Before you pack the car and load up the family and head off to the nearest water park, you might want to think about building your own inflatable water park.
Thinking of a trip to Six Flags Great America’s water park? Daily tickets for a family of four will set you back $55 a person (or more) and $26 for parking. That’s before you pay for gas, food and any overnight lodging that may be required. And, that was with a $20 discount offer, per ticket, when we visited their website. Getting wet at Disney will set you back $65 per person over 10.
One of the resort hotel water parks offers single day passes for $35 (anyone over 42″), $28 for those under 42″ and children under 24 months can visit for free. Even if you just want to be a spectator and not get wet, that will cost you $15. Food, of course is extra. And, your family of four can expect daily room prices in the neighborhood of $159- $330.
That’s a lot of money for most families. And, if your children are young (and tall if you’re going to a place that charges by the inch), they might tire out before you truly get your money’s worth.
There’s a better idea. For about the same investment, you could have your own inflatable water park. Best of all, no long car rides and you can use your own water playground all summer long. Plus, you won’t be paying $5 for a hot dog.
Blast Zone Hydro Rush Inflatable Water Park
For about the same price as a day at the amusement park’s water park, you could have this super cool and fun water playground in your own back yard. These inflatable structures use the same technology as the inflatable Christmas yard decorations – no heavy breathing required. The Blast Zone Hydro Rush Inflatable Water Park is made of double and quadruple stitched, reinforced polyester oxford and commercial-grade vinyl. Blast Zone is known for making quality products and this one appears to be no exception.
This inflatable backyard water park comes with everything you need to start the fun within minutes. It even has a water canon! The included blower inflates the entire play structure in around 2 minutes. Up to five family members can enjoy the fun at the same time. Blast Zone recommends limiting one family member on the slide, one climbing and three in the splash pool. They recommend swimmers be no more than 100 pounds. However, several families have mentioned that light use by adults didn’t seem to cause problems with their inflatable water park.
We love the design of the pool where the slide and climbing structure can be accessed without having to step out of the pool onto the grass. A great idea for keeping the water clean and yard debris from possibly harming the vinyl.
Blast Zone Crocodile Isle Inflatable Water Park with Dual Slides
This blow up water slide might set you back the equivalent of 2-3 days at a commercial water park, but, it looks well worth it for larger families and folks with a fairly large outdoor play area. This one doesn’t have a water canon, but, it does have two 108 inch-long slides. Even with the larger size splash pool and bigger play structure this one also completely inflates within 2-3 minutes using the included fan. The suggested weight limit per child is 100 pounds.
A number of families have happily reported using the Blast Zone Crocodile Isle Inflatable Water Park for several summers. Several mentioned having as many as 10 children playing together. Another reported it stood up to all the abuse a group of sugar-filled birthday party attendees could dish out.
Pool Side Water Slide
Already have a pool but want to amp up the fun? You could invest $900 or more for a traditional slide. Or, you can check out the Intex Water Slide. This blow-up water slide stands at the edge of your in-ground or above-ground pool to create a super fun water slide. For about the price of 2 waterpark day passes, or for 1/10th of the more pricey slides, you could have this super cool inflatable water slide. This inflatable does not come with an air pump. However, there are electric pumps available for less than $15.
This slide can also be hooked up to the hose to provide a continuous stream of water down the slide. But, some families mentioned they had just as much fun just splashing some water from the pool onto the sliding surface. That sounds like a great water-saving option as well.
Based upon the reviews we’ve seen for this product, we would strongly recommend you do not place it directly on a concrete or tiled surface. A tarp placed underneath the slide would be a smart precaution to help extend the life of the inflatable slide.
This might be a better option for families with older children since the manufacturer’s suggested weight limit is 176 pounds.
What Makes These Inflatable Water Park Toys So Cool
These inflatable backyard water park toys are cool for several reasons. Clearly, they offer a more affordable option than a trip to the nearest amusement park water park. Families can enjoy these inflatable water parks on their own schedule and don’t have to worry about finding doggy day care. Even better, check out this super cool version for the family pet.
All of the toys come with storage bags and families report that they are actually able to fold up the toys and get them to fit in the bag. One family had the super cool idea of storing their inflatable water park in a plastic storage tub with wheels – made it far easier to transport around the yard too.
The Blast Zone toys come with patch kits and tie-down equipment. Their products provide hours of safe play and ensure the fun only ends when your kids wear out or the sun sets – whichever comes first.
There’s a great selection of these backyard inflatables available on Amazon. Blast Zone is just one of many manufacturers offering cool outdoor toys for getting wet. There are toddler-sized options for under $50 all the way up to commercial-grade options for thousands of dollars. There are a lot of great choices in the $300-600 price range that offer various climbing structures, slide configurations and additional play stations.
What Makes These Toys Not As Cool As Going to the Waterpark
These toys do come with a bit of a hidden cost. The two Blast Zone water park toys do require a constant flow of air and water to operate. Some families reported they could operate the slides without a continuous flow of water but without the fan, the structure immediately beings to deflate. And, speaking of the fan, they do make some noise. We didn’t find any complaints about the noise, just a few families mentioned that it does make some. We watched several videos of the inflation process and a neighbor’s lawn mower was far louder than the air fan.
Drying the inflatable water parks can be tricky. If water is left on or in the play structure when the toy is stored, it is likely that mold and mildew may form. Many of the great reviews on Amazon provide suggestions on how to best dry off the inflatable water parks. The most common suggestion was completely deflating the toy and draining all of the water out. Then reinflating the backyard water park and letting it dry in the sun. The material is quite durable and families mentioned using mildew remover and bleach to clean any spots they found.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that some families reported their inflatable water parks springing leaks or failing to hold air. We found more complaints with the smaller, toddler sized pieces than with the larger ones. Based on our research, the toddler water parks are not made quite as strong. We also suspect that it’s far easier to over-inflate the toddler versions. Their lower sides make them more attractive to our non-human friends too. We found reports of dogs, chickens and even a llama enjoying a dip in the pool. Oddly enough, the family with the famous llama (he made the local news), reported it was the chickens and their sharp claws that eventually destroyed the bottom of the pool.
If the landscaper in your family is anything like my Dad, anything that messed with his grass was a bad thing. To keep the peace and your lawn looking nice and green, don’t leave your backyard water park in the same place for too long. If the worst happens, and the grass does discolor, a couple of rainy days and some sunshine should have it back to a beautiful green in no time. Also, there’s nothing that could rile up my Mom like tramping across her clean floors with muddy or grass-coated feet. Install a small washtub full of water by the door so yard debris and dirt can be washed off outside.
As always, be mindful of any regulations in your community before making a purchase of an outdoor play structure. If you live in an area that occasionally issues water restrictions during the summer, using your backyard inflatable water park might get you into a bit of hot water.