COOL OFF AT A TENNESSEE WATER ATTRACTION
If the summer heat gets a bit much for you, no worries, you can cool off at one of the many watering holes and water amusement parks throughout Tennessee. From riverboat rides to water slides, when you travel through the Volunteer State, water is always close by — and so is a lot of splashing fun.
Dollywood Splash Country in Pigeon Forge is known for its 30 acres of amazing water adventures and more than 23 water adventure slides and thrill rides. The newest venture for the park is RiverRush, Tennessee’s first and only water coaster that opened May 2013. It’s the next generation of water coasters as it features the speed of a coaster with the splashing fun of a water ride. With thrilling turns, twists and dark, waterlogged tunnels, it will easily be the highlight of the summer. Other rides include Big Bear Plunge, a white water rafting ride, Mountain Scream body slide ride, the soak-fest that is Bear Mountain Fire Tower and Mountain Waves that creates constant waves in the 25,000-square-foot wave pool. Season passes are available and pays in less than two visits.
Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park & SoakYa Water Park in Chattanooga, named one of “America’s Top Ten Family Amusement Parks” by Travel & Leisure, are now open for summer fun in 2013. The amusement rides and the water park, the park’s largest expansion ever, will be open through Aug. 5. Spend a summer day with family and best friends riding the Cannon Ball or take it easy on the Crazy River. Moms get free admission on Mondays when accompanied by two children. An unlimited ride ticket is $31.95 and includes admission to the amusement park and SoakYa Water Park.
On your mark! Get set! Slide! Get your adrenaline pumping at Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville with a ride on Cyclone Racer. The water slide opened in April 2013 and is located in the River Lodge area of the resort. Coming off the success of 2012′s exciting water slide, the Wild Vortex, Wilderness at the Smokies introduced the thrilling Cyclone Racer, a slide that has four lanes with each lane about 300 feet. Riders experience a 50-foot drop followed by 1,200 gallons of water that flow each minute through the slide. Each guest spirals around the course in mere seconds. It’s a great way to awaken your competitive spirit with friends and family.
The Kingsport Aquatic Center opened in 2013 and is much more than a pool. The 46,000-square-foot indoor area has three heated pools and the region’s only indoor Olympic pool. Soak up the sun and water fun with two water slides and a 900-foot lazy river outdoors which are opened annually from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Outdoors is also home to a play area with a climbing structure with water cannons and a lily pad crossing. Concessions and changing rooms with lockers makes for a hassle-free day at the aquatic center.
Nashville Shores Outdoor Water Park, located on the shoreline of Percy Priest Lake, features more than one million gallons of water with a gigantic wave pool, eight water slides and Kowabunga Beach that has a massive water tree house and playground. Its four stories utilizes thousands of gallons of water in more than 70 interactive, colorful water slides, a giant bucket that tips hundreds of gallons of water every few minutes, bridges, tunnels and water jets. The Giant Bucket of Fun dunks close to 500 gallons of water on guests. Water slides include Tennessee Twisters where riders glide down four stories of twists and turns and can race their friends to see who plunges into the splash pool below. The Big Scream is a huge, three-story slide that has a steep, almost vertical first drop that gives a “free falling” feel then sends guests to the bottom only to shoot them back up close to the edge of the slide on the other side. It’s screaming fun! A lazy river, beach and a cruise on the Nashville Shoreliner await those who want a day to soak up rays and relax.
Manchester Parks and Recreation offers relief from the heat with its indoor warm water therapy pool that also features a hydrotherapy bench with jets. There is a shallow end for youngsters with spray fountains and a zero depth entrance. The Outdoor Leisure Pool is open from May through September and features water slides, spray features, a lily pad walk and water playgrounds. The deepest area of the pool is four feet.
The W.C. Johnson Water Spray Park in Collierville features 12 stations with two touchstone poles that activate the spray stations which resemble elephants, rainbows, flowers and more. The space is as large as a basketball court. It was designed for children 12 years of age and under to enjoy a water-filled environment. The water spray park is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Sunday.
Kids will love “H2Oh! Splash” spray park at The Children’s Museum of Memphis open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Labor Day and beyond if the weather is warm enough. The garden-themed park has over 7,700 square feet of cool water fun and boasts over 40 sprayers in cute forms like leaves, flowers, turtles, crabs, snails and more. Geysers, an aqua dome, spray loops, a cylinder spray and water tunnel help kids and their families escape the heat. The park serves a dual purpose as it is also an educational exhibit, teaching children the process of photosynthesis, water and sun safety and how plants grow. A functional water organ shaped like a whale makes music the centerpiece of the park.
After frolicking at the water park all day, change into some dry clothes and board the Memphis Queen Riverboat for a sail under the stars. See the Memphis city skyline along the Mississippi River on a replica paddle-wheeler. Taking sail from a dock near Mud Island, Memphis Riverboats offer beautiful sightseeing and dinner cruises. Watch the sun set, bring some popcorn and feed the catfish. Take a relaxing breath and enjoy the beautiful sight of Memphis while floating along the river. It’s a great way to wrap up an evening.
Which Tennessee water attractions have you visited? Let me know in the comments below!