In the late 1950s, a man by the name of Robert Byers developed a small recreation park on the banks of the privately-owned Lake Dolores in the middle of the hot Mojave Desert. What started as a personal retreat for his family was soon opened to the public in 1962, after which water slides and other exciting water attractions were slowly added in an effort to provide the growing number of visitors an enticing reprieve from the scorching desert heat.
Though he doubtfully understood it at the time, Byers’ miniature water attraction was the first of what would quickly become a growing sensation across both the US and the globe: water parks. In 1977, Orlando’s notorious Wet n’ Wild water park cued its inaugural season and set the mold for other modern-caliber water parks to follow. Today, with thousands of water parks worldwide that attract nearly a billion visitors per year, the standards of amusement and excitement have far superseded Byer’s old-school blueprint.
For thrill-seekers and adrenaline-junkies looking to ride the tide of excitement, check out these 7 top water parks in the world.
Where: Sicily, Italy
Features: With 18 water slides, three amusement parks, and even a technically advanced laser show, this jungle-and-dinosaur theme park is the pinnacle of European inventiveness.
Where: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Features: Aquaventure Waterpark is often considered one of the Middle East’s greatest amusement attractions. Home to the world’s widest water slide, the Middle East’s longest zip line, and a river ride that floats for nearly 1.5 miles, this park also offers a 2,296-foot-long private beach, several water coasters, and even a Shark Lagoon where visitors can hand-feed stingrays.
Where: Beijing, China
Features: Beijing’s National Aquatics Center, aka the Water Cube, allows visitors to swim, splash, and play in the same place athletes of the 2008 Olympics once competed. With a wave pool, lazy river, spa area, and 13 water slides and rides the 12,000-square-meter Water Cube is the largest water park in Asia.
Where: Orlando, Florida, USA
Features: Two massive wave pools, a white-knuckle water slides, and a dolphin-filled aquarium make Aquatica one of the coolest water parks in the U.S. Furthermore, a soft, white, spanning beach and a South Seas-inspired garden with over 60,000 different plant species transport visitors to a relaxing, tropical oasis.
Where: Bali, Indonesia
Features: Voted the #1 waterpark in Asia by TripAdvisor, Waterbom features world-class water slides, breathtakingly beautiful landscaped gardens and water systems, and an eco-reserve that’s home to a number of endangered native species. With award-winning dining options, G-force waterslides, and tranquil relaxation areas, Waterbom offers a memorable experience for the whole family.
Where: Porto da Dunas, Brazil
Features: As the largest water park in South America, Beach Park is also home to the tallest and fastest waterslide in the world. Aptly named the Insano, this notorious waterpark sends riders jetting down 135-feet of slide at a breathtaking 65-miles-per-hour.
Where: Spreewald, Germany
Features: As Europe’s largest tropical holiday resort, Tropical Islands features swimming pools, sports facilities, a thrilling Whitewater River, a 10,000-square-meter Sauna & Spa complex, and the world’s largest indoor rainforest. The Tropical Islands is the go-to attraction for both those who seek thrilling water adventures and those eager for rest and relaxation.
From simple lake slides in the middle of the desert to modern marvels the world over, water parks continue to offer thrills and shrills for adventure seekers across the world. For information on more fun water parks, helpful pool tips and tricks, and much more, check out the Swim Jim blog, today!