclos, Flutterfly, T3 and more — as well as this year’s newest coaster, Storm Chaser.
4001 Bell Road
Hermitage, TN 37076
$36.99 those 52 inches and taller (buy online and pay child’s price!)
$28.99 those 51 inches and shorter
free ages 2 and younger
Resting next to Percy Priest Lake, Nashville Shores has a large wave pool, lazy river, eight water slides and the Kowabunga Beach water play area for little kids. Your family will love Big Kahuna, a family serpentine raft ride that takes off atop a 57-foot platform. There is nothing new added to this park this year.
2320 Two Rivers Pkwy.
Nashville, TN 37214
$12 adults, $10 ages 3 – 12 (child admission is half price Mon – Thu from 3 – 5 p.m.; there is also a coupon online)
Metro Parks operates Nashville’s affordable water park located in the Opryland area. Have a blast in the giant wave pool, experience three water flumes and zip down two speed slides. For small fries, there’s a kiddie pool with water-dropping features and a playground. There are no new features this year.