When the sky is sunny and blue, and the thermometer is inching up higher and higher there’s nothing quite like a visit to a water theme park. Sure, it may be crowded, especially if you go on a weekend or a school holiday, but as soon as you dive into the cool water it won’t matter.
Water parks come in all shapes and sizes, depending on where they’re located. You can find big ones with intense, crazy rides or medium-sized parks that are tropical in design. Some are located in hot climates and open year-round, and others are only open seasonally. You can even find quite a few indoor parks in places where winter tends to linger on and on and on.
If you are looking for the thrill of a water ride, or longing for the feel of sand on your toes or just want to hear the sound of splashing water, there are hundreds of parks around the world to choose from. Here’s a small sampling just to get you thinking.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort in the U.S.
The name makes it sound like this water park is in Europe, but Schlitterbahn is located in New Braunfels, Texas. It’s a 65 acre resort that is family-friendly, but also offers a wide variety of activities for people of any age, with or without kids. The park is open daily from May 20 through August 23, and a handful of other weekends in the late spring and early fall.
There’s a lot to do at this park. Your hardest choice will be trying to figure out where to begin. There are wild thrill rides, crazy slides, the Master Blaster Uphill Water Coaster, Torrent Wave River, or you may just want to relax in one of the hot tubs. If you are visiting with small children make use of the free life jackets while the kids splash in the children’s water playgrounds, pools and lazy river.
Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai
Have you ever heard of the Jumeirah Sceirah? At 110 feet it’s the tallest and the fastest (50 mph) water slide outside of North America. You’ll find it at this fun park in Dubai. You may recognize Wild Wadi because it was featured in two television shows: The Amazing Race 5 and The Amazing Race Asia 1.
This outdoor park has family rides, a lazy river, a lagoon and a wave pool. But it also features surfing machines, Ring Rides and Master Blaster slides, with names that warn you of what you may be getting into: Jebel Lookout, Falaj Fury, Wadi Basher, Tunnel of Doom and Tumble Falls, to name just a few.
White Water World in Australia
White Water World is located at the northern end of the Gold Coast about 40 minutes outside of Brisbane. It’s open from 10-5 every day of the year except December 25 and April 25, and in the winter the rides, slides and pools are heated. The park is designed for all ages and well-staffed with lifeguards.
Some of the featured rides include the Blue Ringed Octopus which sends people twirling through a maze at about 30 mph; the Green Room which is a huge funnel that propels riders through a 246 foot tunnel before they fly out and drop down into the water; The Rip where you and two friends can hang on to a tube for a 26 second thrill ride and the Temple of Huey where you’ll ride a tube through not one, not two, but three separate slides.
Tropical Island in Germany
Are you in Berlin, but wishing you were in Bali? No problem, just head over to Tropical Islands for a different type of water park experience. Inside of this gigantic dome (it’s the size of eight football fields and the largest free-standing hall in the world) you’ll find a tropical village, lagoon, sea and the world’s largest indoor rain forest.
You can ride paddle boats and play on the sandy beach, slide down Germany’s highest water slide, take a balloon ride, listen to the sound of waterfalls or play a round of mini-golf. It’s open 365 days a year, and the transparent foil on one side of the domed roof allows 80 percent of the sunlight to come in so you can get a tan, even in the winter.
Wild Wild Wet in Singapore
Wild Wild Wet is Singapore’s largest water park and has some incredible rides for you to try out. Ular-Lah is a wild white water raft slide, The Waterworks is a crazy pretzel shaped slide for those with a need for speed, and on Slide Up you’ll fly down a four story ramp and up the other side.
For families with small children looking for a milder experience there are two water playgrounds with ladders, slides and fountains and the 1,100 foot long meandering Shiok River. They also offer free life jackets.
Hidropark in Mallorca
This is a seasonal park that is open from May 1 through October 31. Hidropark is located in the Playa de Muro area close to many hotels and apartments. It’s a fun park to visit for both adults and children.
It’s a smaller park, but it still has a lot to offer. You’ll find all sorts of different slides from straight to twisted, bumpy, totally enclosed and kamakazi. There are also five different pools, including two kiddie pools and a playground.
They also have a "fantastic Super Golf with 54 holes" so you might also want to pack your Super Golf clubs and a bit of extra money for the green fees.
Gardaland in Italy
This seasonal park is located in Milan and recently added a new attraction called Rafting Pipe: Zero Gravity. On this slide, you’ll ride a rubber raft down a track to the bottom where you are launched into mid-air.
Other activities at the park include several water slides, a Crazy River, and the Aztec Lagoon.
This is a family friendly park that has a Baby Lagoon and kids play area with water wheels, water jets and mini-slides. It also has plenty of umbrellas to provide shade, and grassy areas where you can relax and picnic.
World Waterpark in Canada
World Water Park is an incredible five acre indoor water park located at a shopping mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The interior is heated to a balmy 82◦ F, making it a perfect getaway from the chilly northern climate.
Inside you’ll find 24 different water activities for all ages. Younger visitors will enjoy the Caribbean Cove, a kids play area, and a family tube slide.
The more adventurous can get their thrills on slides, tunnels and rapids appropriately named things like Howler, Twister, Corkscrew and Raging Rapids.
Sunway Lagoon in Malaysia
This 80 acre park is located 15 minutes outside of Kuala Lumpur. Sunway Park is a resort that consists of several different types of theme parks and accommodations, including an amazing water park.
The theme of the water park is African, and you can experience activities like the Congo Challenge which is a six-lane headfirst water slide, swim in Lake Kariba, ride huge water tubes or play a game of beach volleyball.
You’ll also find the world’s largest man-made surf beach, featuring waves up to eight feet high.
Water Country USA, Virginia
Water Country USA is located near Busch Gardens and historic Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.
It’s a seasonal park with a 1950’s and 60’s surfin’ safari theme that is open late-May through early-September.
In the park you’ll find a lot of attractions like the Hubba Hubba Hughway, a 3 ½ acre river that empties into a lagoon; a river rafting ride called Big Daddy Falls; Jet Scream slides and the Wild Thang, along with plenty of pools and play areas.
Read about author Deanna Hyland and check out her other BootsnAll articles.