MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s hard to imagine a better way to cool off on a hot summer day than a trip to a water park.
This week in the Best of Minnesota, my fellow water wizard Chris Shaffer and Frank Vascellaro had the daunting task of trying out your choice for the best water park, Bunker Beach in Bunker Hills Regional Park in Coon Rapids.
Bunker Beach Water Park is nine acres of aquatic bliss with so many offerings, it could put a smile on almost anyone’s face. So when Frank and Chris arrived, it was hard to believe they were met with a dilemma: Are two middle-aged guys the right pair to test WCCO viewers’ choice for the best waterpark in Minnesota? No doubt!
So they got wet and tried not to scream like two little girls at a Justin Bieber concert.
“We’re the largest outdoor water park in Minnesota, at nine acres,” Anoka County Parks employee Tony Portesam said.
Inside that nine acres are eight different attractions, the most popular of which is, of course, the wave pool.
“When that buzzer goes off at the wave pool, that’s where everyone runs to,” Portesan said.
No surprise — it’s the largest wave pool in the state. But if it’s calmer waters you’re after, the adventure pool is your place.
“We have our adventure pool, which is great for small kids — zero depth entry,” Portesan said. “We have a waterwalk lily pad attraction for kids to test their skills.”
And there’s the rocky bay activity pool, where Frank and Chris proved that rock climbing was not their thing.
But they did save face playing hoops in the water where, as usual, Frank dominated the paint and Chris was on fire from three-point range.
After leaving it all on the court, it’s great to hit the lazy river with its 80-degree waters.
Feeling the need for speed — Frank and Chris saved the best for last.
“We have six water slides — four of them are tube slides and we have two body slides,” Portesan said.
The water park is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bunker Hills Regional Park has all kinds of amenities from camping to horseback riding, along with the water park. Folks regard it as a hidden gem just a stone’s throw from downtown.