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Make no mistake: you're in the Lone Star State when you're on the Texas Twister.

The newest and most advanced water park in the country opened over Memorial Day weekend, just in time for another hot, humid Houston summer.

Typhoon Texas is set on 25 acres with 30 waterslides, a lazy river the length of five football fields, a Texas-sized wave pool and a children’s water playscape standing four stories tall. This makes it one of the largest water parks in the state—though, at 80 acres, Wet'n'Wild SplashTown in Spring is still the area's largest. Still, you can expect Houstonians from across the city's west side—the fastest-growing portion of the region—to pack those 25 acres daily this summer.

As a “Katyite,” I can tell you this is the one of the most anticipated events in recent memory, as there’s not much to do outside on a sweltering summer day in Katy. Even your standard swimming pool can get boring for the kiddos during the long dog days, so you can imagine our excitement to finally have a water park in the area.

Over opening weekend, I took my kids along with some friends' children—which ended up representing every age group from pre-school to high school—to give me an honest rating of all the new Typhoon Texas features.

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The Gunslinger is for the extreme thrill-seeker.

The big kids’ favorite rides included the “Texas Twister,” in which a group of up to six people pile into a large round raft for a thrilling ride culminating in a heart-stopping drop that sweeps you up onto a curved wall, then back down again. The chicken in me didn’t want to try it out at first, but seeing the ecstatic expressions on everyone’s faces coming off the ride meant I had to give it a try. The Twister, it turns out, was like running a marathon; when finished, your heart is beating so fast that it should qualify as your cardio workout for the week.

Another big-kid fave was the eight-lane Lone Star Racer, where you lay stomach-down on a mat, jump into a tube slide that twists and curves then opens just before a waterfall-type drop, and slide across a finish line. I was not prepared for the large drop, which literally took my breath away; I couldn’t even scream!

If you really want to be a thrill-seeker, ride the Gunslinger like my husband, who was the only one in our group brave enough to try it. You step into a capsule-like tube, the door closes, and you hear a countdown. After a quick “3-2-1,” the floor opens up and you go flying down a 7-story free fall. It was the thrill ride of my husband’s life so far, but he also admitted it also gave him the biggest wedgie of his life too.

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The Lone Star Racer is a face-first race to the finish.

The park also boasts a high-tech ride that mixes gaming with a water slide, in which you can earn points and track your progress on your cellphone. Most of the faster rides have a weight and height limit, so check the “you must be this tall” sign at the start of every line. And if your little ones are simply too little for now, they can always enjoy the Gully Washer play zone with 100 spray areas, eight platforms, seven slides, elevated walkways and rope bridges. Our little ones loved the spray park, the wave pool and the smaller, slower waterslides the best.  

Then when it was time to take a break, we enjoyed food from several restaurants on the property where everything from pizza to burgers, chicken teriyaki sandwiches to barbecue are all cooked right there from scratch. Other features that will make your day there more enjoyable: rentable private cabanas, free life jackets in three sizes, rentable storage lockers, a private picnic area for large groups or birthday parties, and a very accommodating staff.

Located next door to Katy Mills Mall at 555 Katy Fort Bend Rd., operating hours this summer are daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Labor Day. For prices on day and season passes, including military and senior citizen discounts, find additional information online at TyphoonTexas.com.

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