One of the most popular places to hang-out during the blistering hot summer months are at one of the approximately 1,600 water parks around the world. Nowadays, it doesn’t even have to be summer to enjoy some of these awesome water parks, because a growing trend in the amusement park industry is indoor water parks. You can now enjoy the excitement of blasting down a speedy water ride while there’s two-feet of snow outside – even at places as far north as Alaska!
In 2003 alone, there were an estimated 72 million visitors to water parks across North America, and this figure is growing by about 3% per year. So needless to say, existing water parks will continue to grow, and new ones will be popping-up, across the globe. Water parks are continuously trying to build the fastest, tallest, and scariest water rides on the planet, and this list of the top water parks in the world will let you know where you can find some of the most awesome water slides anywhere.
Sunway Lagoon, Malaysia
Sunway Lagoon: As the largest water park in Malaysia, Sunway Lagoon is a place that must be visited when traveling to the Kuala Lumpur area. This award-winning water park features a ton of water rides that are separated into 3 main areas: Waters of Africa, World of Adventure, and Wild Wild West. Each themed area has its own set of thrilling water rides, including a state-of-the-art surf beach with over 6,000 tons of real sand, and palm trees, that make this experience truly one-of-a-kind. Thrill-seekers will also love the Cameroon Climb double-tube ride, which blasts you down a steep hill from 45ft up, and then shoots you back up a steep hill at a height of about 24-feet – all while traveling at blistering speeds.
Ocean Dome, Japan
Ocean Dome: This amazing indoor water park in Japan just happens to be the largest retractable-roof dome on the planet. This huge indoor water park is the second largest in the world at 322,752 square feet of water-splashing fun. It features a very realistic ‘Great Bank’ indoor wave pool that has 450 feet of crushed-marble sand as its beach. You’ll also find a very large volcano surrounded by water slides that ‘erupts’ every hour by shooting flames into the air. Unfortunately, the Ocean Dome was closed down in October of 2007. So if you were one of the 10 million visitors to this great water park, consider yourself lucky!
Tropical Islands, Germany
Tropical Islands: This is not only the largest indoor water park in the world (covering 710,000 square feet), but it’s also the largest free-standing building in the world at about 1,080ft long by 630ft wide by 321ft high. This former zeppelin hangar has been transformed into not just a water park, but a full tropical island paradise with water, sand, and even a rainforest with 30,000 trees and plants. Up to 7,000 visitors can fit into this huge building at any one time, and enjoy the water slides, artificial sun, or just relax on the large beach.
Chimelong Water Park, China
Chimelong Water Park: This awesome water park will be the world’s largest water park as of the summer of 2008. The 900,000 square foot water wonderland will be a water-lovers dream with some of the most innovative new water attractions anywhere. One of the new water rides at Chimelong Water Park is called the Behemoth Bowl, which will essentially be a gigantic bowl that visitors will slip-and-slide their way through on their way to the pool below. This new attraction will be like no other water ride in the world and should make Chimelong one of the most visited water parks on the planet. Aside from the Behemoth Bowl, this place houses some of the fastest, tallest, and scariest water slides in the world – it also sports the longest lazy river in the world, so you can relax after shooting down all of the thrill rides that Chimelong has to offer.
Wet ‘n Wild, Florida
Wet ‘n Wild: Labeled as the best water park in Orlando (there are many of them), Wet ‘n Wild was one of the first water parks in America (1977). This insane water park has 5 awesome thrill rides, along with tons of other more relaxing water rides. Brain Wash is a 2-4 person tube ride that features a 53ft vertical drop into a huge 65ft domed funnel. The Bomb Bay water slide features a ridiculous 76ft nearly vertical drop – the cool thing about this ride is that you rest on a trap door at the top of slide, and it suddenly opens without warning dropping you 7-stories down – wow!
World Water Park, Canada
World Water Park: Located in the chilly city of Edmonton, this indoor water park remains at a tropical 86 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Just because this place is indoors doesn’t mean that the water attractions here are sub-par. This 2.7 million gallon water wonderland features the world’s largest indoor wave pool and 85ft high slides. Some of the most extreme water slides at World Water Park are Tropical Typhoon, Sky Screamer, and Nessie’s Revenge. Aside from these three thrill-slides, there’s also about 9 other slides, a bungee jumping area, a long zip-line, and hot tubs to relax in. And get this…When you’re done frolicking in the water, you can go shopping at the world’s largest shopping center (800 stores and 110 restaurants), which is the building that World Water Park is located in – the West Edmonton Mall.
Schlitterbahn: This huge water park in Texas has continuously been voted as the world’s ‘Best Water Park’ by Amusement Today’s respected Golden Ticket Awards. Schlitterbahn, which means ’slippery road’ in German, is definitely one of the top water parks in the world because of its innovative water slides. This 65 acre water wonderland is the home of the world’s first surfing machine, 3 uphill water coasters, 17 water slides, and 3 miles of tubing fun. One of the rides at Schlitterbahn is called Raging River, and it’s a mile-long chute which takes an incredible 45 minutes to finish! Probably the most groundbreaking water ride is the Master Blaster, which features jets of water that push rafts up and down hills down a 1,000ft track – water parks from around the world have scrambled to create their own version of this ride. This place is even located near a natural spring, so much of the water here is fresh spring water, rather than heavily chlorinated water.
Splashin’ Safari, Indiana
Splashin’ Safari: Nestled in the festive town of Santa Claus, Indiana, Splashin’ Safari has consistently been considered by many as one of the best water parks in the Midwestern United States since it was opened in 1993. This 22 acre Africa-themed park is situated right next to Holiday World Amusement Park, and it features over 15 hair-raising thrill-slides, as well as multiple wave pools, lazy river, and kiddie areas. One of the must-ride water slides is called the Zinga, which is an 8-story high tunnel slide that shoots riders into a gigantic funnel and eventually into the splash pool below. Another can’t miss ride is called Zoombabwe, which is the tallest tunnel water slide in the world at over 10-stories high and 900 feet long!
Water World, Colorado
Water World: This 64 acre water park in the Mile High City is one of the largest in America, and it features some water rides unlike any other in the world. The abundance of water rides here (42 in all) range from kiddie rides, up to some of the best thrill-rides in the U.S. One of the most popular rides at Water World is called the Screamin’ Mimi. This mostly-dry water ride (does that make sense?) shoots riders down a 50ft dry track and then skips them across the water below. There are three speed slides at Water World (Flat Line, Red Line, and Pipe Line), and they fire sliders down approximately 80ft at speeds around 40 mph. When you’re ready to slow-down at Water World, the must-ride attraction is called the Voyage to the Center of the Earth, which is a 5-minute slow ride that takes you back into the time of the dinosaurs – very unique and fun for the whole family. There’s so much to do at Water World that you may want to plan on staying here for more than one day.
Aquacity: Off the east coast of Spain, you can find the beautiful island of Majorca and the home of the largest water park in the Balearic Islands, Aquacity. This 621,000 square foot water park is a mix of beauty and excitement. About a quarter of the water park’s land is dedicated to spectacular gardens and parks. The other three-quarters of the land is dedicated to anyone looking to have a good time splashing around in one of the best water parks in the area. A few of the must-ride water attractions at Aquacity Majorca Island include: Banzai, the Grand Canyon, and Devil’s Tail. There are a total of 16 pools at this gigantic park as well, so there’s plenty of room to just kick-back and relax once you’re exhausted from hitting-up the thrill-rides.
Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park, North Carolina
Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park: This refreshing water park is one of the largest on the east coast of the United States, and the largest in either of the Carolinas. With over 5 million gallons of water being splashed around at Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park, this place is the place to be on a hot and humid Carolina summer day. This park boasts over 36 water rides which range from kiddie slides to adrenaline-junkie speed slides. Two of the main attractions at Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe Water Park include the Bonzai Pipeline and Daredevil Drop. Bonzai Pipeline scoots two people at a time down a 50ft nearly vertical drop at about 40 mph, while Daredevil Drop sends riders down 76ft in a near free-fall.
Water Country USA, Virginia
Water Country USA: This 1950-1960s surf theme park brings back memories of the Beach Boys, but it also has some of the newest and most innovative water rides in the Eastern United States. Waiting in line for a ride is usually faster here than most other water parks because of the electronic monitoring system put in place that gives you the ‘green light’ when it’s safe for you to take the plunge. The Hubba-Hubba Highway is a 1,500ft river rapids – the largest water ride at this park. Other popular rides here include: Big Daddy Falls – a super-soaking river rafting adventure that is 670ft long; Jet Scream – there are 4 ultra-fast (25 mph) twisting and turning flumes that all splash at into the same pool; Nitro Racer – you can race up to 6 other people down this super-speed slide; Rampage – shoots you, and your surf toboggan nearly straight down 75ft at ultra-fast speeds, and then skips you across 120ft of water. There’s also Surfer’s Bay, a huge wave pool
Aqualand: Aqualand Corfu is one of the largest water parks in all of Europe, and some say that it’s the best. It certainly has was it takes to be one of the best aqua parks in all of Europe including the third largest wave pool in the world, 375,000 square feet of fun in the sun, and some of the best water rides in all of Europe. Some of the popular water slides here include: the Black Hole, Kamikaze, the Four Twisters, Crazy River, Giant Slides and there are also kiddy slides for children. Aqualand Corfu even has two new free-fall slides for adrenaline-junkies, and a gigantic jacuzzi for those who just want to relax beneath the warm Greek sun. This place is definitely worth spending a day here next time you come to Corfu.
Water Country, New Hampshire
Water Country: This water park has something for everyone from young children to adults. Water Country is the home of the largest wave pool in the New England area, as well as a variety of speed slides and tube rides. You can race against your friends on the Double Dive Boggan, or experience the thrill of a bobsled ride at the Triple Giant Slides. The Double Geronimo is a side-by-side speed slide that fires the rider almost straight down the 58ft slide. You can also enjoy two white water rafting rides with your family: Thunder Falls and Wild Canyon.
Wild Rivers, California
Wild Rivers: Wild Rivers is an excellent family water park, and it’s usually not as crowded as nearby Raging Waters in San Dimas. Hop on a singel or double-tube and get soaked on on River Rapids, Wipeout, or Chaos. The longest water ride at Wild Rivers is The Abyss – a 655ft dark tunnel ride with a 50ft vertical drop. Go surfing or body surfing at Monsoon Lagoon or Hurricane Harbor, or just relax pool-side. No matter what kind fun or relaxation you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it at Wild Rivers. Unfortunately though, Wild Rivers had to shut down operation by the end of the 2007 season. They are looking for a new area to build the park, but we’ll have to wait and see if this happens.
Aqualand, Gran Canaria
Aqualand: Aqualand is a chain of water parks in Europe with a total of 15 locations scattered throughout Spain, Portugal, and France. Aqualand Maspalomas in Gran Canaria is the largest water park in the Canary Islands. This park features 13 attractions and 33 water slides. The most popular water slide here is called the Tornado - a giant, double-tubed water slide that will give you the feeling of being flushed down a toilet!
Blizzard Beach, Florida
Blizzard Beach: Blizzard Beach in Florida has to be called the ‘coolest’ water park in the world because of its snowy winter theme – not to mention it has some of the tallest water slides (slopes) in the world. The approximately 1.6 million visitors flock to this winter wonderland in the sun each year to take on one of the tallest and fastest water slides in the world – Summit Plummet. This awesome water slide features a near-vertical 120ft drop, and you can expect to reach speeds of up to 60 mph! Get ready for the biggest wedgie of your life! For those people who are a little less daring, you can check out the one of the longest (1,200-feet) family raft rides in the world, or kick-back and relax at the 3,000ft lazy river.
Typhoon Lagoon, Florida
Typhoon Lagoon: This tropical paradise in Florida features a huge 2.75 million gallon wave pool for surfing or body boarding, which happens to be the largest outdoor wave pool in the world. The fun doesn’t end there though. Thrill-seekers can take on the 95ft Mount Mayday tube ride, which curves down the huge man-made mountain. One of the most unique aspects of this water park is its one-of-a-kind, 362,000 gallon saltwater Shark Reef stocked with tropical fish and sharks. Snorkeling and diving at this gigantic shark tank is one of the most unique experiences in the world.
Adaland: This water park is located on a mountainside overlooking the Aegean coast in Turkey. The views here are spectacular, and the water rides are equally impressive. Adaland is billed as Europe’s largest water park, and it features a white-water rafting river, enclosed tubes, and plenty of breakneck chutes. One of the most unique aspects of this park is the outdoor dance club that sprays a nice cooling mist over the patrons while they dance to music played by live bands or a DJ.
Noah’s Ark Waterpark, Wisconsin
Noah’s Ark Waterpark: One of the largest water parks in the United States, Noah’s Ark features over 60 water slides, rides, and games. The 70 acre park has just about anything that an amusement park should have including: 47 water slides, 2 wave pools, 2 rivers, 4 children’s water play areas, Paradise Lagoon pool, 3 amusement park rides, 18-hole mini golf, 3 arcades, and their new 4-D Dive-In Theater. This water park has been around for 30 years now, and it continues to be one of the most visited water parks in the U.S. Time Warp is one of the most popular water slides at Noah’s Ark. This is the world’s largest ‘bowl’ ride, and it drops a total of 70-feet. There’s also the Black Anaconda, which is a quarter-mile long water coaster that reaches speeds of 30 mph.
Wild Wadi Water Park, Dubai
Wild Wadi Water Park: This 12 acre water park in Jumeirah, Dubai is the perfect blend of fun and relaxation. While there may not be as many thrill-rides here as other water parks, there is still plenty of fun and excitement to be had at Wild Wadi. There are a total of 8 Master Blaster rides here, which are the water coaster rides that use jets of water to shoot riders up-hill along the track. There’s also two Flowrider wave-making attractions for surfing or boogie boarding. The lazy river at Wild Wadi is unique in that it unexpectedly explodes periodically with bursts of 16,000 gallons of water, from a huge man-made mountain, down the once docile river turning it into a raging rapids. The one must-ride water slide at Wild Wadi is the Jumeirah Sceirah, which is a 108fttall free-fall slide that fires riders down the track at about 50 mph!
Raging Waters, California
Raging Waters: Raging Waters is one of three such water parks in the state of California, and it happens to be the largest in Northern California at 23 acres. There’s plenty of fun to be had at this park, including the new Dragon’s Den tube ride that takes riders circling around a 35ft bowl while being watched by a mist-breathing dragon in the center of the bowl. Another awesome slide here is the Shotgun Falls, which shoots visitors down the chute and then drops them 10-feet into the water. The speedy Serpentine Slides are also popular at Raging Waters, as they send riders down a 7-story, twisty slide at blistering speeds.
SplashTown Waterpark, Texas
SplashTown Waterpark: This awesome water park in South Texas features everything from much-needed relaxation, to rip-roaring fun and excitement. There’s plenty for the kids to do at Crocodile Isle and Treehouse Island, and there’s also plenty of thrill-rides here as well. New for 2008 is the RipQurl, which is a dark tunnel flume that sends riders into a huge 40ft bowl and finally into the pool below. There is plenty of other exhilarating water slides here as well, including the Tornado, Thuder Run, Texas Freefall, Space Rapids, Shotgun Falls, Zoom Flumes, and much more. SplashTown has a total of over 50 water rides, and they also hold the title of the largest wave pool in South Texas.
Kalahari Water Park, Wisconsin
Kalahari Water Park: The largest indoor water park in the United States is the Kalahari Water Park in the state of Wisconsin. At approximately 125,000 square feet, this indoor aqua park hosts the longest indoor lazy river in America. This place has a FlowRider surf machine that creates perfect 5ftwaves to ride year-round. You can also find a Master Blaster water coaster here – the only indoor uphill water coaster in the country. You can also check out the wave pool, kiddie areas, and hot tubs at Kalahari among other water activities. Once you’re exhausted you can rest at your own private cabana equipped with flat-screen TV, refrigerator, chaise lounge, security safe, and iPod docking station.
Sandcastle Waterpark, UK
Sandcastle Waterpark: The Sandcastle Waterpark is the largest indoor water park in the UK, and it features over 18 different water attractions for people of all ages. This place has a wave machine, lazy river, kids play areas, and of course water slides. If you come to this place, you’ve gotta check out the Masterblaster water coaster, which is the longest indoor water coaster in the world. Another awesome attraction here is the Sidewinder. This gravity-defying half-pipe water ride was the first of its kind to be constructed at an indoor water park. Kids will love the Caribbean Storm Treehous and play here for hours, while parents can relax in the lazy river.
28 White Water, Georgia
White Water: This Water Park at Six Flags in Atlanta has plenty of family water rides to choose from, and they also have two awesome thrill-rides. The newest and most popular thrill-ride at White Water is the Tornado. This is a 75ft tall water slide with a gigantic funnel at the end, which eventually swallows you up. If Tornado isn’t enough fun for you, you need to check out the Cliffhanger. This speed slide shoots you nearly straight down from 90ft up, and at crazy speeds.
Las Cascadas Water Park, Puerto Rico
Las Cascadas Water Park: Originally built in 1985, this Puerto Rican water park is the largest in the Caribbean. At this park, you can relax along the Tropical Lazy River, challenge the speed slides, or conquer the Twister. There are plenty of other water activities at Las Cascadas for the kids, and for those who just want to relax. Right now, construction is underway for a new monstrous water slide, and an adjacent hotel. While this isn’t one of the biggest or most innovative water parks in the world, it’s definitely growing year after year. Who needs a huge state-of-the-art water park in the Caribbean anyway – its already one of the most beautiful natural water parks in the world!