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Whale's Tale Waterpark

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Smiles are guaranteed here whether your kids lean toward the tame or the adrenaline-pumping rides. A particular hit: the Bonzai, which shoots riders out at the speed of sound, sends them whizzing up and down a vertical wall, and ends with a splash that would impress Ahab. You may puzzle over the Eye of the Storm, which seems to simulate being flushed like Nemo from the dentist's office to the sea, but your kids will be riveted (if they make the height requirement). Curiously, the park's older slides, like the Downpour (two twisting tubes that start 50 feet up and wind 430 feet down), are still as popular as the newer ones.

Kid Tips

Toddlers & Pre-K: They'll love to get their feet wet in the shallow end of the wave pool and in Whale Harbor, a 7-and-under area that maxes at 16 inches deep and features miniature slides and fountains.

School-Age Kids: Younger kids get to feel like big kids on the Beluga Boggin, a scaled-down tube ride for couples and trios with no "you must be this tall" requirement.

Pre-Teens & Teens: Older kids will sprint back and forth between the wave pool and gnarly rides like the Bonzai Pipeline and Eye of the Storm; they'll also love racing each other on the Plunge and Downpour.
Planning Notes

o Pack a picnic lunch. Supplement it with snacks and drinks bought on the premises.
o Take it easy. When the gang is tapped out, lounge by the whale-size heated pool, warm up in one of three oversize hot tubs, or take a mellow tube cruise along the Lazy River (kids can't resist a dunk in the waterfall and often ditch their tubes to swim with the current).
o Stake your claim. Secure some chairs on the shady lawn when you arrive so everyone can take a break from the sun.
o Lock up. There are no extra fees for parking or tubes, but the $5 fee for a locker ($10 up front; $5 returned on departure) is worth it for stashing keys and wallets.

Just the Facts

Hours: Mid-June through August: Daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Check the website for additional days in early June and September.

Fees: $20-$30

Recommended Time: Half day

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