Water parks are an exciting way to enjoy the summer weather, take a thrilling ride down a waterslide, or float on a lazy river. The United States has the highest concentration of water parks, but these attractions can be found throughout the world.
According to Geyser Falls Water Theme Park, theme parks began to boom in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1964 George Millay opened the first Sea World in the United States. Inspired by the initial designs of waterslides, he went on to open the first official water park, known as Wet n’ Wild, in Orlando, FL in 1977.
Water parks have only become more complex over the years. Today they feature intense water slides, relaxing lazy rivers, and family-friendly splash pools.
Some people want to enjoy these delights all year round, leading to the development of indoor water parks. The world’s first indoor water park opened its doors in 1977 in Pfäffikon, Switzerland. The park, known as Alpamare, expanded considerably over the years and remains open to this day.
The United States did not open an indoor water park until 1994. The first indoor water park in the country was actually an extension of the Great Wolf Lodge of the Polynesian Hotel in the Wisconsin Dells.
Today indoor water parks and resorts are popular attractions and the largest indoor water park in the world has something for the whole family.
What Is the Largest Indoor Water Park in the World?
Tropical Islands Resort is the largest indoor water park in the world. Located in Krausnick, Germany, a district 60 km (38 miles) south of Berlin, Tropical Islands Resort boasts 710,000 square feet of a faux tropical paradise.
Building the enormous resort was no small task. The park offers a year-round escape into a tropical environment set at a balmy 26 °C (79 °F).
Tropical Island includes a number of themed areas, including a sandy “beach” with 860 cubic meters of fine-grained sand alongside a 3,000 square-meter pool. Another area of the water park known as the Bali Lagoon includes a 140-meter (460-foot) pool. Tropical Island is also home to the highest water slide tower in Germany at 27 meters (88 feet.)
Tropical Islands Resort has a fascinating history. The enormous building that houses the water park was not originally built for recreation. It was first an airship hanger named Aerium, which was also the largest free-standing hall in the world.
In 1998 a company called Cargolifter AG bought the area that would house Aerium. They began construction of the hangar with the goal of housing a CL160 airship. However, this airship was never built, and the company went bankrupt in 2002.
After that, the Malaysian consortium Tanjong PLC/Colin Au bought Aerium with a different goal in mind. They hoped to transform the hangar into an indoor island escape and managed to do so within an impressive timeframe. Tropical Islands officially opened in December 2004.
Explore Tropical Islands Resort
Tropical Islands Resort features several themed areas. Tropical Village includes replicas of buildings from Thailand, Bali, Samoa, and more. The Bali Gate forms the entrance to Tropical Village.
Once inside you can explore the Bali Pavilion, a structure made to look like a Balinese temple. There are also structures made to resemble typical Polynesian dwelling huts (called “fale” in Samoa) and traditional Thai houses made of wood and bamboo.
The main portion of the water park includes the Bali Lagoon, complete with fountains, a current canal, whirlpools, and two water slides.
It also houses the South Sea, a sandy beach with an enormous pool under palm trees and located under a clear roof to invite in natural sunlight. The park features four waterslides in total, including a “double racer” for those looking for some competition.
The resort also contains a few non-water park attractions, such as an arcade, 22-hole mini golf course, restaurants, bars, lounges, and more.
Tropical Islands Resort is home to an incredible indoor rainforest complete with 50,000 plants and 600 different plant species. The rainforest contains its own ecosystem.
As the resort’s website explains, insects like the Suriname cockroach or greenhouse cockroach (Pycnoscelus surinamensis) are a natural and necessary part of the area’s ecology and their numbers are controlled.
Some insects perform essential tasks such as breaking down dead leaves on the ground. Visitors may also encounter free-roaming golden pheasants, Chinese pygmy quail, peacocks, and geckos while visiting the Tropical Rainforest.
Although Tropical Islands Resort is known for its massive indoor water park, the resort features an outdoor portion as well, known as Amazonia.
In addition to several pools, Amazonia includes a 250-meter-long (820-foot) current channel. Pororoca offers a chance for adventurous guests to try their hand at surfing a continuous wave. Amazonia also features sand volleyball courts and plenty of lawn space for sunbathing.
Sauna and Spa
Visitors to Tropical Islands Resort can pay an additional fee to visit the resort’s sauna and spa. The resort features multiple saunas, including the Vishnu Stone Sauna, Salasaca Tree Sauna, and Gunung Mulu Salt Cave. The spa offers a number of treatments such as facials, manicures, pedicures, and massages.
Tropical Islands Resort is located in Krausnick, Germany, a district 60 km (38 miles) south of Berlin. Those who are driving to the resort can take the A 13 (Berlin-Dresden) autobahn. Take the Staakow exit and follow the signs to reach the water park entrance. Tropical Islands can also be reached by taking a train to Brand Tropical Islands train station, followed by a free shuttle.
For those looking to extend their stay at Tropical Islands Resort, never fear. The water park offers approximately 200 rooms and lodges rooms within the dome, right in the middle of the tropical landscape, writes Tropical Island’s company profile.
Visitors can also stay in tents equipped with mattresses located on the sandy floors of the indoor dome. These tents are within walking distance from bathrooms and showers. Outdoor lodge tents and tipi tents are available for guests to rent as well.
Visitors can bring their own camping gear, caravan, or mobile home to stay in outside of the dome. Another option for guests who aren’t keen on roughing it is to rent out a mobile home in the Amazonia (outdoor) area of the resort.
Other Notable Water Parks
If Germany is too far away, there are a number of other impressive water parks worth visiting throughout the world. The largest overall water park in the world is The Aquaventure Water Park located in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
This mostly outdoor water park is themed around the city of Atlantis and boasts an impressive 141-acre waterscape. The park includes the Leap of Faith — a 60-foot waterslide with an almost-vertical drop from the top of the iconic Mayan Temple.
Largest Water Park in the United States
The largest water park in the United States is Noah’s Ark Water Park in the heart of the Wisconsin Dells. The water park is 70 acres in total and includes intense water slides such as the Scorpion’s Tail, dubbed America’s first nearly vertical looping waterslide.
The Black Anaconda earned the title of America’s most thrilling water coaster and reaches speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. However, not all the waterslides in Noah’s Ark are quite as hardcore. There are also several kid-friendly features, such as the Toucan Twisters slides, available for all ages.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © LianeM/Shutterstock.com
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