After a day of exploring St. Louis with a trip to the top of the Gateway Arch or taking in a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium, the Mississippi River may look mighty inviting for a leisurely dip. The region surrounding the Gateway City is home to a handful of water parks, including indoor facilities that stay open year-round even after blankets of snow have covered the surrounding landscape.
Swimming Laps in the Lodge
The Lodge Des Peres is an enormous recreational center in Des Peres, 20 minutes west of St. Louis, outfitted with a massive gym, running tracks, tennis courts and outdoor sports fields. In addition to an outdoor pool and water park, the facility includes an indoor aquatic center with a whirlpool spa, wave pool and six-lane, 25-yard lap pool. Splashdown into the pool via a large waterslide that briefly travels outside the building and is equipped with lasers. There’s also a children’s pool with fountains, geysers and a shallow beach-style entry. A daily, monthly or annual fee is required for admission to the pool.
St. Peters Rec-Plex is based in St. Peters, 35 minutes northwest of St. Louis. Split into north and south buildings, the complex includes an ice rink, basketball and volleyball courts, and rooms for fitness classes and weight training. The Rec-Plex Natatorium is the venue’s indoor heated swimming pool with zero-depth entry, a 130-foot waterslide, geysers and lazy river. In the past, the facility’s 50-meter pool has hosted major diving competitions. Daily passes are available to the public.
Timber Falls Indoor Waterpark is located inside the sprawling Tar-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, two hours and 40 minutes southwest of St. Louis. Built around a three-story tree house, the park includes a "sprayground" with a 600-gallon tip bucket, basketball courts and water cannons. Relax in the 21-person whirlpool tub, float down the lazy river or enjoy an adventure down 600 feet of waterslides. The park is open to the public but hotel guests receive discounted rates.
Grand Bear Falls Waterpark is a 24,000-square-foot indoor park set inside Grizzly Jack’s Grand Bear Resort. Plunge into the wave pool where you can swim under waterfalls and against small waves. Take a ride down the lazy river, slide down body and tube flumes, or just unwind in the hot tub area, which is restricted to guests 16 and older. Little ones can play in the tot pool or ranger station, the latter of which includes rope courses, mini-slides and fountains. The park is free to hotel guests and day passes only are available on select days. The resort is in Utica, Illinois, three hours north of St. Louis.