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 are two hotels with an indoor water park as well as three 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 most 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 were two CoCo Key Water resorts, but they have both since closed
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:
Part of the largest chain of indoor water park resorts, the Great Wolf Lodge is quite large and offers plenty to do. It lacks major thrill rides such as a water coaster or a funnel ride, and may be best suited for families with younger children. “Dry” activities include the interactive adventure game, MagiQuest, a ropes course, mini-golf, bowling, a climbing wall, and an arcade with redemption games. It is open to both registered hotel guests (and admission is included in the room rates) as well as to the general public. Before Great Wolf took it over, the water park resort was known as Key Lime Cove.
The comparatively small indoor water park is open 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.
An outdoor and indoor municipal facility, the small indoor water park include two water slides, tumble buckets, a zero-depth entry pool, and a hot tub.
Located at the members-only 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.
Located inside the city's Community Recreation Center, The Water Works is a standalone municipal indoor water park. It offers three water slides, a rapid water channel, an interactive water play center, a lap pool, a diving pool, and a zero-entry pool.