Summer is – sadly – coming to an end. I know, because I nearly got run over by a herd of back-to-school families with out of control shopping carts when I foolishly stumbled into Office Max in need of an ink cartridge thinking it would be a quick in-and-out trip. But soon, kiddies, you will be back hitting the books. Before you know it, it’ll be days full of classrooms while your hard-earned summer tans fade under the hum of the flourescent lights. So if you’re like me, you’re looking for ways to pack as much fun as possible into the remaining days of summer. And nothing screams SUMMER! more than water parks! Of course there are some notable indoor water parks that you can enjoy year round, and you can bet they made our list. I know I didn’t get to cover every single awesome water park that there is, so if you know of one I missed, by all means let me know and I’ll add it to next year’s list!
Las Cascada Water Park, Puerto Rico – Known as the biggest and the best waterpark in the Caribbean, what this park may be lacking in size (when compared to some of the other parks on this list) it makes up for in beauty. Las Cascada has, arguably, the most beautiful setting of any waterpark in the world, with its colorful waterslides contrasting against the bright green surrounding landscape. Its attractions include the “Crazy River” which simulates rapids on a river, and the Wave Pools which simulate the waves of a beach. For children there’s the Kiddy Pool area, and to fufill your need for speed and adventure, there’s the Speed Slide, “The Bomb”, and the Water Tunnel.
Tropical Islands, Krausnick, Germany - This next one on our list is a bit more than a waterpark…Tropical Islands features a themepark, waterpark, rainforest, lagoon, beach, steam baths, saunas, along with an assortment of shops and restaurants all under one roof. You can even spend the night in a tent or lodge in Tropical Island’s rainforest! The Tropical Islands Dome is the largest free-standing hall in the world at just over 360 metres long, 210 metres wide and 107 metres high. To put those numbers into perspective, it’s large enough to accommodate the Statue of Liberty standing up and the Eiffel Tower lying on its side! But don’t worry – the sun shines through the roof so you can still work on getting the perfect tan.
Noah’s Ark, Wisconsin’s Dells, Wisconson – Sprawling over 70 acres, Noah’s Ark is officialy the largest waterpark in the United States. Its ever-evolving park currently features 41 waterslides, 2 huge wave pools, 2 endless rivers, 4 childrens water play areas, Paradise Lagoon activity pool, 2 group amusement rides, 18-hole mini golf, 3 arcades, shopping, gourmet desserts and that is just the beginning! Noah’s Ark also has “The Black Anaconda,” the longest watercoaster in America, “Time Warp,” the world’s largest bowl ride, and the ONLY 4D Dive-In Theater in the world, featuring the SpongeBob SquarePants™ 4D Movie! And if you somehow manage to get through all that Noah’s Ark has to offer and you still want more, Wisconsin Dells is known as the “Water Park Capital of the World,” with 18 indoor water parks – go try them all!
Chime Long Water Park, Guangzhou, China - Opened in 2007 this waterpark is China’s largest, spanning more than 30 acres, and is the newest addition to the Chime Long entertainment complex, which already features an animal park and zoo, circus, dry theme park and resort hotel. Chime Long is pretty technically advanced as far as waterparks go – on the “Family Boomerango” riders are shot up vertaically before hanging weightless for a split second and dropping backwards. Another of the park’s rides offers a tube conveyor, freeing riders hands up for the walk up the 63-foot tall ride tower. This park has also implemented a special water treatment system that ensures that PH levels are safe while at the same time removing harmful germs. But don’t fret – despite all of the new technology, Chime Long still has the traditional waterpark favorites: a 2,625-foot-long lazy river, a 91,000 square foot Wave pool, and a combination tots and family activity pool, approximately 13,000 square feet and featuring 12 water slides and multiple interactive AquaSpray spray toys.
Six Flags White Water
Six Flags White Water, Atlanta, Georgia - Continually named one of the top waterparks in the US, this park has high-thrill rides that test your bravery to the max. With attractions like The Atlantic Ocean, one of the largest wave-pools in the Southeast and featuring four-foot waves and over 700,000 gallons of water, and the Tornado, a six-story funnel of fear filled with over 5,000 gallons of white, rushing water, this park is great for families too. The “Cliffhanger,” among the world’s tallest free-fall rides, may not be fun for the whole family. Those who dare to try the Cliffhanger climb 90 feet to the starting point of the tallest free-falls on the planet where they are launched down to make a splash in the pool 9 stories below. As the Six Flags site warns…”Have a nice TRIP. See you next FALL!”
World Water Park
World Water Park, Edmonton, Canada – Ditch the chilly winter air and head indoors – yep, indoors – to the World Water Park, where the termperature is always around 82 degrees. This 5 acre indoor park is part of a large shopping mall, and has more than 24 different waterslides, pools and water activities. World Water Park also packs variety – regardless if you are a seasoned daredevil or are just getting your feet wet, there is a ride for you. The “Sun Runner” is a tube slide that is perfect for families and beginner riders. Under the “Extreme” category are “Nessie’s Revenge,” “Sky Screamer,” and “Tropical Typhoon” – all are fast, almost straight down, and sure to leave you wet, wild, and wanting more!
Water Country USA
Water Country USA, Williamsburg, Virginia - While the park’s theme is a throwback to the 1950′s, the rides at Water Country USA are anything but outdated. The park has everything one would expect from a new-millenium waterpark, including a 33 foot tall slide tower, better known as the “Jammin’ Juke Box,” where 3 different rides, (each themed after a popular rock-and-roll dance) the “Funky Chicken,” The Hully Gully” and “The Twist” each begin their 200 foot decent down to the 9,000 square-foot pool below. As the Beach Boys famously crooned, catch a wave and you really will be sittin on top of the world at Virginia’s largest wave pool as four-foot waves rise and fall to the rhythm of some classic rock and roll. Young kids won’t be left out of the fun with their very own “Kritter Korral” – scaled-down water slides, fountains and play equipment are perfect for the youngsters and their parents to play on and harness their inner surfer.
Disney’s Blizzrd Beach, Orlando, Florida – Rumor has it that a freak snow storm lead to the creation of Florida’s first ski resort – when things warmed up again, and the sunny Floriday sunshine melted the snow, the ski runs were transformed into waterslides! Blizzard Beach has since added on and new boasts one of the world’s tallest and fastest free-falling waterslides along with a chair lift to bring you to the top of “Mount Gushmore” where riders can access a number of rides at the Green Slope area of the mountain. Try out the “Downhill Double Dipper,” modeled after an Olympic downhill ski race with starting gates and a time clock to track each racer’s time.
Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, Texas - Saving the best for last – this waterpark has been named “The Best Waterpark in the World” for the 10th year in a row! Here is an overview of the park by the numbers: 3 miles of tubing adventures, 7 children’s water playgrounds,17 water slides, the world’s first surfing machine, and 3 uphill water coasters spread over 65 acres of fun! Schlitterbahn has some unique and thrilling rides – try the “Dragon’s Revenge” ride – the first ride of it’s kind featuring special effects, 8 uphill blasts, caverns and a giant 2-story freefall! Or hop on the “Der Bahn Speed Slides” and race side-by-side along with 2 of your friends to see who can reach the bottom of the waterslide cliff the fastest! If you’re more into distance than speed, try the “Raging River Tube Chute” – the world’s longest tube chute (it lasts 45 minutes!) that zigs and zags as you float from one end of the park to the other.