10 Oversized Water Toys That Are Worth the Splurge

RAVE Sports, Amazon
RAVE Sports, Amazon

Pool floaties are like perennials with air nozzles. Every year, when the weather warms, they emerge from their hibernation in garages and sheds to help us beat the heat in style, whether it's at the pool, the lake, or the beach. If you’re looking to add some new inflatables to your collection this summer, we've got you covered. From floating amusement parks to inflatable livestock, here are 10 oversized water toys you should splurge on.

1. Party Bird Island Flamingo; $172

Inflatable flamingo with people on it
Sun Pleasure, Amazon

Fun Fact: Real flamingos lose their pink coloration if they stop eating certain foods. Luckily, this 16-foot-by-9-foot balloon version doesn’t need shrimp, larvae, or plankton to stay pretty and pink. Coated in durable vinyl, the buoyant bird can support 1320 pounds while drifting majestically through the waves. The company also makes equally giant peacock and unicorn floats.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Giant Inflatable Pizza Slices; Starting at $21

Pizza pie inflatable with one person on each slice
Swimline, Amazon

Pizza is a pool party staple. Now you can set yourself adrift on a human-sized raft that’s shaped like a gigantic slice of it. The crust doubles as a headrest, and there are cup holders hidden among the—ahem, pineapple-free—toppings. By the way, individual “slices” can be linked together along the edges. Purchase eight rafts for roughly $117, and you’ll have enough to make a full-fledged pizza pie. Mama mia!

Buy it: Amazon or Walmart

3. PVC Water Walking Inflatable Zorb Ball; $163

A person rolls across the surface of a lake in a giant ball.
Preenex, Walmart

Zip across the neighborhood pond without even getting your feet wet. Simply inflate this spherical vessel, open the waterproof zipper, and climb inside. Then make like a hamster and roll over the water’s surface. The ball can bear up to 396 pounds—and there’s an 800-watt inflation device included.

Buy it: Walmart

4. Swimline Floating Inflatable Tiki Bar; $58

Inflatable swim up bar
VM Express, Walmart

Why go to the tiki bar when the tiki bar can come to you? Swimline’s blow-up taproom has a pair of ice storage bins and half a dozen drink holders to create your own watering hole in the water. Best of all, there’s a 90-by-90-inch canopy that’ll shade you and your buddies while you enjoy your drinks.

Buy it: Walmart

5. RAVE Sports Splash Zone (Plus 12-Foot Water Bouncer); $639

Bouncer in pool
RAVE Sports, Amazon

For just a few hundred dollars, you get a water slide, a balancing log, and a water bouncer (which, unlike a trampoline, doesn’t depend on springs. But don’t worry; you can still do plenty of neat flips on this thing!). Basically, it’s a portable, miniature water park—perfect for lakeside afternoons and family getaways.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Pirate Pong Inflatable Raft; $20

Beer pong inflatable raft
Pong, Amazon

Avast, ye land-lubbers! Feast yer eyes on this buccaneer-themed floating beer pong table. Measuring 6 feet long by 3 feet wide, the sizable inflatable game surface comes with a set of Jolly Roger ping pong balls, making it the perfect accessory for your next summer parrr-ty.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Aquaglide Malibu Island; $400

People sit on an Aquaglide Malibu Island
Aquaglide, Camping World

The Aguaglide Malibu Island, a massive floating lounge space, can seat up to 10 people at a time. The floor acts like a self-contained wade pool, so you can soak your legs without touching any sand, seaweed or aquatic critters. It includes 11 cupholders along with ample basking space for anyone who wants a good tan.

Buy it: Camping World

8. Inflex Inflat-A-Bull; $44

Inflatable bull
Intex, Amazon

Who’s up for a backyard rodeo? It’ll be tough to keep a straight face when the Inflat-A-Bull crashes your next pool party. Kids and adults alike will get a kick out of riding this thing ‘til the cows come home. Let loose a “Yee-Haw” and let the games begin.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Aquaglide Jungle Jim Water Play Station; $2100

Kids play on an Aquaglide Jungle Jim Water Play Station
Aquaglide, Overton’s

Inside and out, this pyramid is a treasure. The exterior walls are built for leaping, sliding, and climbing. Meanwhile, the hollow interior has recreation space aplenty—and there’s an opening at the pinnacle that you can climb right through. When fully inflated, the play station measures 6 feet, 9 inches tall.

Buy it: Overton’s

10. Aquaglide Summit Express; $10,000

Kids play on the Aquaglide Summit Express
Aquaglide, Overton’s

Does it come with monkey bars? Check. Climbing walls? Totally. An extra-wide water slide? You bet. Aguaglide’s Summit Express has everything your family could ask for (as you might expect from a $10,000 toy). With its strategically placed climbing steps, you don’t need to be Sir Edmund Hillary to reach the tippity-top, which stands 16 feet above the water’s surface.

Buy it: Overton’s

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Take a Virtual Tour of Space Mountain and Other Famous Disney World and Disneyland Rides

cholprapha/iStock via Getty Images
cholprapha/iStock via Getty Images

Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida closed in mid-March due to the COVID-19 crisis, and it's unclear when the parks will reopen. Spending time in a crowded place with thousands of strangers from around the world is the last thing you should want to do right now, but if you're craving some Disney magic at home, there's a way to experience the rides while social distancing.

As Travel + Leisure reports, most major rides at Disneyland and other Disney parks are available online as virtual tours. That includes classics like Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and It's a Small World, as well as newer rides like Frozen Ever After and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Even though the virtual ride-throughs aren't official Disney productions, many of them document the ride experience in impressively high quality. This recording of Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios in Orlando was filmed with a 360-degree camera.

You can also use YouTube to explore exclusive attractions at Disney parks outside the U.S. The video below shows a ride-through of Mystic Manor, Hong Kong Disneyland's version of The Haunted Mansion, in 4K resolution.

Transporting yourself to Disney for 10 minutes at a time is a great way to escape while you're quarantined at home. For more ways to combat boredom, check out these online classes and activities, as well as other virtual tours you can take from the comfort of your couch.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

11 Boredom-Busting Classes and Activities You Can Do at Home

A good workout is just one way to pass the time while socially isolating.
A good workout is just one way to pass the time while socially isolating.
jacoblund/iStock via Getty Images

Staying home as much as possible is the best way to stop the spread of novel coronavirus, according to health experts. If you’ve already taken this step to protect yourself and your community, you may be faced with a different problem: the crushing boredom that comes with spending all your time indoors. Fortunately, there have never been more ways to keep busy on the internet. In an effort to lift spirits and stimulate minds in isolation, businesses, artists, and institutions have found new ways to keep people connected from afar. From virtual field trips to free workout classes, here are the best boredom-busting activities to check out.

1. Take a free workout class with the YMCA.

Your local gym may be closed, but that doesn’t mean you have to postpone your workout routine for the foreseeable future. The YMCA has launched a new series of free, online fitness classes for people stuck at home. The on-demand videos include barre, bootcamp, yoga, tai chi, and weightlifting. After breaking a sweat for 30 minutes, you may even forget you’re not at the gym.

2. Meditate with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s jellyfish.

Taking care of your mental health is as important as maintaining your physical health while social distancing. If you want to start your day in a good head space, tune into the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s morning “MeditOceans” on YouTube. After closing to the public, the California aquarium started uploading 10- to 15-minute guided meditations set to soothing footage of marine life or scenes from nature. We recommend starting with their video of undulating jellyfish.

3. Take a virtual field trip to a National Park.

Combat claustrophobia by taking a virtual tour of some of the country’s most majestic national parks. The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks project from Google Arts & Culture offers virtual, 360-degree tours of five National Park System sites, all guided by real park rangers. The diverse destinations include the Kenai Fjords in Alaska; Hawai’i Volcanoes in Hawai’i; Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico; Bryce Canyon in Utah; and Dry Tortugas in Florida. You can view all the properties from your phone or computer, and if you have a virtual reality headset, you can transport yourself out of your home with an immersive experience.

4. Take an Improv Class from Second City.

Improv comedy is difficult to do alone. With Second City, you can take a class with other students and master instructors from the comfort of your home. Second City has helped launch the careers of such comedy heavyweights as Steve Carell, Bill Murray, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey. Even though its physical theaters in Chicago, Toronto, and Los Angeles are closed during the coronavirus crisis, comedy classes will continue online. In addition to improv, students can take virtual lessons in comedic songwriting, pitching TV shows, stand-up, sketch comedy, and more from Second City’s pro teachers. If you’re not willing to pay $195 to $295 for a four- to eight-week online course, you can take a one-time drop-in improv or stand-up class for $25.

5. Learn about Women’s History with The New-York Historical Society.

Whether you’re teaching someone home from school or looking to educate yourself in your spare time, there are plenty of remote resources online. The New-York Historical Society is sharing its expertise in the form of a free digital curriculum on women’s history in America. The online course materials cover the period from 1920 to 1948, starting with the flappers of the Jazz Age and ending with women in the postwar era. You can view the entire unit, which includes archival photos and documents, on the NYHS’s website.

6. Join the D.C. Library’s quarantine book club.

If you already plan on reading a ton of books in isolation, you can turn the solitary activity into a social one by joining a quarantine book club. The D.C. Public Library recently announced its book club D.C. Reads is going digital, and now anyone can participate from home. This month’s pick is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. If you have a Washington, D.C. library card, you can use it to download the e-book for free. Book club discussions will take place on March 28 and April 4 at 2 p.m. through the library’s Twitter account.

7. Draw with Wendy Macnaughton.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by wendy macnaughton (@wendymac) on

Whether you consider yourself a novice or a Picasso, you can benefit from making art with others. Every weekday at 10 a.m. PST, Wendy Macnaughton (illustrator of the cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat) hosts drawing classes in her Instagram Stories. All participants need is paper and a pencil. Artists of all ages can draw along, though Macnaughton states classes are just long enough to keep kids occupied for parents “to get a little work done or take a shower and take a couple deep breathes.”

8. Tour the American Museum of Natural History.

As long as you have an internet connection, the impressive halls of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City are just a few clicks away. Every day at 2 p.m. EST, the institution is sharing tours of its exhibits and collections as Facebook Lives. Some special sneak peeks published to the AMNH Facebook page so far include a tour of the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians and a look at its trilobite collection led by curator and trilobite paleontologist Melanie Hopkins.

9. Take a cooking class with Milk Street.

Not sure what to do with your quarantine food supply? Taking a cooking class is a great place to start. Through the end of April, Milk Street (from America’s Test Kitchen co-founder Christopher Kimball) is making its online culinary lessons free to everyone. Topics include baking, cooking without a recipe, and using certain kitchen tools. After a few weeks of classes, you’ll know your way around everything from a chef’s knife to an Instant Pot.

10. Get Creative with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

While it’s closed, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver is using its social media to keep followers engaged with their creative sides. Every Tuesday on Instagram, the institution will post a new challenge to its Stories. This week’s challenge is finding something to read and posting about it to Instagram to help the museum compile the ultimate reading list. Past challenges have included setting aside 30 minutes to make art and sharing photos of pets wearing wigs.

11. Learn guitar with Fender.

At the risk of driving your quarantine-mates crazy, you can use isolation as an opportunity to get in touch with your inner rockstar. Fender is giving the first 100,000 users who create a new account on Fender Play three months of free online lessons. The instructional videos led by talented musicians are high-quality, and you can access them from your phone, tablet, or computer. And if you don't have a guitar at home, the program also includes lessons for bass guitars and ukuleles.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER