NE Ohio Indoor Water Parks

I'm looking to buy my niece, nephew and parents a weekend stay at an indoor water park within driving distance of Cleveland for Christmas.

I know I can go on each individual website (Castaway Bay, Great Wolf, Kalahari, Maui Sands, Splash Lagoon) to read each park's stats (square footage, # of slides, etc), but I'm not necessarily sure what makes a good indoor water park to begin with.

Any advice, suggestions, personal experience, recommendations??? It would be greatly appreciated!!!

Last edited by d_port_12E,

I'd stay away from Maui Sands. I've not heard anything good about it, and seeing how they don't have enough cash on hand to pay their employees anymore, I can't imagine they're going to be around much longer. I've personally been to Castaway and Kalahari, and Kalahari is better on every level. There's so much more to do for both kids and adults, whereas at Castaway I was pretty bored after about 2 hours. Plus Kalahari has a swim up bar, which was a big plus for me. :)

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
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Kalahari if you have older kids, Black Wolf if you have younger kids.

Kalahari has the most slides and is the largest, but Black Wolf has more kid friendly stuff.

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

I just heard on the news today that Maui Sands is declaring bankruptcy. It was on NPR radio.

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I've been to Kalahari and Castaway, as well as to a different Great Wolf (in Williamsburg). I'd have to agree with TD. Kalahari is the better overall bet. It also has a massive outdoor waterplay area (if you are buying it as a Christmas gift for usage next summer).

Great Wolf is a great choice if you have young kids. The MagiQuest virtual game seems to suck in the young 'uns like Warcrack for the tweens and toddlers.

I'll also give Castaway some love, because even though the park is definitely more intimiate with less to do, it is all done well.

Kalahari by far is the BEST. Apperantly, they've nearly doubled the size of the place since I last was there in '05.

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I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

My neice and nephew are 13 and 10...does that qualify as old or young kids???

Ensign Smith said:
I just heard on the news today that Maui Sands is declaring bankruptcy. It was on NPR radio.

[text removed... please don't copy and paste entire articles, link to them. -J]

^sorry, Jeff.

I wish I could say I was surprised.

Last edited by FLYINGSCOOTER,

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coasterqueenTRN's avatar

I have been wanting to see Kalahari ever since it opened. It could make a nice winter trip. :)


My neice and nephew are 13 and 10...does that qualify as old or young kids???

Old. Great Wolf will bore them to tears.

Everyone thanks for the feedback!!

What about Splash Lagoon in Erie??? How does that measure up??

I've ben to Kalahari and Great Wolf. Both are nice. Kalahari has a lot more to do though. The new addition kind of disappointed me though. They had like only 3 new slides, 2 were toilet ones and the third was just some boring slide. They added a wave pool too, but it was way too crowded and kind of dirty.


I heard Splash Lagoon was not worth the drive over some of the closer parks. I've been to Castaway Bay and had a great time, but my wife and sister-in-law both came back with strep throat. I swear, these indoor parks are breeding grounds for bacteria. One warning on Castaway Bay...the enclosed slides are very intense. My nephews were 7 and 9 at the time, and both were almost in tears after riding. The water coaster is fantastic though and a lot of fun for all ages. The wave pool was clean and they have a great water playground for kids.

LOVED Kalahari. Went on a girls' weekend last year, and we were not disappointed. I think it would offer lots of great activities for kids those ages.

If driving south is an option, I'd also like to put a vote for Coco Key at Cherry Valley Lodge in Newark (near Columbus.) The drive is probably further than Sandusky -- although it depends on where "Cleveland" is -- but if you are looking for something a little nicer, this may be the key. The lodge was there before the waterpark, and the waterpark almost has its own 'wing' because of that. Of course the waterpark isn't the size of Kalahari, but then none really are.

Not sure if "parents" are the kids' parents, or your parents, but if they're your parents (and therefore a bit older,) they might appreciate the comparative serene-ness of CVL. (It's also less expensive than K'hari, FWIW.)

I've been to both of those and Ft. Rapids (Columbus.) Ft. Rapids was ew (and double-ew,) but the other two both were great.

Rctycoon2k's avatar

While I haven't been to Castaway Bay, I would say that Kalahari is MUCH better value wise than is Splash Lagoon. SL is fun, but easily can be done entirely in a couple hours, and can become boring. I'd say go with either Kalahari or Castaway.

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99er's avatar

If you opt for Kalahari, make sure YOU have an adult keeping an eye on the children at all times. Do not leave it 100% up to their lifeguards. Just an FYI.


LostKause's avatar

I only looked at Kalahari's waterpark, but spent a lot of coin at their very nice arcade.

On the other hand, I spent some time at Castaway Bay's waterpark, but only looked at the

Castaway bays waterpark was really fun. I went in the Fall, and it was very cold outside. My favorite thing I did there was sit in the hot bubble pool, wading back and forth from indoors to outdoors every few minutes.

The only thing missing from the waterpark was a lazy river.

Kalahari was themed much nicer than Castaway. It was close to IOA's level of theming.

If you opt for Kalahari, make sure YOU have an adult keeping an eye on the children at all times. Do not leave it 100% up to their lifeguards.Just an FYI.

Good advice at any water park.

Last edited by Brian Noble,
matt.'s avatar

Somewhat related news, I'm tagging along with family to the Great Wolf over by Kings Island in late December...should I be pumped? Looking at the pictures it looks pretty cool, should be tolerable even for a grumpy oaf like myself, yeah?

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