H2O adventure & Fitness Centre
If the three twisty tube slides (60-, 80- and 90-metres long) and spray park for the younger set (think jets, toys and spray nozzles) isn’t enough to make you pack up your goggles and towels and hit this centre, we’re pretty sure the lure of the lazy river will do it. Relax on a floating device and let the current move you through the park. If your surfer dude or dudette is up for a totally rad experience (and is taller than 42 inches), she can try the FlowRider – an ocean-wave simulator perfect for wannabe boogie boarders. Swimming lessons available.
Free for members. Adults, $11; teens, $8; children 3 to 12, $6; kids younger than 3 get in free.
4075 Gordon Dr., Kelowna. 250-764-4040
Get more information at h2okelowna.ca
Families flock to this splash park for the super-sized wave pool (where little mermaids and mermen can ride the surf every 15 minutes), water basketball nets and a play structure (complete with wee slides, and tipping buckets that spill gallons of water on kids). You’ll also find a 57-metre pool that’s perfect for swimming laps or floating about, with a huge diving tower, smaller diving boards and a rope swing. Adults can sign up for one of the popular water aerobics classes, like H2O Bootcamp. The swim shop sells bathing suits, water wings and other accessories, while the Surfside Galley is a great place to grab grub when your swimmers are running on empty.
Adults, $7; teens, $6; kids two to 12, $5.
14300 Entertainment Blvd., Richmond. 604-448-5353
Get more information at richmond.ca
Whether you live in Edmonton or are just visiting, a trip to the internationally renowned West Edmonton Mall is a no-brainer; just be sure to bring your swimsuits. World Waterpark features Blue Thunder (the biggest indoor wave pool on earth), as well as 17 awesome slides (beginner to “extreme”), including one of the coolest and scariest around: the Cyclone. (If you’re brave enough – and at least 10 years old – you’ll step into a capsule, the door will close and the floor will fall beneath you, sending you straight down before doing a feet-first loop.) For folks who steer clear of heights, there’s a massive jungle gym with plenty of pull ropes, water buckets and spray nozzles. Toddlers and infants can splash around in the Dolphin kiddie pool and water playground. Rent life jackets and floating tubes from the on-site Sharky’s Supply Shack, and eat at one of four concession areas.
General admission, $45; Children (under 48 inches), $35; kids younger than two get in free. (You get 10% off though if you buy your tickets online)
8882-170 St. N.W., Edmonton. 780-444-5300
Get more information at wem.ca
Village Square Leisure Centre
There’s plenty to do at this rec centre – one of Calgary’s most popular facilities for birthday parties, after-school programs, public skating and hanging out poolside. The Safari Splash Zone features a 500-gallon dump bucket, swaying bridges and a ball swing kids can use to plunge into the wave pool. The wildest slide around – the Thunder Run – loops in and out of the building. But what sets this park apart from the others are the Nuclear Globe Balls – inflatable two-metre balls that float while you climb in, hold onto the handles and walk on water. (Kids younger than seven must be accompanied by an adult.)
Adults, $12; kids seven to 17, $6; kids two to six, $3; kids younger than two get in free.
2623 56 St. N. E., Calgary. 403-366-3900
Get more information at calgary.ca
The Gallagher Centre
Little ones can splish-splash on the beach-like entry into the wave pool, while older swimmers enjoy the two-storey waterslide, lazy river and whirlpool. Not only can you rent out the party room for birthday celebrations, but go for the Parent of the Year Award and rent out the entire wave pool for a really reasonable rate – $121.50 per hour. Visit on chilly winter weekends for the centre’s Sunday family swims from 1 to 3p.m.
Adults, $8; kids seven to 17, $6; kids three to six, $5; kids younger than two get in free.
455 Broadway St. W., Yorkton. 306-786-1740
Get more information at gallaghercentre.com
Splashers Indoor Pool & Waterslide
Billed as Manitoba’s largest indoor waterslide and aquatic centres, there are seven Splashers locations throughout the province (five in Winnipeg, one in Brandon and one in Portage la Prairie) inside Canad Inns, which also offer accommodations, entertainment centres and restaurants. Each spot boasts large pools, wading pools, hot tubs and great water features, like tube slides and spraying mushrooms.
Contact Canad Inns for admission rates.
Seven locations across Manitoba. 888-332-2623
Get more information at canadinns.com
Shindleman Aquatic Centre at PCU Centre
When temperatures dip below zero and your brood is craving a day at the beach, this water park offers everything they’ll need to recreate that summertime feeling with a beach-like entry, a shallow area for little tykes, a huge leisure pool and a relaxing lazy river. When June rolls around, you have the choice of staying indoors or heading outdoors to Splash Island (open June to September), where there’s another pool, mini waterfalls, fountains and two huge slides: Splash Attack and Funnel Tunnel.
Adults, $7; children three to 17, $5; kids younger than two, $3.
245 Royal Rd. S., Portage la Prairie. 204-857-7772
Get more information at pcucentre.ca
Great Wolf Lodge
This themed family resort and super-warm 84-degree water park was built for water babies of all ages – kids will want to spend their entire time at the Lodge frolicking in the 100,000-square-foot pool area. It’s a little overwhelming when you walk into the massive indoor paradise to see hundreds of other families splashing around, but it’s big enough for everyone to enjoy. In keeping with the theme, kids can play on treetop slides, suspension bridges and swinging nets, while tweens will get a kick out of the Canada Vortex – a slide with a 40-foot drop. You’ll find families bobbing in the rolling waves of Rainbow Lake, which start every 10 minutes and last for three.
Water park is reserved exclusively for guests of the resort. Call for reservations. Rooms start at $250.
3950 Victoria Ave., Niagara Falls. 905-354-4888
Get more information at greatwolf.com/niagara
Plunge! Blue Mountain
Head north to Ontario’s cottage country – and the province’s biggest mountain range – and spend some time at this popular resort. At the base of the mountain is Plunge!, where you’ll find indoor-outdoor pools, rope swings, slides and a cool water playground. If you’re missing a few essentials, the on-site tuck shop sells bathing suits, goggles and swim diapers.
Ages 13+, $20; Children aged three to 12, 15$; kids younger than two get in free.
220 Gord Canning Dr., Blue Mountain. 705-444-8705
Get more information at plungebluemountain.ca
Waves Indoor Waterpark
Waves is known for its super- tropical feel; the park is enclosed in a glass structure, making it seem truly sunny and summery (even on the coldest of winter days). Plus, this park is the only one in Niagara that boasts a retractable roof that opens when the weather’s co- operating. Swimmers will enjoy body slides, interactive water play toys and structures, and a huge tipping bucket. Plus, the Waves snack bar offers yummy finger foods.
All-ages full-day pass, $35; kids 12 months and younger get in free.
8444 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls. 905-356-8444
Get more information at americananiagara.com
The Wave Pool
The Lois Hancey Aquatic Centre, in the heart of downtown Richmond Hill, has been one of the most visited recreation centres in town since The Wave Pool opened its doors. As the only indoor wave pool in the Greater Toronto Area, families come from all over to surf and swim through the four-foot waves and zoom down the 160-foot-long waterslide. Next to the wave pool is a swirl pool, as well as an on-deck sauna for parents who want a few minutes to relax.
Adults, $10; children three to 15, $6; kids under the age of three get in free.
5 Hopkins St., Richmond Hill. 905-508-9283
Get more information at richmondhill.ca
This facility offers everything. One pool just for little fishes (complete with an easy-to-enter slope and fun features like spraying mushrooms), and a giant pool for families, with lane swims and help for folks who need aqua therapy. The newest addition to the facility is their exciting aqua spinning class, where adults can get a great cardio workout on the Hydroriders – water bikes that are submerged and perfect for pedalling under water. And you’ll want to sign your budding Jacques Cousteau up for scuba diving or snorkelling classes.
General admission from $3; kids three and younger get in free.
1411 Rue Lapierre, LaSalle. 514-367-6460
Get more information at inscriptionsaquadome.ca
Aquatic and Sports Centre
The pools in this centre have some of the coolest features for kids (and the young at heart). Besides the exercise pool (with two lanes dedicated to swimming laps and water aerobic exercise classes such as aqua Zumba) and another six-lane pool, there’s a recreational pool that caters to little ones. The twisty waterslide and umbrella soaker are always open, as is the excellent pirate ship for tots to climb up and play on (there’s a small slide off the ship, as well as water sprays that squirt mateys who are overboard). What’s most impressive about the centre’s aquatic offerings is the giant Wibit inflatable structures that are set up on Saturdays for the public swim sessions. There’s an air-filled tower that kids can climb up and jump into the water from the Wibit AquaTrack – a floatable obstacle course.
Adults, $8; kids 12 and younger get in for $5.
111 Aquatique St., Dieppe. 506-877-7881
Get more information at dieppe.ca
Canada Games Aquatic Centre
There’s a pool just for tots and a tropical swim area, flowing with warm-water leisure pools, poolside hot tubs, a steam room and sauna. All pools, slides and diving boards are open for Sunday family swims, but the most exciting time to take your youngsters for a dip is definitely during the “Ultimate Swim” sessions. Kids and their pals will enjoy playing water volleyball and testing the swinging Tarzan rope. The school-aged, tween and teen sets (as well as their parents) will want to try out one of the new Water Walkerz Balls. (Climb into the ball and you’ll roll around while floating across the pool.)
Adults, $8; children four to 16, $5; kids three and younger, $2.
50 Union St., Saint John. 506-658-4715
Get more information at aquatics.nb.ca
While there are a couple of pools to choose from at this facility, you won’t be able to pry your swashbucklers away from Pirate’s Cove – a huge pirate ship above the water where kids can play, then slide down one of its three slides to get back into the pool below. If your brood loves the water and would enjoy aqua activities (aside from swimming lessons), the Sportsplex offers water polo lessons.
Adults, $7; children, $6.
110 Wyse Rd., Dartmouth. 902-464-2600
Get more information at dartmouthsportsplex.com
While there are plenty of ways to enjoy a little underwater fun at the aquarena (which offers lane swims, swimming lessons and even a synchronized swimming club), it’s the recreational swim options that will impress families looking for something to do after school and on weekends. Besides the toys, waterslides (including smaller kiddie slides for tots), balls and the swinging Tarzan rope, there’s an inflatable obstacle course and a floating water walkway that’s open to kids (and parents!) of all ages.
Adults from $5; children from $4; kids younger than two get in free.
17 Westerland Road St., St. John’s. 709-864-3798
Get more information at theworksonline.ca
Besides the eight-lane competitive and recreational pool, there’s a leisure pool perfect for splashing around in. There are swimming lessons and aqua-fitness classes available, as well as a day camp on PA days during the school year. The parent observation seating area is the perfect place for moms and dads who want to keep an eye on their older kids (ages seven and up) and stay dry.
Adults, $9; students seven and older, $7; children two to six, $5; kids younger than two get in free OR get a Family pass for $21.
550 University Ave., Charlottetown. 902-569-4584, X 0.
Get more information at caripei.ca
A version of this article appeared in our February 2014 issue with the headline “All the best indoor water parks,” pp. 82-6, and was originally published online Dec. 2015.