By Bethany Parker
It’s just 90 minutes away, and until just a few years ago it was the only real game in town (sort of) for waterslides, lazy rivers, wave pools and all things water-park related. Now that we have our own mini water parks in the form of both Sholem and Crystal Lake, driving to Springfield for a day at Knights Action Park doesn’t at first glance have the same appeal it might have back in the day, but hang on a minute.
Where else can you find go-karts, batting cages, a wave pool, lazy river, several large water play areas for the smaller set, miniature golf and a driving range, a Ferris wheel and some very serious waterslides? And where else can you find this all close enough that you can drive there, spend the day AND drive back all in one day? (And don’t forget, go to SCHEEL’S on the list.)
So we loaded up the van and away we went, sunscreen and towels in hand, quarters for the lockers and a cooler for lunch in the back of the van. This was our second visit to Knights Action Park and the kids couldn’t stop talking about the slides they wanted to visit first – the Royal Flush, which is basically a giant toilet bowl shaped slide, the Devil Ray (hold on to your lunch) and the Bermuda Triangle.
I did forget that we had to walk what I like to call The Gauntlet to get to the ticket booth – past the go-karts, golf, carnival rides of various forms, but we were only here for the waterpark on this day. There was almost no line at 11am on a Sunday and in we went.
The kids hit every slide once in turn before settling in at their favorite locations. We lunched at the picnic tables outside the pool & slides area (no coolers allowed in the waterpark itself) and headed back in for round 2. At the end of the day, we were all waterlogged, hungry (why do I never manage to pack enough food?) and really, really tired. Well worth the drive.
Once school starts in late August, they are only open on the weekends until the end of the season. So if you plan to go, do it soon!
If you go:
• Pack lunch, or bring cash for Willie’s Pizza, ice cream, hot dogs, etc. You can eat inside the park if you buy their food, or outside at any number of covered picnic tables. It’s a very short walk to the parking lot.
• Lockers to store your stuff take two quarters. Bring extras so you can get in and out of them as you need.
• Fear not spectators, there are lots of chairs and places to sit, especially at the wave pool.
• The waterpark is priced separately from the rest of the activities. You can “upgrade” your waterpark passes for $5 to get tickets to some of the other activities. The park also has special days like Mom’s Day, Dad’s Day, military rates, etc. Check their website for all those details.
• So much concrete. I remembered my flip flops this time, and my feet are glad I did. The kids didn’t care about this, but I did!
• This place has been around since 1930 when they were a point of attraction along Route 66. The history is really interesting. But the point here is that this place is old, and in some ways a bit dated. It’s not shiny and perfect and it’s true that some of the attractions could use a bit of improvement, but everything is safe and clean and the lifeguards pay attention.
See website for hours, rates, and specials. Hours change when the school year begins.
1700 Knights Recreation Dr