My family has traveled all over the Pacific Northwest to some of the best, largest water parks. I am a water park snob; I want the biggest bang for my buck, I want reasonable cleanliness, and I want decently priced snacks, as I am sure most families do. Here is a list of the area mega water parks I have visited and what I liked or did not like about them, listed in no particular order.
Great Wolf Lodge of Washington located in Grand Mound, Washington.
Rides: There are several things to do within the lodge, i.e. free story time, a magical treasure hunt, and they have an arcade. The indoor waterpark, itself, has a number of slides, four to be exact, including one raft ride that will make you scream every time you ride it! The other slides were fun, as well. They have a really awesome wave pool, and for the younger kids, there is a giant play structure where kids can get sopping wet and squirt each other. My children, ages 6-16, had no problem entertaining themselves all day long. We went spent most of our time going back and forth between the wave pool and the various slides. I would rate GWL’s attractions a 9/10.
Cleanliness: This water park uses saltwater verses chlorinated water. I loved this! The water smelled lovely and it seemed just as clean as a chlorine pool. Outside of the water, the park was extremely well cared for, I did not see one piece of garbage. I give them a 10/10!
Snacks: Whoa Nelly! I got major sticker shock when I arrived at the snack counter looking to get a meal for my family. The prices were outrageous, so much that I decided it would be worth my time to get dressed and travel down the road to the corner McDonald’s. There is no outside food allowed in the waterpark. I absolutely refuse to pay $7 for a hotdog for my 6 year old, call me cheap. Lunch will run your family of five somewhere between $40-$50 dollars, including beverages. Their selection is very limited. When it comes to food, they get a 4/10.
Overall value: I feel like the Wolf Lodge is reasonably priced, but more towards the high end when compared to area parks. For a family of five, a one night stay and about a day and a half of water park play will run you around $450-$500, depending on the season. As I mentioned above, there are a ton of things to do, but the only way you have access to the fun is by getting a room. This place makes for a fabulous getaway during the cooler months. For overall value, I give them a 7/10.
Silverwood, located in Athol, Idaho.
Rides: Much like GWL, you get far more than a waterpark with your admission; Silverwood started out as a theme park, and then added the water park awhile back. So, you’ll find a train ride, several roller coasters, people in fun costumes, as well as other amusing attractions for all ages on the “dry” side. As for the “wet” water park side? They have a large wave pool, a very large lazy river, a play structure for kids, and five water slides. We loved the wave pool, we seem to enjoy watching each other half-way drown as an oncoming wave hits. We enjoyed the slides, but, I have to tell you, I was not a huge fan of the dark slide! Ricochet Rapids is an enclosed slide, you sit down and shove off into the unknown which is full of twists turns and drop offs. I would consider this more of a thrill ride. I screamed almost the entire way down, partially because I am mildly afraid of the dark and partially because I am not a fan of being ill-prepared something like a 20 foot drop off. The speed slides were fun, loved the raft ride and the kiddy play structure. My personal favorite was the lazy river. Good times. I give Silverwood an 8/10.
Cleanliness: Silverwood uses a chlorination system to keep the bad bugs at bay. A credit to them; the smell of chlorine is not overpowering. This tells me that they have a good filtration system. While there, I did notice a bit of garbage thrown here and there by discourteous park-goers, but nothing major. I feel like it was pretty clean, overall, I’d give it an 8/10.
Snacks: Another bonus of Silverwood is that you are allowed to bring in your own cooler with food and water. If you do need to grab a bite while you’re there, you can choose from a wide variety of tasty eats for a fairly reasonable price. I would say the cost to feed a family of five could run anywhere from $0 to $50, since you’re allowed to bring your own. I was able to pack a PB&J for my two youngest, which satisfied their taste buds, and then I bought burgers for my husband, son and myself, which ran us under $25. When it comes to food, I give them a 10/10.
Overall value: The adult admission for one day will run you around $45, with a nice discount for kids who are 7 and under, at $23 per child. They offer a discounted two day pass for $74/adult and $36/child. With so much to do in one place, I feel like the overall value is pretty good, especially since I can bring my own picnic lunch in, why not stay the night in the local campground and enjoy two days? I give Silverwood a 9/10 for value.
Silver Mountain Resort located in Kellogg, Idaho.
Rides: As with the GWL, you have to book a room in order to enjoy the indoor water park. The rides include a flowrider surfing simulator, a lazy river, two large play structure areas for smaller kids, a water game area for bigger kids and adults, and two water slides. My family spent some time going down the two slides, but spent a lot of our time circling in the lazy river. The younger one adored the large play structures, I think she would give this park a 10/10, as it is way fun for little guys. After doing a little bit of everything, we left a little before closing time. I feel like this park was nice, it has something for every member of the family, but could use a wave pool or a few more slides. I rate it a 7/10.
Cleanliness: This park was very clean. I think it was a saltwater pool, but may have been a very well filtered chlorinated pool. Either way, it smelled fine and the non-water areas were pretty mess-free. I give it a 9/10.
Snacks: The food was nothing to write home about, they had a limited menu and the prices were so-so. A family of five would pay around $40 for a meal which may include hot dogs and hamburgers. There was no outside food allowed. This may have something to do with health codes, so I am not faulting them. I would rate their snacks at 5/10.
Overall value: A one night stay with a day and a half of water play will run you around $400. The resort offers several other things to do including riding the longest gondola in the world (impress your friends!), skiing, and tubing during the winter months, with plenty of spring and summer activities including golfing, biking, rafting, ATV riding and more. All activities are offered at an additional fee, of course, but it adds your enjoyment, nonetheless. I love that there is a lot to do in one spot. The water park is only half the fun, and is enjoyable. I rate it a 7/10, overall.
All in all, I would have to say that Silverwood is my personal favorite among water parks in the Pacific Northwest. It simply had the most fun in one place for the best value. I would recommend both the Great Wolf Lodge and Silver Mountain Resort for a nice winter getaway. Depending on which is closer and what else you want to do while you’re there. they both have a plethora of fun things to do and are decently priced. I hope you can take your family to one or all three this summer!