Wet ‘n’ Wild Splash Town in Houston, Texas is a waterpark on the North side of town.
When I was lifeguarding, the American Red Cross would sometimes host the State Lifeguarding Competition here. The team I was on won the title 9 years in a row and then some more after I retired. We won it a few times when it was held at Splashdown. You just know those Splashtown lifeguards hated us for that, lol.
There are more than 1,200 waterparks in North America alone.
The estimated attendance at waterparks in North America exceeded 85 million people in 2012. Attendance grows about 3 – 5% each year.
There’s over 700 waterparks in the rest of the world.
The first official waterpark was created in Orlando, Florida in 1977 and it was called “Wet ‘n Wild”.
The waterpark in Orlando was created by George Millay. He’s known as ‘Father of the Waterpark Industry’.
The largest indoor waterpark in the United States under one roof is the Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (125,000 square feet).
The largest indoor waterpark square footage at one resort in the United States is the Wilderness Hotel, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (three waterparks at one resort totaling 161,000 square feet).
The largest indoor waterpark in North America is the World Waterpark, West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (5 acres and 3.25 million gallons of water).
The largest indoor waterpark in the world is Ocean Dome, Miyazaki City, Japan (322,752 square feet—about the length of three football fields).
The largest outdoor waterpark in the United States is Noah’s Ark Waterpark, Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (70 acres).
“The Waterpark Capital of the World” (largest concentration of waterparks in one area) is Wisconsin Dells, Wis. (18 indoor waterparks and 3 outdoor waterparks within 18 square miles, with more than 200 waterslides and 16 million gallons of water).
Best waterparks in the U.S. :
- Schlitterbahn Waterpark, New Braunfels, Texas
- Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
- Raging Waters, San Dimas, Calif.
- Water Country U.S.A., Williamsburg, Va.
- Splish Splash, River Head, N.Y.
- Knott’s Soak City, Palm Springs, Calif.
- Water World (Hyland Hills), Federal Heights, Colo.
- Six Flags White Water, Marietta, Ga.
- Wet ’n Wild, Las Vegas (now closed)
- Noah’s Ark, Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
U.S. waterparks with the highest attendance:
1. Typhoon Lagoon (1,914,000), Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
2. Blizzard Beach (1,778,000), Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
3. Wet ‘n Wild (1,340,000), Orlando, Fla.
4. Schlitterbahn (917,000), New Braunfels, Texas
5. Water Country USA (697,000), Williamsburg, Va.
6. Raging Waters (650,000), San Dimas, Calif.
7. Adventure Island (615,000), Tampa, Fla.
8. Noah’s Ark (576,000), Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
9. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (494,000), Arlington, Texas
10. Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe (489,000), Greensboro, N.C.
11. Six Flags White Water (452,000), Marietta, Ga.
12. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (423,000), Jackson, N.J.
13. Soak City at Cedar Point (402,000), Sandusky, Ohio
14. Hyland Hills Water World (391,000), Federal Heights, Colo.
15. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (357,000), Valencia, Calif.
Since Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas is rated as the best waterpark in the U.S., I’ll tell you some facts about it.
In 1979, with pet rocks and mood rings all the rage, Schlitterbahn opened with 20 lifeguards and four water slides.
The name Schlitterbahn is a combination of the German words “schlitter,” meaning “slippery,” and “bahn,” meaning “road,” and was intended as a nod to the German heritage of its’ host city New Braunfels.
For the first time in 1995, Schlitterbahn became the most popular seasonal waterpark in the nation, with attendance surpassing all other summer waterparks for the first time. (Schlitterbahn is still the country’s top-attended seasonal waterpark!)
The 2nd tallest, fastest, single-person, free-fall waterslide in the world is 120-foot tall “Summit Plummet,” Blizzard Beach, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The tallest raft-ride waterslide: 11-story tall “Insane” at Beach Park, Fortaleza, Brazil.
In 2014, Schlitterbahn hired 1,000 lifeguards plus another 1,000 seasonal staff members.
Schlitterbahn can be a busy place during the summer, however for an extra $17 fee, visitors can enter the the park early at the Blastenhoff beach and get a jump start on the crowds.
Inland surfing was invented at Schlitterbahn, the Boogie Bahn is one of the most popular areas at the park and is the one water ride you can get better at over time.
Schlitterbahn reclaims 96-98% of the water it uses and utilizes sophisticated filtration systems to ensure water quality.
Unlike many other theme parks, visitors at Schlitterbahn are allowed to bring in their own outside food and drinks.
The 17-story Verrückt waterslide opened at the Kansas City, Kan. Schlitterbahn park in Summer 2014. Built in New Braunfels, the slide is the world’s tallest.
The New Braunfels park has been recognized as the World’s Best Waterpark, winning Amusement Today’s prestigious Golden Ticket Award for 15 consecutive years.
If all the tubes at every Schlitterbahn were placed side by side, you’d be jumping from tube to tube for eight miles.
The bikini swimsuit was named after a U.S. nuclear testing site in the South Pacific called Bikini Atoll.
65% of people in the U.S. don’t know how to swim.
In butterfly stroke and breaststroke, swimmers need to touch the pool with both hands simultaneously when they finish. Swimmers touch the pool with only one hand when they finish in freestyle and backstroke swimming events.
An hour of vigorous swimming will burn up to 650 calories. It burns off more calories than walking or biking.
Swimming strengthens the heart and lungs. It works out all of the body’s major muscles and helps reduce stress.
Water’s buoyancy make swimming the ideal exercise for physical therapy and rehabilitation or for anyone seeking a low-impact exercise.
Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise because you are moving against the water’s resistance, which is over ten times that of the air.
The slowest Olympic swim stroke is the breaststroke. The fastest and most efficient swim stroke is the crawl/ freestyle.
Most swimmers at the highest levels of competition train from four to five hours per day and five to seven days per week. They will typically swim about six to twelve miles per day along with weight training and flexibility training.
Competitive swimmers use the term fast pool when they are describing a pool that has a good gutter system on the sides. This system allows the water to flow out easily and doesn’t allow waves to bounce back to the middle of the pool. The lane lines can also help control the waves and the deeper the pool is, the fewer waves hit the bottom and bounce back up to the surface. The lack of these waves provides less drag/ resistance for the swimmers, which gives them a faster time.
Florida is the only state with legislation on who can teach swimming. Lifeguards and swimming instructors must, by law, be certified.
The largest wave pool in the U.S. is Typhoon Lagoon, Orlando, Fla., at 115 feet wide by about 395 feet long, it is the largest in terms of bather capacity, annual visitors, water volume and wave height.
The largest wave pool in the world is Dino Beach Water Park, Shanghai, China, at 181 feet wide by 360 feet long.
As with any other type of exercise, you need to stay hydrated while swimming and you need to drink water. Your core body temperature can rise as the activity increases. Your body also produces sweat as it does with other physical activity, but it is not as apparent since you are already wet.
Ancient drawings and paintings found in Egypt depicting people swimming date back to 2500 B.C. The first recorded swimming races were held in Japan in 36 B.C.
Swim fins were invented by Benjamin Franklin.
Swimming first became an Olympic event in 1896.
Swimming in the Olympics started as a men’s event only, but women were able to participate starting in 1912.
The first U.S. wave pool was built at Point Mallard Park in Decatur , Alabama in 1970.
The first man to cross the English Channel swimming from England to France is Englishman Captain Matthew Webb in 1875. The first woman to swim the English Channel is Gertrude Ederle, who was actually just a teenager at that time in 1926.
During my waterpark career, I started out as a lifeguard, moved up to Head Lifeguard, was promoted to Water Safety Supervisor and finally was a Park Supervisor.
I worked in this industry for about 12 years, during and after my college years.
I made many rescues and helped a lot of people during my time in the sun. I also got drunk with other lifeguards quite a lot, lol. I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m a Lifeguarding Champion and I had a blast throughout my career.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at my pictures and reading all about waterparks.
You can view over 25,000 of my photos and see my videos on my website.