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Dive into fun at these 5 cool pools, water parks

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    Aquatica Orlando’s newest waterslide, KareKare Curl, opened in April. Two riders, who face each other on the raft, experience a 35-foot drop in the enclosed tube and then rush up a vertical wave wall. The ride takes about 15 to 20 seconds to complete.

Diving boards and the deep end have been replaced by daredevil drops and surf zones. Here are five places where you and the family can splash together in cool pools and water parks.

1. Royal Caribbean, Perfect Day at CocoCay

Visitors to the cruise line’s recently relaunched, 125-acre private island, CocoCay, can choose to be thrilled, chill out or both while the ship docks for the day at a newly built pier. For those who opt for the Thrill Zone, the centerpiece is Daredevil Peak, a 135-foot-high slide, said to be the highest in North America. A dozen other slides, a wave pool and assorted water play areas will keep youngsters and the young at heart busy for hours. Also, in the neighborhood you’ll find a helium balloon ride, a 1,600-foot-long zip line and casual hang-out zones from which to watch others tackle the heights. On the Chill side, expect a long stretch of beach, options for snorkeling, wave running, paddleboarding, kayaking and simply soaking up the sun while floating on a royal blue raft.


2. JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa, Aventura, Fla.

This South Florida resort recently opened the Tidal Cove Waterpark, an integral part of a multimillion-dollar expansion and renovation project. The new 5-acre fun zone includes a 60-foot tower with seven waterslides, a 4,000-square-foot kids pool with an aquatic play area, and a triple Flow Rider simulation pool, the first of its kind in the country. The 42-foot-wide surf simulation machine incorporates elements of surfing, bodyboarding, skateboarding, skimboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding. The new water features connect with current facilities that include a Lazy River, a zero entry pool and 25 luxury cabanas for privacy and relaxation.


3. Aquatica, Orlando, Fla.

With 42 waterslides, rides, rivers and lagoons, this award-winning water park in Orlando is part of the SeaWorld family. Check out the Walhalla Wave, a family raft ride that includes more than 600 feet of drenching twists, turns and drops into darkness. Earlier this year, Aquatica Orlando became the world’s first water park to be recognized as a certified autism center with the ability to offer resources and tools for families with members that have autism and other special needs.


4. Grand Wailea Resort, Maui, Hawaii

This island haven may be most famous for its beaches, but don’t pass up the chance to explore what this resort has to offer. The whole family will be eager to explore the 25,700-square-foot area that includes nine free-form pools. Travel via a “river” to check out the slides, waterfalls, caves, water elevator, swim-up bar, rope swing and more that are part of this water wonderland. Adventurers will want to check out the 262-foot Lava Slide, a 14-second thrill ride that includes a 30-foot drop and speeds up to 22 miles per hour.


5. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Scottsdale, Ariz.

A family stay at this Sonoran desert resort is full of fun surprises, beginning at the kid’s check-in desk. In no time, your gang can dig your toes in the sand at the Sunset Beach pool or join the festivities at the Sonoran Splash pool where waterslides, music, games and dive-in movies up the fun factor. Kids can fish in the lagoon, play golf or spend the day at the Trailblazers Kids Club where activities include pingpong, learning about desert wildlife, making s’mores in a solar oven and recreational games. The day ends with an ice cream social. Sweet treats aside, parents will appreciate the Lifestyle Cuisine menu for adults and children that focuses on providing healthy choices.


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