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5 water parks sure to make a splash with the kids

So, your kids miss summer? They miss dipping their toes in the water. Jumping in. Maybe they could use a get-away of sorts, but maybe it’s not in your budget to head to Florida? Resorts with indoor water parks are a sure bet for kids.

Luckily, there are a handful in the area – if you’re willing to cross the border or take a drive for the dive.

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark
5685 Falls Ave., Niagara Falls, Ont.

The massive waterpark sits across the border in Niagara Falls, Ont. The three-acre park includes speed slides for the adventurer, tube rides that are fun for the whole family, and water-type jungle gyms for the little ones (must be less than 48 inches to play).  There are 16 waterslides. Hot springs.  A wave pool. Everything you need for for a swimmingly good time.

Children not toilet trained must wear swim diapers (they are available for free at guest services).

No food or drinks allowed in water park but there is a café for snacks and drinks.

Cost: Day pass: $44.95; ages 2 and younger are free.  Overnights vary by day of week and special offers available. Lockers are available for $16 and $20.

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Waves Indoor Waterpark
8444 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls, Ont.

This is part of the Americana Resort, also in Ontario. Slides, splash pools and all kinds of water playgrounds sit in the 250,000 square foot park. Guests of the Americana have free access to the park – but you can also buy a day pass as well. There is a beach entry, kiddy pool, and food and bar services.

Cost: Day passes are $29.95; 1 and younger are free.

Hotel rates vary by day of week and special offers available.

Sam, Giada and Olivia (4, 7 & 8)  had a great time at Great Wolf Lodge Photo: Nicole Fieramusca

A great time at Great Wolf Lodge. (Nicole Fieramusca)

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Great Wolf Lodge
3950 Victoria Ave., Niagara Falls, Ont.

This park has something for everyone. Little kids. Big kids, and adults. There is a water roller-coaster with a 52-foot drop. They also have a wave pool, a variety of slides and even a water tree-house. Only Great Wolf Lodge hotel guests can access the park. No day passes available.

Nicole Fieramusca of Buffalo took her kids for a weekend getaway and was very pleasantly surprised by the entire experience. She loved that all three of her children found something they loved.

Chipmunk Cove has five slides for the little ones and only 18 inches of water.

"Four-year-old Sam loved sliding down over and over again," Fieramusca said. "The water park itself has so many options for children of all ages, my three kids had an absolute ball.

Photo: Nicole Fieramusca

Photo: Nicole Fieramusca

"As a mom, I immediately noticed how clean the entire facility was. The lobby, our hotel room, the waterpark itself – the place is immaculate!”. She was also impressed with how great the staff was. They went above and beyond to make the kids feel special.

The resort also features a slew of other fun attractions to keep kids busy.

Cost: There are no day passes available at Great Wolf. Water Park is for guests of the hotel. Rates run from $339 per night and up – they do have special offers at times. Room rates include access to park.

**Keep in mind – you will need a valid US passport, passport card, or enhanced driver’s license to cross the border into Canada. Although, with the exchange rate what it is (.74) – now may be a good time to go.

No interest in crossing the border? No worries. You have options on this side, too.

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Splash Lagoon
8091 Peach St., Erie, Pa.

This indoor water park getaway offers nine water slides, rope courses, a huge water tree house, lazy river, wave pool and more.

They also have laser tag, video games and more (additional cost). There are several hotel options to choose from that are connected to the park. All have different rates. Kate Torok recently took an overnight trip with her husband and their two girls (7 and 3).

Grace and Paige (7 & 3) had a great time at Splash Lagoon. (Kate Torok)

“We stayed in the wave pool, whirlpools, and the pool for smaller kids, so our options were somewhat limited.” Torok said. She went on to say that the restaurant was convenient and very affordable. Torok estimates for a family of four, overnight and passes – including food – they spent about $400.

Cost: Day pass: $28, under 42 inches; $36, over 42 inches, $20 spectator. (special offers are available at times)

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Palm Island Indoor Waterpark
8250 Park Road, Batavia

This 12,000 square foot park is connected to the Clarion Hotel and has several water slides, a pool, water playground, and a special ride for kids under 42”. No food or drinks can be brought into pool area, but there is a concession stand available for snacks.

You must bring your own towels.

Cost: Day passes are $20, under 42” is $15. Hotel rates vary by day of week and special offers such as packages for family of four for $149 and up per night.

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