Waterpark: The Perfect Summer Outing
Are you a thrill seeker? Or, are you more into relaxed leisure? Whatever your preference, a waterpark is a fun outing perfect for all the family. But, how did these parks come to be? In today’s blog, we’ll talk about the history of this summer destination. Plus, discuss what you can get out to while you keep cool.
The History of the Waterpark
A waterpark is an amusement ark which feature water play areas. It started to gain popularity since their introduction in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In fact, the United States has the largest and most concentrated park markets. With over 1000 established destinations, dozens of new parks are added to the list every year.
There are two categories of waterpark:
- Indoor vs. Outdoor
- Spa vs. Amusement
Indoor parks allow for year-long use and don’t need to close due to rainy-weather. Conversely, outdoor parks make the most of the warm season and can often be bigger in size. This allows for taller water slides.
Spa-like parks often don’t have “thrill” rides. Instead, focusing on saunas, steam rooms, “adventure showers” and relaxation-orientated water play areas. Often, these are indoor destinations.
The First Waterpark
Although individual water slides and wet ride open in 1940s, the first waterpark only opened in the 1960s. Originally named Lake Dolores, it found its home in Newberry Spring, California. Businessman Bob Byers built the park for his extended family. It centres around Lake Dolores: a 273-acre man-made lake fed by underground springs.
In May 1962, a basic campground adjacent to the lake opened to the public. Eventually, over the years, more and more rides and attractions were added.
The park featured:
- 8 identical 150-foot 60-degree-angle sides. Riders rode down this man-made hill of small plastic “floaties”.
- 2 V-shaped water slides also 150-long, but ridden standing up. Sliders would shoot out the end like a human cannonball.
- A “Zip-cord” Ride where riders hung on from a hand-held device like zip line. When the line came to a stop it would thrust the hanging rider forward into the lagoon.
- 3 high diving boards.
- 3 trapeze-like swings.
- “Big Bopper”: a fast long group raft ride.
- A “Lazy River”.
The park saw its peak attendance between the early 1970s and mid-1980s. Despite attempts to revive interest, it stands abandoned since 2004.
What to Do
Interested in attending a waterpark? Check out some of what you can get up to!
- Swimming Pools. Varying in size and depth, there are swimming activities for all ages and abilities.
- Wave Pools. A swimming pool with artificially generated waves, similar to being in the ocean. Some wave pools offer surfing or bodyboarding environments.
- Water slides. These can differ in type such as: body, inline, aqua loop, family-rafting, funnel, multi-lane racer, water coaster, and drop slide.
- Splash Pads. Water is sprayed upwards. There is little to no standing water therefore eliminating the need for a lifeguard or other supervision.
- Water Playgrounds. Like splash pads except there is a shallow body of water.
- Lazy Rivers. A shallow pool that flows similarly to a river. The slow current allows guests in rafts to drift gentle across the circuit. Often these rivers follow along the perimeter of the waterpark.