Each summer, Sacramento becomes home to a giant dragon, slumbering deep in its lair. Anyone who steps inside vanishes from sight, and plummets through five stories of total darkness before reaching the mist-filled depths of a splash pool.
That wet, wild warren?known as the Den of the Dragon?is just one of more than 25 water attractions that sprawl across Raging Waters' grounds. The best way to survey all the options: drop a tube into Calypso Cooler, a lazy river that winds around the park's center in an 800-foot loop. From here, families can scope the landscape and plan out an exciting itinerary. For example:
Start at the Den of the Dragon, then take a short walk to the Honolulu Half Pipe and attempt a few skateboarding tricks using an inner tube.
Head to the other side of the park for high-speed slides such as the Cliffhanger, where two riders can race side-by-side.
Explore the five-story Treehouse Reef?which surrounds younger kids in water slides and secret tubes?and submerge yourself in a 540,000-gallon wave pool that simulates the way the ocean swells whenever a whale tries to fly.
Some additional tips for first-time visitors: come before 1 p.m. for shorter lines; be sure to stop for a burger and fries at Coral Cove; and play a couple of games at the on-site volleyball court.