KC will soon have the world’s tallest water slide
What Kansas City lacks in beaches, we make up for in amusement parks.
Schlitterbahn: All around the world, people are talking about the Verrückt water slide at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Kan. Now set to make its splash on June 29 (after being pushed back from the scheduled May 23 launch), it’s officially the tallest in the world. We’re talking 168 feet, 7 inches high. No wonder they named it Verrückt, which means “insane” in German. At least you can take your friends with you on this 70 mph ride — it’s made to be ridden in a four-person raft.
Don’t worry, you can always head to the swim-up bar at Henry’s Hideout to soothe your nerves. It’s stocked with liquid courage, and there’s a patio if you prefer to stay dry.
Schlitterbahn’s not entirely an adrenaline rush. There are plenty of family-friendly slides, a lazy river and kiddie park, too.
Tickets start at $36.99, but there’s an after-3 p.m. price of $26.99. schlitterbahn.com/kc
Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun: Worlds of Fun is a Kansas City tradition. I’m not big on coasters, but even I can tame the Spinning Dragons. It’s a teacup on a coaster — 90 seconds and five stories of twists and turns. True thrill-seekers should go for the 3-minute, 75-mph rush of the Mamba. Taking riders over 200 feet high, it’s one of the tallest, fastest roller coasters in the world.
But there’s also something new: SteelHawk. Think of it as a swing set on steroids, and when it opens May 24, it will stand 100 feet taller than the Mamba. The SteelHawk features 32 two-person swings spreading at a 45-degree angle, going higher and higher, soaring some 301 feet in the air. With an LED light display and amazing views of the city, this is a ride that’s better taken at night.
Not looking for that kind of adrenaline high? Try the Fury of the Nile. This six-person river rafting ride is the kind of adventure that gets a little wild, but it’s not so crazy you’ll leave scared. You’ll just be soaked.
Worlds of Fun, like Six Flags, has a sister park for water lovers: Oceans of Fun. Last summer brought a trio of new options for slippery excitement: Predator’s Plunge, Constrictor and Sharks’ Revenge. We call this 65-foot-tall (be ready to climb those stairs) slide complex 50 Shades of Slides.
A breakdown: Constrictor is more chill than thrill with its occasional neon light and four 360-degree turns. It’s fun to charm this snake, even in a dark purple tube. Sharks’ Revenge features two slides. Go for the green, baby. One second you’re twisting and turning through the tunnel. The next, you’re taking a wicked, wet 90-degree drop into the pool. As for Predator’s Plunge, let’s just say these three slides are made for vampires. The “aqua-launch” chambers look like candy-coated coffins. When you walk in, you will be told to fold your arms across your chest and cross your ankles. You ride alone, no tube, no friend. Prepare to take the plunge.
Looking for adult play? Go to Castaway Cove, an adult pool and swim-up bar. There’s music, a basketball hoop and plenty of lounge chairs.
Park admission (includes access to both Worlds and Oceans) starts at $39.99. Specials after 4 p.m. start at $31.99. worldsoffun.com
| Jenee Osterheldt, The Kansas City Star
Six Flags and adjacent Hurricane Harbor have something for everyone
The theme park experience in St. Louis pretty much begins and ends with Six Flags St. Louis. With nearly 40 rides, from the Foghorn Leghorn National Park Railway to the terrifying Mr. Freeze: Reverse Blast, you are sure to find something for everyone. Looney Toons characters and a few shows round out the park.
New this year is the Tsunami Soaker. The attraction, which will open later this year, is like a spinning teacup ride in water, and each boat is armed with water guns to shoot at fellow passengers and passers-by.
But Six Flags is really like two parks in one with the adjacent Hurricane Harbor. There you’ll find the scream-worthy Bonzai Pipeline as well as a lazy river and wave pools.
Visit in the middle of the week or later in the day to beat the crowds. You can find tickets good for both parks for as low $41.99 if purchased at sixflags.com/stlouis. Regular prices are $56.99 adults; $41.99 kids under 48 inches; kids 2 and under are free.
You can find another water park across the river in Grafton. Raging Rivers has eight rides, from a large wave pool to a variety of slides and the Swirlpool, a slide that ends in a swirl that dumps you several feet above water.
Tickets are $24.95 for adults; $18.95 for guests under 48 inches tall; kids 2 and younger are free.
| Amy Bertrand, St. Louis Post-Dispatch