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June 21, 2013

STAWAR: Come on in, the water’s great

(Continued)

Another well-known natural water attraction is Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. It is a 60-foot natural rock slide with its own 7-foot-deep pool. Diane wanted to try it out on one of our vacations. The kids really liked it, but it seemed awfully dangerous, especially when I slipped and fell down there. 

In 1985, the first indoor water park was built in Canada at the West Edmonton Mall and mini-water parks (indoor and outdoor) have proliferated since, often being attached to hotels throughout the country, usually in vacation and resort areas. The indoor parks have made water park attendance a year round activity. 

Today, the fastest-growing segments of the waterpark industry are indoor waterparks and municipally owned/city owned waterparks. The first American indoor waterpark was built at the Polynesian Resort Hotel in the Wisconsin Dells. The Dells with its countless indoor and outdoor water attractions has been called the “Water Park Capital of the World.” 

Seeing the growing success of water parks, most of the major theme parks added water park additions to supplement their other attractions. For example, Disney World, in Orlando, added River Country in 1976, which was ultimately replaced by Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. 

Closer to home, Kings Island added The WaterWorks in 1989 — later known as Boomerang Bay and now Soak City. Holiday World in Santa Claus added its water park, The Splashin’ Safari, in 1993. I tend to think of The Splashin’ Safari and the local Atlantis Park in Clarksville as our water parks. I like the convenience and inexpensiveness of Atlantis, and who doesn’t love The Splashin’ Safari’s free parking, free wifi, free suntan lotion and free soft drinks. At one time, TripAdvisor.com ranked it among the top water parks in the country.

Last week, we were visiting two of our sons in Texas and stayed a few days at New Brausfel, which is the tubing and water park heart of Texas. The Comal and Guadeloupe rivers run through the middle of town and both are perfect for tubing. 

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