By Amy Orndorff
Jan. 21, 2011
The shallow waves lap at your ankles. The gentle current pulls you along as you float down a lazy river. It's a balmy 84 degrees...and you're inside.
No, really. You can re-create a warm summer day - and never worry about sunscreen--at Massanutten WaterPark, an indoor maze of slides, pools and hot tubs tucked in the scenic hills of Virginia. Be warned, however. Even though there are peaceful, relaxing spots in the park (Blue Ridge Rapids and Shenandoah Hot Springs to name two), this is a kids' domain.
As soon as you step inside, you hear children scream and splash as they rocket down water slides, climb on the tree-house-like playground and shoot streams of water at one another. A popular feature is the FlowRider, where kids can try surfing. On a recent Saturday, the line for the wave attraction was longer than any other, and spectators gathered around the sides.
Some adults seemed content to sit by the edge of the pool or splash around with their children, but there was plenty to do for the kids at heart, including three scream-inducing tube slides, the longest being 440 feet. Climbing to the top with inner tube in hand can be exhausting, but the ride is worth it. First timers should head to Country Cooler, a traditional, well-lit slide. Its foil, the Melting Mogul, is pitch black and makes unexpected sharp turns and drops.
One recent Saturday, Gail Coleman, 47, and her 10-year-old son, Nathan, traveled from Bethesda to meet friends at the park.
"I did say, 'Are you sure it's indoors?' and when [my friend] assured me it was, I was all for it," Coleman said.
Her son said he liked the slides the best. Which ones? "The big ones," Nathan said, adding that "in one of them I dropped straight [down]!"