A water park (also waterpark, water world, or aquapark) is an amusement park that features water play areas such as swimming pools, water slides, splash pads, water playgrounds, and lazy rivers, as well as areas for floating, bathing, swimming, and other barefoot environments. Modern water parks may also be equipped with some type of artificial surfing or bodyboarding environment, such as a wave pool or flowrider.

Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World is the most visited water park in North America, and the second most visited in the world


Children's play area at WaterWorld Themed Waterpark in Ayia Napa, Cyprus

Water parks have grown in popularity since their introduction in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The United States has the largest and most concentrated water park market, with over 1,000 water parks and dozens of new parks opening each year. Major organizations are the IAAPA (International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions) and WWA (World Waterpark Association), which is the industry trade association.[1]

Water parks which emerge from spas tend to more closely resemble mountain resorts, as they become year-round destinations. For example, Splash Universe Water Park Resort is themed to match the community in which it is located. The theme is intended to enhance the community's destination appeal. Therefore, the amusement and leisure-time industry is becoming more concentrated, as winter sports are becoming common themes in summertime water recreation.

A process of concentration can be observed in the hybrid versions of theme-, amusement-, and water parks. Some water parks are more spa-oriented. For example, SchwabenQuellen has no water slides; it has instead many saunas, steam rooms, "adventure showers", and relaxation-oriented water play areas.[citation needed]

In the 2000s, an effort was made to reduce long waiting lines by introducing conveyor belts to lift passengers[2] or use water jets.[3]

An unusual feature at a water park is ice skating. Deep River Water Park in northwestern Indiana features ice skating, made possible by cooling pipes installed under their massive plaza.[4]

Indoor water parks

A modern indoor water park in China

Some of the first indoor water parks are Tikibad [nl] at Duinrell (The Netherlands, 1984), Nautiland located at Haguenau (France, 1984), the Aqua Mundo at Center Parc De Eemhof located at Zeewolde (The Netherlands, 1980) and Alpamare (Pfäffikon) [de] (Switzerland, 1977).[5][6][7][8]

In 1986 World Waterpark was open in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada at the West Edmonton Mall.[9][10] It is in 2016 the largest indoor water park in North America.[11][12]

Tropical Islands Resort (Germany), with an area of 66,000 m2 (710,418 sq ft), is in 2016 the largest indoor water park in the world.[13][14]

With five indoor water parks, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin has been dubbed the "Water Park Capital of the World". It showcases several of America's largest indoor and outdoor water parks, such as Noah's Ark Water Park. Wisconsin Dells is also home to the first indoor water park in the United States, which was debuted in 1994 by the Polynesian Resort Hotel. [15]

Success in extending the tourist season and turning water park resorts into vacation destinations has resulted in tremendous industry growth. Usually, resort hotels featuring massive indoor water parks have been reserved for overnight guests. Companies like Great Wolf Resorts/Great Wolf Lodge and Kalahari Resorts have branched out from their origin in Wisconsin Dells to open new locations around the country. Mt. Olympus Theme and Water Park (formerly Family Land) is another huge water park in the Dells.

The largest indoor water park in the UK is Sandcastle Water Park in Blackpool, England, which opened in 1986.[16]

There are many water parks in southern Europe where the climate suits a long season. For example, in Portugal's Algarve, there are three main parks: Aqualand, Aquashow, and Slide n' Splash.

Water play areas


Water play areas are similar to water parks and include urban beaches, splash pads, and smaller collections of water slides in many hotels and public swimming pools.

For example, the Chelsea Hotel in Toronto features a four-story water slide called the Corkscrew.



According to estimates from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 4,200 people annually are sent to emergency rooms from suffering injuries on public waterslides. In July 2015, one drowning and at least three near-drownings were reported at water parks in the United States.[17]

On August 7, 2016, Caleb Schwab, the 10-year-old son of American politician Scott Schwab, was decapitated on the Verrückt water ride at the Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas.[17][18] Following the fatal incident, Verrückt permanently closed.[19]


See also



  1. ^ "NFPA announces launch of online smoke alarm pledge in partnership with LEGOLAND Florida Resort and LEGOLAND California Resort". Archived from the original on 2014-09-05. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
  2. ^ This feature was applied at Caribbean Bay Wild River zone, Everland Resort, South Korea
  3. ^ This feature was applied at Wild Wadi in Jumeirah Hotel, Dubai
  4. ^ "Deep River Waterpark - NW Indiana, Chicagoland & So. Michigans Largest". deep-river-waterpark.
  5. ^ Rogier van der Zanden (June 28, 2019). "Tikibad Duinrell breidt uit naar buiten en is daarna nog lang niet af" (in Dutch). Omroep West. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  6. ^ "Parcs de loisirs" (PDF). P.C.M. Ponts et Chaussées et Mines (in French) (5). Paris: Association professionnelle des ingénieurs des Ponts et Chaussées et Mines: 50. 1986. ISSN 0397-4634. OCLC 473874833. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  7. ^ Tracey Davies (August 15, 2012). "How Centre Parcs opened my eyes". The Independent. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  8. ^ ""Die Freude der Kinder ist die gleiche geblieben"". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). August 4, 2008. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  9. ^ "Throwback thursday: Brampton's Shoppers World was first in Canada to build indoor water slide". Brampton Guardian. May 3, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  10. ^ "Taking a deep dive into the history of WEM's waterpark". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. October 9, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  11. ^ Hinson, Tamara (July 31, 2013). "12 of the world's best water parks". CNN. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  12. ^ "Where Can I Find the Largest Indoor Water Park?". The 6th Floor. The New York Times. July 26, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  13. ^ "6 Largest Indoor Water Parks in the World". Touropia. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  14. ^ Eloi Rouyer (February 3, 2014). "Sous les tropiques... en Allemagne". La Presse (in French). Retrieved September 24, 2019.
  15. ^ "Wisconsin Dells: The Waterpark Capital of the World". TripSavvy. Retrieved 2021-07-25.
  16. ^ "Sandcastle Waterpark is the UKs Largest Indoor Waterpark". www.sandcastle-waterpark.co.uk.
  17. ^ a b Schneider, Roger (2016-08-08). "Safety issues, statistics about water parks in the US". Associated Press. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  18. ^ Sudekum, Maria (2016-08-10). "10-year-old boy who died on Kansas waterslide was decapitated: report". Global News. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  19. ^ Hollandsworth, Skip. "Schlitterbahn's Tragic Slide". Texas Monthly.

Further reading