By Michelle Donaghey
No doubt about it! We love waterparks, whether they are indoor or outdoor ones!
“Waterparks appeal to families who want quality recreation time in an extremely safe environment. After all, waterparks are the safest place to have fun in the water compared to oceans, rivers, lakes and even swimming pools,” noted Gina Kellogg, Director of Communications for the World Waterpark Association, Overland Park, Kansas. In fact, there ware more than 1,000 waterparks in North America with an estimated attendance each season over 70 million people.
“For families who want a safe place to place in the water that’s also really convenient, then, waterparks are the perfect answer,” noted Kellogg.
For families, one of the most obvious reasons for our love is that the rides are very similar to roller coaster rides found in top-notch amusement parks. Some of them include:
- Black Anaconda- Over ¼ mile long with 6 hair-raising climbs and 30 mph spiraling drops- Noah’s Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
- Zip Coaster- Reaches speeds up to 20 mph over 500 feet of slide for a fast ride- Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio
- Crush n’ Gusher- Crushing jets of water propel your raft through a surprise –filled ride, climb and breathtaking plunge. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Orlando, Florida
What other amusements bring us back time and time again to waterparks? It has to be the variety of slides that we can find, varying from one location to the next.
Some fun waterslides include:
- Shark Slam, Gator Gush, Barracuda Blast and Pelican Plunge- Coco Key Water Resort, Arlington Heights, Il.
- Eerie Falls- Three winding tunnels filled with cascades of water in the dark. Soak City at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio
- Summit Plummet- A single-person, free-fall waterslide 120 feet tall, Blizzard Beach, Orlando, Florida.
- The Black Hole- Riders dive into a black hole in a wild ride in tentacle-like tubes from a black flying saucer. Six Flags, Arlington, Texas.
Still another very popular type of ride that waterpark thrill seekers look for are bowl rides. These are getting more and more elaborate and taller as years go by. Some of them include:
- Great Wolf Lodge’s six story bowl ride- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.
- Disco Theme Bowl ride- Orlando, Florida, Wet n’ Wild
- The Cyclone- Erie, Pennsylvania, Splash Lagoon Indoor Waterpark
Want to go to the beach and swim in the waves but don’t want to drive all the way to the coast? Many parks offer wave pools that could rival any coastal beach. Great wave pools at parks include:
- Typhoon Lagoon at Orlando, Florida which is 115 feet wide by 360 feet long.
- Kahuna Beach is the largest tropical beach in Mason, Ohio, with authentic ocean waves crashing down around exotic islands, lounge seating under the shade of gently swaying palm trees.
- Hurricane Harbor Wave Pool- One of the largest and newest in North America. Six Flags, Gurnee, Illinois.
Want to learn to surf but can’t get to Hawaii, California, or Florida? Kids as well as adults can learn to surf at some waterparks!
- The Waterpark of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota offers guests a chance to surf on their flow rider- the flow rider offers riders a shallow but very fast moving sheet of water that one can surf or “boogie-board” on. The flow rider is 3 inches deep and the pool surface is foam-padded.
- Camelbeach Surf in the Mountains in Tannersburg, Pennyslvania notes that riders can try stand-up surfing or a boogie board, and much like snowboarding and skateboarding, as riders put in more time, they will develop more skills and style.
Everyone loves to go to the movies and this year, you can watch a movie with interactive features at one of the Midwest’s waterparks!
Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells will be opening their new, 4-D Dive-In Theater which features nine, separate effects to stimulate and entertain guests.
It is the first and only 3D/4D theater worldwide to really exploit water during performances using three, drenching special effects – water squirts, overhead water drops and water cannons. Six other special effects will test your senses with leg ticklers, vibration, scent, wind, lightning and bubbles.
This summer, Noah’s 4-D Dive-In Theater will be playing SpongeBob SquarePants™ 4-D Movie.
To find where a waterpark in your area is or for information, visit waterparks.com.
Michelle Donaghey is a freelance writer and mother of two boys, Chris and Patrick, who are her inspiration. She lives in Bremen, Indiana just south of South Bend, home of Notre Dame. When she isn’t writing, Michelle can be found in her perennial flower garden or working on small home improvement projects. Michelle has written for parenting publications including Metro Kids, Atlanta Parent,Dallas Child, Great Lakes Family, Family Times and Space Coast Parent and websites including iparenting.com.
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