Need summer year-round? Check-in to one of these indoor water parks in Ohio

What do you do in Ohio when you’re hot and bored? Good news summer lovers: Ohio has some of the best indoor water parks in the country! Grab your suit, gas up the car and head to one of these hot spots to cool off any time of year:

Kalahari Resort boasts Ohio’s largest indoor water park as well as a new, thrilling safari outdoor adventure park. This African themed resort offers private indoor cabanas, private outdoor bungalows, spa services, indoor surfing, and a variety of water rides for all ages. There are several dining and/or food shopping areas in the resort, giving guests no reason to leave the resort once they have unpacked their bags. For details, check out the Kalahari website.

Coco Key water resort has two Ohio locations, one in Columbus and one in Cincinnati. For young children there is a zero-depth entry pool; for older kids there are four exciting water rides, a Coral Reef Cavern play area and the Parrot’s Perch. Adults can relax at the indoor/outdoor spa. Click here for more details.

Castaway Bay is Cedar Point’s indoor water park resort. Aside from having an amazing amusement park like Cedar Point and its adjoining outdoor water park Soak City, Castaway Bay offers indoor fun for all ages. The resort offers indoor shopping, dining, arcade games, spa services, and of course a great water park. Fort Rapids, “where the wild west meets wet and wild.” This resort offers 60,000 feet of water play and activities, a 5,000 foot arcade, indoor dining and more. A 30 person hot tub, reserved for guests 18 and older, allows parents the opportunity to relax while the kids are off playing. The website has all of the details.

Great Wolf Lodge is another great mini-vacation destination. The water park consists of Fort Mackenzie, a four-story interactive tree house water fort; Caribou Creek Lazy River; Big Foot Pass, an agility challenge full of slippery, splashing fun; Chinook Cove Activity Pool; Whooping Hollow Kiddie Slides; Totem Towers; Alberta Falls and much more. There are nine slides and five pools at Great Wolf Lodge, which means enough fun for everyone.

Splash Harbor, located inside the Comfort Inn in Bellville, has a 6,000 square foot retractable roof. This mini water play land offers a more budget friendly escape. Buckets, sprayers, pools and a 49 foot slide offer the whole family a weekend of fun. Check out the website for more information.

Splash Bay at Holiday Inn Resort is another affordable indoor water park. The play area offers Walleye River Run, a lazy river; two activity pools (Little Maumee and Shark Attack); Fort Meigs, a kiddie area; a basketball hoop area; Lily Pad Crossing; three water slides and a spa.

Natasha Wright is a writer.

Spring deals for indoor waterpark lodges

With warm weather barely hovering, the idea of finding a place where temperatures feel more tropical is appealing. You don’t have to head south to find it. Several indoor waterpark resorts are offering spring deals to entice travelers. I’m heading to one of them myself.

Cherry Valley Lodge in Ohio is a deal-making expert. Tomorrow, for example, by ordering two adult entrees at the lodge’s Sunflower Restaurant you get a one-day admission for four to the CoCo Key Waterpark. The way I see it, this takes care of what to do for Easter dinner as well as getting out of town for a mini getaway. From everything I’ve ever read or heard about the restaurant, it’s superb. I envision the waterpark before we eat, and then a walk through the lodge’s garden afterward.

Cherry Valley Lodge is offering several other package deals this spring that include a stay at the lodge. The Going Green with CoCo is connected to Earth Day and includes an Earth Day craft, a tote bag and more. There’s also a Wild Waterpark Works package that includes passes to The Wilds, an outdoor wild game preserve, and passes for The Works, a discovery center museum. Check out the lodge’s seasonal package page for the deals and the promotional codes.

Here’s a round-up of more packages at other indoor waterpark resorts.

If you’re looking for something to do with a group of friends, consider these as an option.

A few years ago, my husband’s family including four of his five siblings and most of their kids met for the day at Kalahari in Sandusky, Ohio. We did the birthday party package even though it wasn’t anyone’s birthday. At the time, the package was cheaper than if we all bought individual day passes, plus it included ice-cream, pizza and a drink. One of my sister in-laws set it up under one name and we each paid for our own family when we arrived.

Other resort and waterpark deals:

Great Wolf Lodge, a chain located in various states, is offering a variety of package deals. The deals vary depending upon the lodge. Splash into Spring is available at the Kansas City location, for example. If you go to the Great Wolf Lodge website, you can find packages that include water park passes and lodging once you click on the particular water park in which you are interested.

CoCo Key waterparks are connected to various hotels such as the one at Cherry Valley Lodge. Like Great Wolf Lodge, the deals depend upon the location. Click here for options.

Country Springs Hotel, Water Park and Conference Center, Waukesha, Wisconsin. There are a few spring packages from which to choose depending on your budget and what you’d like to include. Food vouchers, birthday party fixin’s and game tokens are some of the options. Click here for details.

Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, Dubuque, Iowa. There’s a Lil’ Squirt Package that includes waterpark tickets for four, $25 voucher for the Riverwalk Restaurant, 40 arcade tokens and 10% off the gift shop.

White Water Bay Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Waterpark, Queensbury, New York–There’s a package to celebrate Earth Day, one that includes breakfast, another that includes dinner and one for birthdays. All come with lodging and waterpark passes.

King’s Point Waterpark Resort, Storm Lake, Iowa. The resort’s website has coupons for discounts. You can get one night for free if you pay for two, for example. There are coupons for free food and other goodies as well.

Watiki Indoor Waterpark Resort, Grand Rapids, Rapid City, South Dakota. Through April 30th day passes are at a discount. During the week, a pass is $5.95. On the weekends it’s $11.95. Stay at the Fairfield Inn or La Quinta which are less expensive than many resort hotels. In May, the admission goes up by $5, which for an indoor waterpark, is not a bad deal.

Sickness at water park thought to be virus related

Last week it was reported that 90 people became sick after visiting Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park just north of Albany, New York. According to this subsequent report by the New York Department of Health, the number went up to 435 by the time the complaints stopped rolling in. People were suffering from gastrointestinal problems, although, the illnesses didn’t seem to be serious. Officials have found traces of norovirus called Norwalk virus that is passed around from sharing food and drink, touching contaminated surfaces and being in close proximity to people who have the virus. As a result, the employees of the park were giving it a real scrub down. The complaints have since stopped.

With water parks being such a perfect haven from the cold and dreariness of winter, I am surprised more people don’t get sick at them. However, in January, we went to a new water park minutes from Cincinnati with positive results.

When I walked into Coco Key, I noticed the smell of chlorine. It wasn’t overpowering but it was strong. We spent parts of two days floating in the lazy river, hanging out in the hot tub and taking some winding tube slide runs. Because this was during the middle of the week at the tail end of winter break, not many people were there. Getting sick wasn’t something I was thinking about.

Even though you’re surrounded by water at a water park and that might seem clean, following hygiene rules of not sharing food and washing ones hands often are a good idea. And if you have to cough or sneeze, put your forearm over your mouth and nose, not your hand.