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

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A Handy Map of All the Royal Residences in the UK

Frogmore House, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's primary estate on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Frogmore House, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's primary estate on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Somewhere along the way, you probably learned that Buckingham Palace is home to the ruler of the United Kingdom and many unflinching, fancily clad guards. And, if you watch The Crown or keep a close eye on royal family news, you might recognize the names of other estates like Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace.

But what about Gatcombe Park, Llwynywermod, or any of the other royal residences? To fill in the gaps of your knowledge, UK-based money-lending site QuickQuid created a map and corresponding illustrations of all 20 properties, and compiled the need-to-know details about each place.

quickquid map of royal family residences
QuickQuid

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip kept eight estates for themselves, and divvied up the rest among their children and grandchildren, some of whom have purchased their own properties, too. Though Buckingham Palace is still considered the official residence of the Queen, she now splits most of her time between Windsor Castle and other holiday homes like Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Sandringham House, which Prince Philip is responsible for maintaining.

quickquid illustration of royal family residences
QuickQuid

Windsor shares its grounds with two other properties: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s home, Frogmore House, and the Royal Lodge, where Prince Andrew (the Queen’s second youngest child) lives.

illustration of frogmore house
QuickQuid

Southwest of Windsor is Highgrove House, Prince Charles’s official family home with wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. They also own Birkhall in Scotland, Clarence House in London, Tamarisk House on the Isles of Scilly, and the aforementioned Llwynywermod in Wales. Much like the Queen herself does, Charles and Camilla basically have a different house for each region they visit.

illustration of highgrove house
QuickQuid

In 2011, the Queen gave Anmer Hall—which is on the grounds of Sandringham House—to Prince William and Kate Middleton as a wedding gift, but they’ve recently relocated to Kensington Palace so Prince George could attend school in London.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s only daughter, Anne, resides in Gatcombe Park with her daughter, Zara Tindall. Anne also owns St. James’s Palace in London, where her niece (Princess Beatrice of York) and her mother’s cousin (Princess Alexandra) sometimes live.

Lastly there's Edward, Elizabeth and Philip's youngest son, who lives with his wife in Bagshot Park, which architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner called “bad, purposeless, [and] ugly.”

illustration of bagshot park
QuickQuid

If you’re feeling particularly cramped in your tiny one-bedroom apartment (or even regular-sized house) after reading about the royal family’s overabundance of real estate, take solace in the knowledge that at least you’ll never have to follow their strict fashion rules.

A Book Fair for Grown-Ups Is Coming to New York

seb_ra/iStock via Getty Images
seb_ra/iStock via Getty Images

Amid all the prepubescent drama and uncertainty of elementary school was one glimmering spot of hope and happiness: the Scholastic Book Fair. Getting to take just a few minutes out of your regular school day to wander the temporary bookshelves seemed about as enchanting as walking through the wardrobe into Narnia.

For folks who’ve been chasing that particular brand of ecstasy well into their adult lives, we have some big news. Next month, Penguin Random House is hosting a book fair for grown-ups. The Pop Insider reports that the event will take place at Lightbox in New York on Saturday, November 23, and you must be at least 21 years old to attend.

It’s not intended to be an exact replica of the book fair from your own school days, but rather a full-fledged recreation of your entire grade-school experience. The electronic invitation promises pop culture trivia, Mad Libs, an “awkward school photo booth,” spin art, snap bracelets, Mr. Sketch markers, cubbies, and “severe middle school flashbacks.”

There will also, of course, be books for sale, though it’s not clear if the inventory will include throwback series like Junie B. Jones and The Magic Treehouse, or just books for adults.

In addition to tsunami-sized waves of nostalgia, the event will feature appearances from some of Penguin Random House’s beloved authors. The list hasn’t been revealed in full, but Viking Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, tweeted that its author John Hodgman will be there to promote his new book, Medallion Status.

Tickets are $25 for a one-hour time slot, or you can pay $50 to stay for the whole five hours. And your afternoon of embracing your inner kid will benefit actual kids—Penguin Random House will donate a portion of ticket sales to Read Ahead, a non-profit that uses reading to help students learn life-long social and emotional skills.

While the Scholastic Book Fair is still going strong in schools today, the same can’t be said for card catalogs, dodgeball, or these other things.

[h/t The Pop Insider]

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