I must admit that I’m not the greatest swimming pool person around. My swimming technique is something akin to a carp flopping around on dry land. But when the weather gets hot here in St. Louis, there’s nothing better than a nice cool dip in the pool. But let’s face it, there’s not much you can do in your average swimming pool except swim back and forth, float in a water chair, or throw that big inflatable rubber ball around. There were a couple of other things that were done in the pool back when I was in college, but we won’t go into that now.
Water parks around the area offer cool family entertainment in the summertime and a little more excitement than just chlorinated water and cement. Here are a few of the best ones around:
Raging Rivers, 100 Palisades Parkway in Grafton, Illinois (www.ragingrivers.com) is one of the oldest water parks in the area. Their admission charges are a little strange as they are based on height. Admission is $18.50 for those over 4 feet tall and $15.95 for those less than 4 feet tall. You can get in for the reduced rate if you are over 60 years old. I’m not sure what happens if you are less than 4 feet tall and over 60.
The water park has water cannons, swings, spigots, slides and a 1,500 Big Bucket for dousing. Breaker beach has a 500,000-gallon tide with 4-foot waves. A word of caution: make sure that your locker keys and your swimming trunks are securely fastened before the big wave hits you. I almost lost mine. They have Itty Bitty Surf city with slides and fountains for little children. But my favorite is the Endless Lazy River. I know I said that a water park beats out the swimming pool in terms of excitement, but sometimes you just want to float around in a circle.
For the longest time, the folks who owned the Six Flags Amusement Park out in Eureka, Mo. (about 25 minutes west of St. Louis) wondered what to do with some of the land surrounding the park. There was talk of an equestrian park and expanding the regular park to include more rides. Then the idea for a water park was born and the light bulb went on. At that time there were few water parks in the region and why not have one right there at the park? After all there was already a water ride there that featured going down a wild river in a big rubber raft.
Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags (www.sixflags.com) has three different falls where you can plunge down the water slide at high speed. If you don’t want to use your body as an inner tube then you can get on one of the three tube rides that take you through twists and turns and tunnels. You can get caught up in The Tornado on a four-leaf clover or take a spin down Gullywasher Creek. Admission to the park is free with your paid ticket to the amusement park, which is up to about $45 for the day, but you can get a pretty good discount by picking up your tickets in advance at your local Schnucks supermarket.