By Kellilynn Hann

Summer. It’s all about getting outside, having fun, and making memories with the people you love. However, it’s often challenging to find an activity that parents, teens, and young kids can all enjoy together. The perfect solution? Take the family to one of Florida’s inflatable water parks.

Inflatable toys and swimming pools have been around since the mid-1940s; bouncy houses and inflatable water slides were popularized in the 1960s. Even so, it wasn’t until 2000 that German company Aqua Toys (now Wibit) had the idea to connect multiple inflatable obstacles and games to form a floating playground.

Essentially, it’s all the fun of a backyard Slip ‘N Slide -- on steroids.

 The Cyclone Wheel at Tigertail Lake Recreational Center in Dania Beach brings to mind a giant hamster wheel for people.

Tigertail Lake Recreational Center in Dania Beach, Florida, recently added an Aquaglide water obstacle course to its offerings. Encompassing 8,000 square feet, it features eight “stations” with different challenges. The stations are interconnected by floating walkways that let you glide, balance, or bounce your way to the next feature, in any order you please.

There’s Freefall Supreme, a water slide that’s 16 feet tall, Cyclone Wheel (think giant hamster wheel), the Thunderdome climbing mountain, the Catapult trapeze swing from which you can launch yourself into the water, Supertramp water trampoline, Kaos bouncing dome, Foxtrot balance beam, and the Blast Bag, (affectionately referred to as “The Blob”), which will hurl you in the air for a dramatic splashdown into the lake.

“The Blob is the best,” said college student Justin Degen. “One person [jumps] down, the other person [goes] up, flying in the air, twists, turns… it’s probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done.”

The course is a lot of fun for adults, too. Jose Sierra, Coordinator at Tigertail Lake Recreational Center, recalled the day they installed the course. “We thought it was going to be for kids,” he said. “We inflated it, put it together, and we just had a blast on it. We knew, hands down, this was going to be a winner.”

Participants have one hour on the course, which includes a quick safety briefing. Safety is definitely a priority with the center. The maximum lifeguard to guest ratio is15:1, and all guests must wear a provided life vest.

What about alligators? Even though Florida’s alligators are shy and generally avoid people, Tigertail doesn’t leave anything to chance. The manmade lake is fenced and carefully managed to ensure everyone can relax and enjoy the course without worry.

“[The course] is a great way to have some fun,” said Natalie Justice, Manager of Tigertail Lake Recreational Center. “You can bounce around, get wet, cool off… it’s a really good workout, too.”

“I was surprised by how fun it was,” said teen Gavin Richards-Justice. “At first I didn’t want to put my phone down ‘cause I didn’t feel like it was going to be that fun. But once I did, I want to go on it every single day.”

While there’s no doubt everyone will have a blast and sleep well that night, probably the best thing about an inflatable water park is that it brings a family closer. No phones, no television or video games, no distractions.

Imagine the fun of challenging your teen to a climbing contest. Sliding your little ones across a slippery, floating mat. Playing “King of the Hill” with your spouse. Everyone laughing, bonding, and being present in the moment.

It's summertime at its absolute best.

Family fun bonus: Don’t miss out on the other family activities Tigertail Lake Recreational Center has to offer. In addition to renting sailboats, paddleboards, windsurfing equipment, canoes and kayaks, they have an Aerial Challenge Obstacle and all-inclusive weekend Adventure Trips where staff takes you and your family to local hot spots for camping or water sports.

Inflatable Water Parks Across Florida



Adventure Cove Water Park, Portofino Island Resort, Pensacola Beach

Adventure Cove is in the warm, clear, calm water of Santa Rosa Sound. The course has slides, trampolines, climbing obstacles and much more. Open from March to October to resort guests only.

Crab Island Adventure Tour, Destin

Offered by Crab Island Company, this package gets you a beautiful boat ride through Destin Harbor to the waters off Gulf Islands National Seashore. The inflatable course is for tour guests only, so you’ll avoid crowds and maximize the fun.

Navarre Family Watersports, Navarre

Sitting in the emerald green waters of Santa Rosa Sound, Navarre Family Watersports caters to entire families with no minimum age limit. The obstacles vary from large to small, so everyone will find activities to suit their abilities.

 Tigertail Lake Recreational Center in Dania Beach has an inflatable course that's fun for the whole family.



Nona Adventure Park, Orlando

Located in Orlando’s upscale Lake Nona neighborhood, Nona Adventure Park has large inflatables teens and adults will find challenging and smaller features for little ones. The complex also has a wake park and 60-foot climbing tower. There is no minimum age, but all participants must be able to swim. You can play for an hour, or all day.

Orlando Watersports Complex, Orlando

The inflatable water course here is absolutely massive; it covers 10,000 square feet and has 40 ways to climb, hop, splash and slide. There are obstacles at three levels of difficulty. Children must be at least six years old and the minimum height is 43 inches. They offer passes for one, two, and four hours or an unlimited day pass.

Lift Adventure Park, Hudson

An hour north of Tampa, Lift Adventure Park has duplicates of the most popular features so you have faster access to your favorites. Participants must be at least 7 years old; minimum height is 45 inches.

Clearwater Beach Waterslide, Clearwater Beach

While it’s not technically a water park, the Clearwater Beach Waterslide is the largest inflatable water slide in the world. Called “The Hippo,” this slide sits on the beach near the famous Pier 60. There are other inflatables on site for even more fun. Open every day in good weather.

Tradewinds Island Grand Inflatable Water Park, St. Pete Beach

Known for warm, clear water and top-rated beaches, St. Pete Beach is a perfect place for an inflatable water park. This 15,000 square foot park has two slides, a seven-foot-high climbing mountain, and loungers right in the water where you can kick back and cool off. Open to resort guests only.

 Take the family to one of Florida’s inflatable water parks for fun everyone can enjoy



Shark Park 561, West Palm Beach

Climbing towers, monkey bars, trampolines and slides… Shark Park 561 has enough to keep everyone happy. Children must be at least 7 years old and the minimum height is 45 inches. Because the water is 10-15 feet deep around the course, it’s essential that all participants know how to swim. Unlimited play passes available.

Miami Watersports Complex, Miami

With three skill levels and 40 different obstacles, there is zero chance you or your kids will be bored. Minimum age is six years old; minimum height is 43 inches. Play for one, two, or four hours, or opt for the all-day unlimited play pass.

Places to Remember