Hey, This Holiday Inn Has a Water Park! Reviews of the Venetian in Minnesota and the Captain’s Lagoon in Nebraska

Cabin fever.  You know when it sets in.  The kids have a day or two off of school and everyone is stuck inside, or it’s summer and your time for some family fun is long overdue.  That’s when it’s time to head to the water, and fast!  Unfortunately for us, in the Midwest, we have to rule out the local beach during the spring, fall, and winter months.  We also need a quick cure for cabin fever, and jetting off to the ocean is a bit extreme.  Instead, I have one quick solution to the dreaded cabin fever, and it has to do with a Holiday Inn and an indoor water park.  What a combo, right?

There are Holiday Inn’s across the country that have indoor water parks, but most of them are in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, and Nebraska.  On a side note, do you pass through any of these states, during your long summer road trips?  Maybe surprise the kids with a night at a water park at the good ol’ Holiday Inn.  Here is the complete list of the water parks, and a brief description with photo.  You’ll notice that each of the water parks is different, and some are bigger and newer than others, but your kids will just see the slides and be ready for some fun.

Captain’s Lagoon – The Indoor Water Park at the Holiday Inn in Kearney, Nebraska

We’ve stayed at two of the Holiday Inn hotels with water parks, and they couldn’t have been more different.  The first water park we visited was Captain’s Lagoon in Kearney, Nebraska.  Our visit was during one of our road trips to Colorado, and after 9 hours in the car, the kids needed this break.  This is one of the smaller parks, but it is still great for the kids.  There is a small play area for the littlest kids and a couple of slides and pool for the bigger kids.  Since the pool area was small, the slides are only open for 15 minutes and then close for 15 minutes.  Once the slides were closed, guests were able to enjoy swimming in the whole pool and not be concerned about the sliders splashing in.  There are lifeguards on duty, and they constantly had their eyes on the water.

Holiday Inn indoor water park kearney nebraska

The toddler area at Captain Lagoon’s. Photo credit: Holiday Inn Kearney, NE

The lodging at the Holiday Inn in Kearney was typical of a Holiday Inn.  The rooms were clean, nicely decorated, and just fine for a short stay.  The location is convenient to the interstate and area restaurants.  Of course, kids eat free at Holiday Inn’s with a paid adult, but I really wish that Holiday Inn would just start serving a complimentary breakfast for everyone!  It doesn’t have to be much, just a few of those warm cinnamon rolls that the Holiday Inn Expresses are known for would be fine.

Venetian – The Indoor Water Park at the Holiday Inn in Maple Grove, Minnesota

My kids recently had a random day off of school in early November, and I knew we needed to go somewhere!  After searching for ideas in the Twin Cities area, I came across the Venetian Water Park at the Holiday Inn in Maple Grove.  Perfect!  This hotel is located in the middle of the prime shopping and restaurant district of Maple Grove, and the kids thought the water park looked super fun.  And fun it was!

Just before you arrive at the Holiday Inn in Maple Grove, you can see the waterslides twisting around outside of the building and they just scream fun!  But first things first, we had to check out our room and the bunk beds!  This Holiday Inn offers standard and deluxe rooms, suites, and kids suites.  I know you’re probably thinking that the suites are big bucks and out of the question, but they aren’t!  The suites and kids suites are only $15 more than the cost of a standard room.  Totally worth it!

Kids suite at Holiday Inn Maple Grove

Kids love bunk beds! Unfortunately there’s usually an argument about who gets the top bunk…

The kids suite has a separate “room” for the kids with bunk beds and a tv.  You can also rent video games from the front desk.  The kids area does not have a door, so don’t expect to not hear them talking about the super fun time they had on the slides and how awesome the bunk beds are.  The suite includes a king size bed, desk, a second tv, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, table, chairs and a standard bathroom.  The kids suite is a very comfortable room.

King size bed Holiday Inn

The comfortable king size bed in the kids suite.

kids suite at Holiday Inn

A space for homework anyone? Ha!

Enough about the cool room, and now here are the details on the Venetian Water Park.  This water park is only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but the pools are always open.  The water park is only open to hotel guests and everyone must wear a wristband inside the park.  Up to five wristbands are included with your room.

We went to the pool area about 30 minutes before the water park opened, and had the whole place to ourselves.  And once the water slides opened, it still wasn’t very busy until much later in the evening.  We also spent Saturday morning at the water park, and it wasn’t too crowded at that time either.

venetian water park at holiday inn

Ahh, swimming in Venice.

The Venetian has two water slides that are four stories high, a toddler play area with smaller slides, a hot tub for adults, basketball hoops, and lily pads to jump across.  The water park is set in the middle of an Italian village, and there are plenty of table and chairs for seating.  The lifeguards are everywhere and the park is kept very clean.  Life vests are also available and they had various sizes to choose from.  The best part is that the water was warm, especially in the toddler area.

Toddler area holiday inn indoor water park

What a fun area for the little kids! Warm water too!

The only bad part of this water park is the basketball hoops.  There were about 10 balls floating in the pool for shooting hoops, but the hoops are located in the middle of the big swimming pool.  If people are shooting baskets, everyone else is constantly dodging balls.  That’s the only complaint.

The water depth in the pools varies, with the slides ending in 3′ – 3’6″ of water.  The pool area with the basketball hoops had a water depth ranging from 3’3″ to 4′, and the water by the lily pads is 4’6″.

indoor water park at holiday inn

How many times will your kids cross the lily pads?

How to Make Your Stay Even Better

I have two tips to add that may make your stay that much better.  First, if you are checking out on Saturday or Sunday, your water park pass ends at 11:00.  I asked for a later check out so we could stay in the water park right up to 11:00, and then go back to the room to change.  Initially I was told that a later check out wasn’t available because the hotel was full, but when I returned from my coffee run to Caribou Coffee, the receptionist waved me over and said we could check out at 11:30.  Yes, better than nothing!  It pays to be (Minnesota) nice!

The second tip will work if you have the Visa credit card that is offered by IHG.  IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) is the parent of Holiday Inn hotels, and this credit card comes with one free night at any IHG hotel each year.  I used my annual free night credit for our stay at the Venetian Water Park in Maple Grove, and certainly got my moneys worth out of the $49 annual fee of the credit card.

You can see, that we had two very different experiences at the Holiday Inn water parks.  The bigger and newer parks are definitely better, but sometimes the kids don’t care about that and just want to play in the pool…any pool.  A stay at any of the water parks is the perfect cure for cabin fever, and that’s really what you wanted right?

Does your family need a short getaway or a fun hotel to stay at during a long roadtrip? That Holiday Inn up the road may just have a water park!

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