Family-friendly Activities 

Fun Parks

click to enlarge LESLIE MCKELLAR

Youth Gone Wild: Whirlin' Waters Adventure Park

Whirlin' Waters Adventure Park Youth Day
Sat. July 19
10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
North Charleston Wannamaker County Park
Highway 78 University Blvd.
North Charleston
(843) 572-7275

With temperatures in the 90s and climbing, teens and preteens won't last long in the Lowcountry without taking advantage of the area's biggest water park, Whirlin' Waters Adventure Waterpark — and Lord knows, you don't want to leave those kids to roast in the back seat of your car while you play blackjack at a secret video poker joint, not that — (writer quickly looks around for police officers) — there are such places. Which is why you can bet dollars to doughnut-shaped inner tubes that the park will be packed on Youth Day.

Though the park is still open to all on this kid-centric day, youth groups flood the water park when admission (typically $18.99 for adults) drops to $11.99. The best part? That reduced ticket price doesn't just apply to the kiddies either. It's for everybody.

Once at Whirlin' Waters feel free to enjoy the Big Kahuna wave pool — a 27,000-square-foot pond of fun — and the Tubular Twister, an enclosed slide with terrifying drops.

For the wee ones, there's the Splash Tree House with slides, pinwheels, jets, and waterwheels, and the Lily Pad Lagoon. For the folks just looking to relax, there's the Rollin' River, an age-friendly lazy river ride. —Gervase Caycedo

Slippery When Wet: Other water parks, in town and out

Splash Island
Palmetto Islands County Park
$6.99, $4.99/under 42"
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
444 Needlerush Pkwy.
Mt. Pleasant
(843) 884-0832

Splash Zone
James Island County Park
$7.99/Charleston County resident; $9.99/non-resident
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
871 Riverland Drive
James Island
(843) 795-4386

Boomerang Bay at Carowinds
$19.99/children 3 and up; $45.99/adult; $39.99/online purchase adult
10 a.m.- 7 p.m.
(800) 888-4386

Six Flags White Water
$36.99; $26.99/children under 48"
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Marietta, Ga.
(770) 590-4067

click to enlarge T. BALLARD LESEMANN

Rock 'n' Roller Coasters: Take a ride to Myrtle for the newly opened Hard Rock

Park Hard Rock Park
Myrtle Beach
$50; $40/military
10 a.m.-1 a.m.
(843) 236-ROCK

The Hard Rock Park is an awful lot like Disney World — that is if Mickey Mouse was replaced by Robert Plant and Donald Duck with, let's say Glenn Frey. We hear that no expense was spared in the creation of the world's first rock 'n' roll theme park, unlike magician Doug Henning's amusement park devoted to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi which never managed to get off the meditation mat.

Hard Rock Park features themed areas — "Born in the USA," "British Invasion," and "Cool Country" — and rock-centric rides, like "Nights in White Satin: The Trip," an indoor black light-lit, slow-moving affair that City Paper Music Editor T. Ballard Lesemann says is like Disney's Haunted Mansion ride-meets-that trippy boat ride in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (And, no, we don't suggest you engage in any illegal activity beforehand to enhance the psychedelic thrills.)

If you're a roller coaster groupie, check out Led Zeppelin: The Ride. (Remember kids: Keep your hands and arms in the ride at all times. It's not just against the rules, it's for your own safety.) And take it from us, this one generates a whole lotta screaming. The Eagles: Life in the Fast Lane, on the other hand, is a medium-sized, kid-friendly coaster. That said, there's no guaranteeing you'll walk away from this one with a peaceful, easy feeling in your stomach.

Speaking of rug rats and High School Musical fans, the park includes a surprising number of rides for children under the age of 12.

Oh, and did we mention that not all the rocking will take place with safety bars over your shoulders? Nope. Hard Rock Park is also a music venue. Sister Hazel (July 4) and K.C. and the Sunshine Band (Aug. 30) are scheduled to play the park's amphitheater.

For those interested parties who purchased a ticket to either one of these shows and who cannot attend, keep it mind that it's against the law to resell a ticket for more than $1 above the original price. —Gervase Caycedo

Park Places: Other amusement parks just a road trip away

$19.99/children 3 and up; $45.99/adult; $39.99/advance online purchase adult
10 a.m.-8 p.m. (Sun.-Thurs.); 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (Fri.-Sat, until Aug 2)
(800) 888-4386

Family Kingdom
Myrtle Beach
4 p.m.-12 a.m. (Sun.-Fri.); 1 p.m.-12 a.m. (Sat)
(843) 626-3447

Pavilion Nostalgia Park: Broadway at the Beach
Myrtle Beach
Tickets $3; 9 tickets $20
11 a.m.-11 p.m.
(843) 913-9400

Six Flags over Georgia
Austell, Ga.
(770) 948-9290
10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
$39.99; $29.99/advance online

Summer Guide 2008


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