Top 9 Amusement Parks in South Dakota
South Dakota is a popular destination for the RVing crowd. Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, and the other attractions of the Black Hills are what tend to draw visitors. That said, these are far from the only things to see in the state. In fact, some of our favorite attractions are the many South Dakota amusement parks.
That’s right, there are several great amusement parks in South Dakota! From traditional amusement parks to super fun water parks, there are so many different theme parks options in the state, you’re sure to find at least one or two that suit your fancy.
South Dakota Amusement Parks
Not sure how to begin planning your trip to see South Dakota amusement parks? We get it, planning an adventure to a new place can be overwhelming. Lucky for you, we’re here to help.
Below we’ve compiled a list of our favorite amusement parks in South Dakota. Choose one (or pick a few) of the options below and get ready for a super awesome adventure that you won’t soon forget:
- WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort
- Wild Water West
- Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center
- Rush Mountain Adventure Park
- Aberdeen Aquatic Center
- Huether Family Aquatics Center
- Storybook Island
- Splash Zone Waterpark
- Thunder Road Family Fun Park
Obviously, you will need more than just a list of names to plan a great vacation to South Dakota’s amusement parks. Keep reading to learn all the little details you need to know in order to ensure you have a fantastic time.
WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort
First on our list is WaTiki Waterpark Resort in Rapid City. This awesome water park is totally indoors, meaning it can be enjoyed year-round, even when the weather doesn’t feel like cooperating. At 30,000 square feet in size, it is the largest indoor water park in either of the Dakotas, and it’s jam-packed with great stuff to do.
Attractions include an exciting activity pool where kids and adults can play together, as well as three fantastic water slides. There is a lazy river available for those who prefer to float and relax, and the hot tub provides a completely different relaxation experience.
Lastly, young children will love Koko’s Kingdom, where they can splash and play with a variety of interactive water features that are sure to keep them entertained for quite some time.
RV Camping Near WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort
The WaTiki Resort property actually includes five different hotels. This might lead many to believe it would be best to stay in one of the onsite rooms. While we understand this thinking, we have to disagree. The best way to see Rapid City is definitely by RV.
Rapid City/Black Hills KOA Holiday — We always love KOA campgrounds, and the location in Rapid City is no exception. This wonderful park features full-hookup sites (some with patios), a pool, a dog park, a playground, organized activities, and more. Best of all, the park is just minutes away from all of the wonderful things to do in and around Rapid City.
Planning Your Trip to WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort
The cost of day passes to WaTiki Waterpark varies based on the day you plan to visit. That said, guests can expect to spend around $20 per person. Spectator passes are available at a reduced cost, so if you don’t plan to swim and slide, you won’t have to pay full price.
Locker rentals are available and resort-themed towels are available for purchase. There are also plenty of food and drink options onsite, including a Starbucks and a bar & grill.
Wild Water West
Another wonderful South Dakota water park, Wild Water West is located in Sioux Falls. This fantastic park is all outdoors, meaning you will need to enjoy it during the summer months, but if you do happen to be visiting when it’s warm out, it is definitely worth adding to your itinerary.
This park may not be the biggest out there, but there is no lack of things to do during your visit. Families love to hop waves in the wave pool, play in the activity pool, and float the lazy river together. Meanwhile, babies and toddlers can play in the super shallow baby pool (complete with slides), and slightly older kiddos can climb and slide on the Caribbean Falls water play structure.
Of course, we can’t forget to mention the huge Tornado Alley funnel slide that is perfect for thrill seekers. Another fun one for those who enjoy an adrenaline rush? The 65-foot water slide complex, which features four winding slides in addition to the aforementioned Tornado Alley.
The water park is the main attraction here, but water fun isn’t the only fun to be had. Other attractions on property include go-karts, bumper boats, batting cages, and mini golf.
RV Camping Near Wild Water West
We will always recommend taking an RV on any getaway, and your trip to Sioux Falls is no exception. After all, why wouldn’t you want to wrap a bit of camping fun into your South Dakota water park adventure? That sounds like the perfect way to make the vacation even more exciting!
W.H. Lyon Fairground — One of our favorite places to stay when visiting Sioux Falls, W.H. Lyon Fairground is a great place to call home for a bit. At just $25 a night on average, this place is extremely affordable. Sites offer full hookups and the staff is always friendly and helpful.
Planning Your Trip to Wild Water West
Admission to Wild Water West is $30 for those 48 inches and taller, $18 for those under 48 inches (as well as seniors), and free for anyone under 2 years old. Evening tickets can be purchased for just $11–$18 and entitle the holder to waterpark fun from 4pm–8pm.
Outside food and drink is not allowed in the park, but there are places to purchase snacks. Parking is free and rental lockers are available.
Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center Waterpark
Yet another awesome place to play in the water, Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center Waterpark is run by the city of Spearfish and is a favorite spot of locals and visitors alike. The park is a full two acres of swimming pools, water slides, and fun, and we can’t imagine being bored while visiting.
Some favorite attractions in Spearfish Rec & Aquatic Center Waterpark include the three huge water slides that are perfect for older kids and even adults looking for a thrill. We also appreciate the adventure walk and the rock climbing wall, both features that add a bit of challenge and adventure to the day.
There is a 260-foot lazy river for those who enjoy a good float, and the zero-entry kiddie pool with splash pad is tons of fun for the little ones. Just make sure you watch out for the enormous 400-gallon dump bucket that is sure to drench anyone standing nearby!
RV Camping Near Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center Waterpark
RV camping is a fun addition to any trip. It gives you your own space to spread out, and it makes moving easy. For this reason, we highly recommend packing up the RV and taking it with you on your South Dakota trip. You won’t regret it!
Spearfish City Campground — Wondering where to park the RV while in Spearfish? Spearfish City Campground is our top pick. This small campground is super affordable and offers full-hookup sites. There are plenty of shade trees, a pretty creek that runs through the park, and a nice bike path for those who might enjoy a bike ride.
Planning Your Trip to Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center Waterpark
The fee to enter Spearfish Rec & Aquatics Center Waterpark is $12 for anyone over 48 inches tall. Younger visitors under the 48-inch mark enter for just $10, and spectators pay only $5. Swimmers ages 3 and under can enter the park for free with a paying adult. There is also an evening pass that allows entry from 5pm to close for only $5.
Food and drink are available for purchase at the park, so be sure to bring a little extra to buy yourself a treat!
Rush Mountain Adventure Park
Looking for a unique amusement park in South Dakota? Look no further than Rush Mountain Adventure Park. This is a fantastic family fun option located in the Black Hills, making it a great addition to any trip to the area.
Attractions at Rush Mountain Adventure Park include the gorgeous Rushmore Cave, a super fun challenge course that includes tightropes and zip-lines, along with the thrilling Soaring Eagle Zipride.
Thrill seekers will also love the Rushmore Mountain Coaster, a gravity-propelled coaster that sends you zipping downhill at speeds up to 35 MPH. Meanwhile, the Gunslinger 7-D Ride is the ultimate immersive video game experience that the whole family will want to try!
RV Camping Near Rush Mountain Adventure Park
You could park your RV in the aforementioned KOA park in Rapid City. That said, if you don’t love that option, there are plenty of other RV parks and campgrounds in the area. The one listed below is another one we approve of.
Lake Park Campground — We love the location of this park, as it is close to everything. Sites include full hookups and Wi-Fi, and a laundry room is available. As the name suggests, the park is home to a small lake where guests are welcome to do some catch-and-release fishing. This is also a fantastic place for bird watching!
Planning Your Trip to Rush Mountain Adventure Park
Visitors to Rush Mountain Adventure Park can choose to buy tickets for individual attractions or ride wristbands. The wristbands include unlimited access to all rides for a single day and cost $63 for adults, $58 for kids, and $33 for young children. Want to add a cave tour to your wristband? You can do so for just $7 more!
Worried about getting hungry during your visit? Don’t be! Sparky’s Snackatorium is the perfect place to grab a bite, and the theming makes it a fun place to spend time as well.
Aberdeen Aquatic Center
Another city-run waterpark, the Aberdeen Aquatic Center is located in—you guessed it—the town of Aberdeen. It’s not the biggest waterpark out there, but it is clean, well kept, and offers tons to do, making it an excellent way to keep cool on a hot summer day.
Features of this park include an enclosed water slide as well as a winding open-flume slide. There is also a tube slide to add to the fun. The lazy river is a favorite of people of all ages, the floating play features and water play structure are fun for kids, and the lap pool and diving boards are perfect for those wanting to polish their skills or get in some exercise.
RV Camping Near Aberdeen Aquatic Center
Wondering where to stay during your visit to Aberdeen? Bring an RV and you’ll have plenty of campsites to choose from. One of our absolute favorites is listed below.
Melgaard Park Campground — A city-run campground, Melgaard Park Campground is small but has everything you need to be comfortable, and it’s super affordable to boot. Potable water and a dump station are in the park, and electric hookups are available for each site. There is a restroom with showers onsite, and because the campground is part of a city park, you will find sports courts, a playground, a skate park, and more right outside your door.
Planning Your Trip to Aberdeen Aquatic Center
The Aberdeen Aquatic Center is open during the summer months only. Admission is free for those under 2 years of age, $6 for ages 2–17, and $8 for visitors aged 18 and up. Seniors pay only $7.
Concessions are available onsite, so no need to worry about getting hungry during your time there.
Huether Family Aquatics Center
Located in Yankton, the Huether Family Aquatics Center is a lovely place to escape with the family for some splashing fun. There is something for everyone in this lovely new park, and we’re guessing every member of your family will leave with a smile on their face.
One of the most popular features of this park is the lazy river. Not only does this offer 340 feet of floating fun, it also features a spray channel and a vortex pool.
Thrill seekers will want to visit the park’s slides. There is a tube slide that can be ridden solo or with a buddy. Meanwhile, the fast-moving body slide is an adrenaline rush that many will love.
Other park attractions include the adventure pool with basketball hoops, the rock climbing wall, the super challenging wiggle bridge, diving boards, a spray zone for young kids, and a family pool with a water play structure.
RV Camping Near Huether Family Aquatics Center
Once again, you will want to load up an RV for this trip. Yankton is home to many great RV campgrounds, and you won’t want to miss out on the camping fun that these parks have to offer. Besides, what better way to end a day at the waterpark than roasting marshmallows around a campfire?
Yankton/Missouri River KOA Journey — We said before that we love KOA parks, and we stand by that statement. In fact, our favorite place to stay near Yankton is the Yankton/Missouri River KOA Journey. This park has full hookups, a dog park, an awesome playground, and a whole lot more! Of course, the friendly staff are also pretty fantastic.
Planning Your Trip to Huether Family Aquatics Center
The Huether Family Aquatics center is open daily through the summer. That said, open swim is not always available, so be sure to check the schedule before you go.
The cost to visit the park is $10 for guests ages 4 and up. Those under the age of 4 enter for free with a paying adult.
Concessions are available onsite, so be sure to budget for a yummy treat or snack!
Road tripping with little ones? Storybook Island is an ideal stop for you! This 8.5-acre park is located in Rapid City. It features all kinds of storybook fun and really immerses you in the world of fairytales and nursery rhymes.
The main attraction at this park? The 100+ fairytale and nursery rhyme scenes. These include a giant Humpty Dumpty falling from the wall, a life-size Rapunzel braid hanging from a tower, and more. They are tons of fun to spot, provide great photo opportunities, and some even provide opportunities for children to pay within the setting.
In addition to the many magical scenes, guests can also see live theater productions, hop on a storybook train, and ride a beautiful carousel.
RV Camping Near Storybook Island
As Storybook Island is located in Rapid City, it would be just fine to stay in either of the aforementioned Rapid City Campgrounds. However, if those won’t work for any reason, you do have other options. Take the RV park listed below for instance.
Southern Hills RV Park and Campground — An excellent choice for those looking for an affordable option right outside of Rapid City, Southern Hills RV Park and Campground offers full-hookup gravel sites, clean bathrooms with showers, a laundry room, and plenty of greenery. It isn’t fancy, but it is clearly well cared for and has everything you need.
Planning Your Trip to Storybook Island
Admission to Storybook Island is surprisingly 100% free. There is a suggested donation of $1 per person and a small $3 fee to ride the train or carousel, and we find these are both well worth the cost.
Outside food and drinks are not allowed in the park, but since you won’t be paying for admission, you might as well spend a bit on concessions while you’re there!
Keep in mind, this park is only open during the summer months.
Splash Zone Waterpark
Yes, we are adding another waterpark to this list. Trust us, Splash Zone Waterpark deserves its place here. Located in Brookings, this is an indoor waterpark and is the perfect way to spend the day no matter the weather.
The park features a zero-depth pool with a super fun kids play area that the little ones won’t be able to get enough of. Water slides keep the thrill seekers busy and the spray cannons are the perfect addition to any water war. Of course, the dump bucket adds another level of splashing fun.
Want a place to relax? Head to the lazy river for a nice float or spend some time unwinding in the huge hot tub.
RV Camping Near Splash Zone Waterpark
Splash Zone Waterpark is located in a hotel. Nevertheless, we highly recommend skipping the hotel room, buying day passes, and staying in your RV instead. The campground below is one great place to park a motorhome or trailer.
Big Sioux Recreation Area — Big Sioux Recreation Area is an absolutely beautiful place to camp. There is a river in the park and plenty of trees throughout. There are also plenty of hiking trails in the park.
Sites are very affordable and include electric hookups. Potable water and a dump station are both available, as is a restroom with showers.
Planning Your Trip to Splash Zone Waterpark
Day passes to Splash Zone Waterpark are $8.50 for adults, $5 for kids aged 14 and under, and free for anyone aged 3 and under. Planning to stay out of the water? The spectator fee is only $2 per person.
There is a full concession stand in the waterpark. Additionally, there is a restaurant in the resort.
Thunder Road Family Fun Park
Last on our list is Thunder Road Family Fun Park. This amusement park has locations in multiple places—including Sioux Falls, SD—and is the perfect place for families to enjoy time together.
This Thunder Road location features both indoor and outdoor attractions, meaning you can play here all year round. The indoor attractions include an amazing 4D theater, a large arcade, axe throwing, Hyper Bowling, mini bowling, spinning bumper cars, and laser tag.
Want to spend time outside? Why not play a round of mini golf as a family? Go-karts are also available, and even slick track go-karts are an option. Other choices include batting cages, a tilt-a-whirl, a “Lazer Maze,” a “Euro Bungee,” and “Water Wars.”
RV Camping Near Thunder Road Family Fun Park
We mentioned one Sioux Falls campground already. However, that is far from the only option. If you aren’t a fan of the RV park listed above, try the one below instead,
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park of Sioux Falls — If you’ve never visited a Jellystone campground, it’s high time you did. These parks feature all kinds of fun family-friendly activities, and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park of Sioux Falls is no exception.
The park features a pool and spray park, a jumping pillow, mini golf, a playground, and more. The sites have full hookups, the bathrooms are clean, and the staff is always happy to help in any way they can.
Planning Your Trip to Thunder Road Family Fun Park
There is no fee to enter Thunder Road. That said, you will need to pay to experience the attractions here. Costs vary greatly depending on what you want to do, and you can choose to pay à la carte or buy a package deal to save some money.
Outside food is not allowed at this park. There is an onsite grill though, so if you happen to get hungry during your visit, you will be able to get your hands on some grub!
It’s obvious that there is no shortage of amusement parks in South Dakota, and we’re sure you’ll find the perfect park listed in this article. That said, if the ones listed here aren’t enough and you’re hoping to find even more options, you could always search for “amusement parks near me” after checking into your South Dakota campground.
Another option? Explore all of the other amazing things to do in South Dakota! The options listed at the beginning of the article are a great place to start, but you can find even more sights to add to your to-do list by having a peek at the articles linked below: