Jeneé Osterheldt

A deluge of options as KC-area water parks open this weekend

A new feature at Oceans of Fun this summer: swan paddle boats. Find them at Buccaneer Bay.
A new feature at Oceans of Fun this summer: swan paddle boats. Find them at Buccaneer Bay. Oceans of Fun

I don’t care if it feels like fall outside, I’m ready for the season of pools and water parks.

By Memorial Day, Schlitterbahn, Oceans of Fun and most public pools will be open for splashing and aquatic adventures. (Though the city of Kansas City announced Thursday that it’s delaying pool openings until water temperatures reach 70 degrees.)

None of these adventures is more daring than Schlitterbahn’s Verrückt (the park opens Friday). Yeah, the monster opened last year, but let’s be real: We’re still in awe of all 168-feet and 7-inches of that wicked and wet beast of a slide. The wait can drag on for hours. That’s why the park offers reservations.

Get there when gates open, usually at 10 a.m., and line up at the tower of the slide with your group. You will be assigned a time so you can go enjoy other rides (find me on the Storm Blaster, because it starts in the Lazy River) and return to Verrückt 30 minutes before your reservation. Note: Reservations are limited and first come, first serve.

Over at Oceans of Fun (open Saturday) there is plenty new to talk about, but don’t skip out on the slide complex: Constrictor, Sharks’ Revenge and my favorite — Predator’s Plunge, complete with the coffin-like “aqua-launch.” Fold your arms across your chest, cross those ankles and slip into the Dracula darkness.

Plus, there’s always Castaway Cove, the adult-only pool where you can drink and swim. On Saturdays, June 27-Aug. 1, Oceans is bringing in a DJ to get the pool party started right.

Other highlights:

Splash Island and swan paddle boats

Worlds of Fun. Splash Island 1
Oceans of Fun, which starts its season Saturday, will debut Splash Island, 4,200 square feet of aquatic adventure by Coconut Cove. Oceans of Fun

Just around Oceans of Fun’s Coconut Cove, the all new Splash Island has floated in. We’re talking 4,200 square feet of water jets that blast up from the ground for family fun as water rains down everywhere.

Another new feature: swan paddle boats. Get your vitamin D while paddling around Buccaneer Bay.

All American Barbecue & Brew Festival

Craft beers and barbecue at Oceans of Fun and Worlds of Fun? We’ll take it.

June 13, 14, 20 and 21, the All American Barbecue & Brew Festival is on. Sample the best brews from KC Bier Co., Tallgrass Brewing Co., New Belgium Craft Beer, Summit Brewing Co. and Public House Brewing Co. And grub on burnt ends, ribs and all that barbecue goodness from Worlds of Fun’s executive chef, Kevin Williams.

$25 gets you into the event, or you can spend $60 (buy your ticket at WorldsOfFun.com) and spend the day enjoying the festival and rides. Must be 21. There’s also a pay as you go option: $5 per location gets you two craft beer samples and one barbecue sample.

World’s Largest Swimming Lesson

swimday
Schlitterbahn and the YMCA of Greater Kansas City will team up in June to give our city a free swimming lesson while trying to break the Guinness record for the World's Largest Swimming Lesson. Schlitterbahn

Schlitterbahn and the YMCA of Greater Kansas City join water parks all over the world for the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson on June 18. Participants must show up no later than 9:30 a.m. for the 10 a.m. attempt to break the Guinness world record. All swimmers receive a certificate of participation. It’s free to join in; online registration opens next week.

Participants who want to stay and play can purchase discounted tickets in advance, $34 for general admission (ages 12-54) and $28 for kids and seniors (3-11 and 55+). Schlitterbahn.com

Verano Muy Padre Latin Festival

Schlitterbahn hosts its annual summer fiesta June 21 — Father’s Day. Enjoy your water slides and rides along with Latin-inspired food trucks, musicians and family-friendly entertainment from noon to 5 p.m. Admission (if you pay in advance) is $33 and includes all day fun from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visit Schlitterbahn.com

To reach Jeneé Osterheldt, call 816-234-4380 or send email to josterheldt@kcstar.com. “Like” her page on Facebook and never miss a column. Follow her on Twitter @jeneeinkc.

Opening days

▪ Oceans of Fun, 4545 Worlds of Fun Ave., opens 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and keeps those hours through most of June. Tickets start at $40 online and $55 at the gate. For juniors and seniors (under 3 or 62 and over) single-day tickets are $35 online and at the gate. For more information visit worldsoffun.com.

▪ Schlitterbahn, 9400 State Ave., Kansas City, Kan., opens 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. After that, hours vary. Tickets start at $40 online and $43 at the gate. For juniors and seniors (age 3 to 11 or 55 and up) it’s $40 online and $33 at the gate. For a schedule and tickets, visit schlitterbahn.com.

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