When it comes to adventures in baby-sitting, water parks are a no-brainer. But don't let the big guys drown out Houston's best-kept secret: Adventure Bay. On just 12 acres in far west Houston, it's intimate enough to let older kids roam free (though we suggest the buddy system) through the Master Blaster uphill coaster, four huge tube slides and one achingly steep body slide (watch for wedgies!). They can also run along the man-made river, navigating around moms on tubes taking a slow float through the clean, well-landscaped park. Because crowds haven't discovered it yet, there's hardly a wait for any slide -- at any time -- and Adventure Bay is just a fraction of the price of the bigger parks. And it's the only one in town that lets you bring your own cooler of snacks and drinks (sans alcohol). Grown-ups still can imbibe beer and margaritas, as well as burgers and barbecue, served there. Our only concern is that the freedom it offers from crowds could be its downfall, forcing Houston's newest water park to close before it has a chance to really get going.