Indoor water parks have become very popular not just in the US, but also around the world. They are open year round and no matter what the weather is, you can still enjoy your vacation. Some of these parks are so big and include so many attractions that you can spend your entire vacation there. That’s right, they are much more than a collection of pools and water slides. Indoor water parks have a lot to offer for every member of the family. They often include golf courses, nature paths, spas, fitness centers, restaurants, and stores. So, even if you don’t feel like splashing in the pool, you can still have a good time.
Another benefit of indoor water park resorts is that they have an excellent hotel base and getting a family suite is rather easy. Some larger resorts offer condominiums, as well. They often include a fully equipped kitchen, several bedrooms, and usually more than one bathroom.
The prices vary from one resort to another, but most are quite affordable. Family packages are usually cheaper than individual tickets and you can also get discounts depending on the length of your stay, size of your group, season of the year, etc. Many parks have large, convention-size rooms to accommodate business customers. What better place to schedule a business conference?
Since the opening of the first indoor water park in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 1985, many more parks have been built in the US and all around the world. Here are some of the world’s best indoor water parks ever created:
The Kalahari Resorts, named after the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa, are African-themed indoor water parks. There are, in fact, two of them: one is located in Sandusky, Ohio and the other one in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. There is also another Kalahari Resort being built in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Just the indoor water park that will be part of the resort is supposed to be 200,000 square feet, which will make it the largest in the US and one of the largest in the world. The park is expected to be opened in March 2012.
The Sandusky Kalahari has a 173,000 square feet indoor water park, one of the largest in the world. Besides a variety of slides and rides, it offers a 12,000 square-foot wave pool, two FlowRider surfing simulators that pump 50,000 gallons of water per minute creating ocean-like waves, lazy river, Zip Coaster, an uphill water roller coaster, interactive play areas, indoor/outdoor spas, and many more.
It also has two FlowRider surfing simulators that pump 50,000 gallons of water per minute creating ocean-like waves. The park offers surfing lessons, which are rather pricey, but you can also practice surfing or boogie-boarding on your own.
The Wisconsin Dells Kalahari Resort has a 125,000 square-foot indoor water park and 77,000 square-foot outdoor water park. It also has a 100,000 square-foot indoor theme park, which offers such rides as a six-story Ferris wheel, laser tag, go-karts, a bowling alley, golf course, rock climbing walls, and many more attractions.
The Kalahari Resorts are famous not just for their water parks, but also the 100,000 square-foot convention centers: the Kalahari Convention Center in Wisconsin Dells, and the Nia Center in Sandusky. Both convention centers won national awards and both are booked long in advance.
The Tropical Islands Resort is the largest indoor water park in the world, located in Krausnick, Germany, about 36 miles south of Berlin. It measures 710,000 square feet and is enclosed by a huge, 350 foot-tall dome. The building was originally built as an airship hangar, but it was standing empty until a Malaysian company Tanjong purchased it along with the surrounding land, in 2003. The company created a tropical paradise, a resort in an exotic environment complete with a rainforest, beaches, and artificial sunlight. The park is opened 24/7 year round and can accommodate close to 8000 visitors a day.
The resort is a miniature ecosystem. About 80% of the floor space was turned into a rainforest, which includes over 500 species of tropical plants, such as palm trees, orchids, coffee bushes, carnivorous plants and more. There are also some animals, such as geckos, peacocks, quails, and several types of insects, like Surinam cockroaches, and beetles. The insects keep some pests, such as banana moth, under control and to prevent compacting of the soil (the Surinam cockroach lives in warm moist soil). The birds and geckos feed on the insects and that way the ecological equilibrium is naturally maintained. To imitate the tropics, temperatures are kept between 77 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, part of the dome was made out of special transparent roof panels that let in natural sunlight, which turns the whole building into a giant greenhouse. The rainforest is accessible through a maze of winding paths.
The Tropical Island Resort includes Bali Lagoon with whirlpools, submerged water slides and a waterfall, Tropical Sea with a sandy beach, Water Slide Tower, Tropical Village with several restaurants, Tropino Club for Kids with lots of attractions for children of all ages, a fitness club, stage entertainment, miniature golf, spa, etc. One of the most popular attractions is a helium balloon ride inside the dome. If you want to stay longer than one day, you can camp overnight for a fee, which includes a tent, bed, and sheets.
Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and Indoor Water Park
The Great Escape Lodge, located in Oueensbury, NY is the first indoor water park in New York State and the first one owned and operated by Six Flags. It was opened in 2006 and it made a great addition to the existing Six Flags Great Escape theme park.
The 38,000-square-foot indoor water park is opened year-round. However, it is not available to the general public. It serves only lodge guests. Despite relatively small size, the park offers plenty of attractions: a FlowRider wave simulators, a lazy river, raft ride, Boogie Bear Surf, and more. As in many indoor water parks, the roof is made out of transparent panels that lets in natural sunshine.
The Adirondack-style lodge offers 200 guests suites, two restaurants, spa, fitness center, an arcade and gift shops. Many visitors choose to stay at the hotel to have access to the water park and the outdoor theme park that’s located across the street. The theme park is opened May through October and it has lots of attractions for everyone including an outdoor water park.
The Wilderness Resort is located in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin and is one of the largest in the world. It is a complex of four indoor water parks (over 250,000 square feet total) and four outdoor water parks. The hotel’s accommodations include spacious rooms, villas, condominiums and cabins. There are also several restaurants, a spa, fitness center, 9-hole and 18-hole golf courses and even a general store that provides every day supplies.
The indoor water parks offer plenty of rides and slides. The Wild West Water Park is known for the Fantastic Voyage raft ride, the Black Hole water thrill ride and the Ransack Ridge, a four-story interactive play area. The Klodike Kavern’s attractions include a lazy river, 180-foot body slide, the Hurricane, 58-foot indoor raft ride, children and Sulfur Springs pool and spa. The Wild WaterDome park has the nation’s largest indoor wave pool, measuring 15,450 square feet. It also offers a family raft racing ride, the Dueling Mammoths, a 2,200 square foot play lagoon for young children and nine cave-themed private cabanas that are available for rent. The fourth water park, the Cubby’s Cove, was built especially for children. It measures 35,000 square feet and includes an interactive play structure, mini-slides, play-and-spray features and water basketball pool.
Indoor water park resorts give a whole new meaning to the phrase “all-inclusive vacation.” Everything you need is located under one roof. You can take your vacation any time of the year and, regardless of the weather outside, you are going to have fun. Due to high popularity, the number of indoor water parks has been growing steadily and, even though some people do not favor this type of vacation, for many others it is a perfect way to spend their leisure time.