The indoor water park phenomenon started in Wisconsin Dells in 1994 and spread throughout the Midwest, including Illinois (and eventually across the US and beyond), soon thereafter. There is a hotel with an indoor water park (and one one the way) as well as some standalone parks around the state, which follow.
During a building boom in the mid-2000s, many indoor water park resorts were proposed for Illinois. But the recession that started in 2008 ended many of the plans, including Frontier Lodge in LaSalle, Grizzly Falls Resort in Rosemont, Sun Island Water Park Resort in Hoffman Estates, and Waves of Fun, an indoor water park proposed for the Best Western Timber Creek Inn in Sandwich. Also, there was a second CoCo Key Water resort at the Sheraton Chicago in Arlington Heights, but that closed in 2009.
For many years, KeyLime Cove Water Paradise Resort was open in Gurnee, near Six Flags Great America. Attractions included a bowl ride, water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, and an adults-only whirlpool. The resort closed in 2017, however. It is expected that a Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park resort will open in its place.
Before we get to the parks that are open in Illinois, here are some other resources to find parks:
The following Illinois indoor water parks are open:
Indoor water park resort
The comparatively small indoor water park to registered hotel guests (and included with room rates) as well as the general public. Attractions include water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, an interactive water play center with a huge tipping water bucket and activities for young children. The resort also includes a small indoor amusement park with a rock wall, a zip line, and other things to do.
Standalone indoor water park
Located at the members-only at Fox River Resort, Pirate’s Cay Water Park is open to the general public. The 31,000-square-foot park includes a lazy river, an interactive water play center, four water slides, an arcade, and a party room.
Standalone municipal indoor water park
Located inside the city's Community Recreation Center, The Water Works offers three water slides, a rapid water channel, an interactive water play center, a lap pool, a diving pool, and a zero-entry pool.