World's Wildest Water Park Rides
When most of us were kids, a waterpark consisted of a front yard, a garden hose, and a rainbow sprinkler. Today, from Denver to Dubai, waterparks are increasing the value of their liquid assets by introducing rides that are higher, faster, and more creative than anything you've ever experienced.With the introduction of slicker composite materials and accelerants like water jets and linear induction motors, waterparks are able to create thrills such as 'water coasters' and near-inversions, features unheard of when Wet n' Wild, the first "official" waterpark, premiered in Orlando in 1977.
Summit Plummet; Disney
"Like theme parks and roller coasters, after time even the wildest water rides become the norm and guests start looking for something more extreme," explains Marc Lassalle, membership coordinator for the World Waterpark Association. "Eventually ideas and creativity meet new technology and designers begin pushing the envelope to deliver what the consumer demands." If you are someone who demands extreme adventures like shark encounters and 140-foot drops, read on for our list of the wildest rides in the world.
Six Flags Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom, Lake George, New York
After climbing to the top of a 75-foot platform, you'll slip into a four-person raft and drift through an enclosed tube before slipping down an incline and into a cavernous bowl. The first blast into the funnel launches the inner tube almost to the top of the towering rim -- which is scary enough -- but then continues to whip everyone back and forth across the mammoth bowl until you swirl your way down into the splashdown pool.
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|9. Bomb Bay|
Wet n' Wild, Orlando, Florida
You start this ride at the top of a seven-story tower in a small chamber that looks like the tail end of an unexploded missile and is slightly smaller than a telephone booth (remember them?). A clear window offers a commanding view of the entire park and the Central Florida horizon. Enjoy it now because in 3...2...1...the floor snaps open and you drop out and accelerate into a freefall for about 75 feet along a nearly vertical slide that curves you into the splashdown lane. Look up before you leap -- a "capsule cam" is broadcasting your impending fall to an audience near the ride's end.
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|8. Dolphin Plunge|
Aquatica, Orlando, Florida
When SeaWorld opened Aquatica in 2008 they merged their experience with oceanic theme parks with a new design in water parks, and Dolphin Plunge is the star attraction. From atop a tower, slip into one of two enclosed tubes and after speeding through slow, looping turns in the dark, you'll complete the spin cycle and see the light. In an instant the curved colored tubes become crystal clear as you slip beneath the surface of a lagoon. Suddenly you are not alone, as black and white Commerson's dolphins glide through the waters surrounding the tube. As you marvel at how incredible this is, the dolphins will probably be wondering, "Who's that dolphin in the bathing suit?"
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|7. Discovery Plunge|
King's Pointe, Storm Lake, Iowa
On this ride, passengers choose their raft ride experience by pre-selecting encounters with holographic images that range from butterflies and hot air balloons to phantom skeletons, ghosts, sea creatures, and ethereal snapping sharks and dinosaurs. Add some wild sound effects, fog, creative animation, and a kaleidoscope of weird lighting effects and you'll discover a sensation first experienced by fans attending a Jefferson Airplane concert in 1967. Add a total drop of 420 feet and you've got every reason to make way for Iowa.
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|6. Scorpion's Tail|
Noah's Ark Waterpark, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Take Bomb Bay's sudden drop and add a 400-foot long slide plus a twist in the enclosed tube that creates a near inversion and you've got the Scorpion's Tale (new in 2010). Step inside a see-through chamber, cross your arms and legs, and when the bottom falls out the G-forces kick in on a near-vertical drop throwing you down at 50 feet per second and then into a wide, arcing loop that twists you up and a-r-o-u-n-d until you're skimming and screaming to a stop in the run-out lane.
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|5. Shark Attack|
Aquaventure, Atlantis the Palm, Dubai
This ride starts when you climb aboard an inner tube and drop into a tunnel that speeds around the pitch-black interior of the Ziggurat (a recreation of an ancient Middle Eastern monument). The twisting trip lasts for a good twenty seconds before you meet up with a gently rolling stream that sloshes through a see-through rectangular case. In the crystal clear waters you'll see guitar sharks, bow mouth sharks, white tip, black tip and grey reef sharks circling the lagoon and wondering when it's dinnertime.
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|4. Summit Plummet|
Walt Disney World's Blizzard Beach, Orlando, Florida
At twelve stories tall, this Disney-designed attraction has you shoving off from a small launch area into a big drop that begins as you fall over the precipice and hydroplane over the slide then past an Alpine village. You end the wild ride in a tunnel through a snow-capped mountain. The entire water park is themed as a winter wonderland -- so think of this as a hydro-ski jump.
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Holiday World and Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Indiana
With its premiere in May 2010, the Wildebeest became the "world's longest water coaster" -- an aquatic attraction that includes seven drops and speeds up to 36 feet per second (for a bit of perspective, you walk at about one foot a second). Once the conveyor belt speeds your four-person toboggan into the first plunge, there will be no stopping you as you speed through the Wildebeest's darkened tunnels, around banked curves, and skim across a series of moguls on your way to the finish line a third of a mile away. The front seat offers a great view, but be prepared for some super splashes.
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Beach Park, Fortaleza, Brazil
Fortaleza is about a three-hour flight from Rio de Janeiro and worth the trip to experience the Insano -- a name that translates in almost every language. It's a long trek to the top of the tallest water slide in the world. You'll be 14 stories in the air and from the peak you'll see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Sit in your lane as a rush of water nudges you a few feet forward...and then a few more...and then gravity takes over to speed you up and over the edge and then drop down the chute at up to 70 miles per hour. Which means you'll cover that 140 feet in about two seconds, just enough time to scream your head off and devise a way to untuck your bathing suit.
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|1. Dragon's Revenge|
Schlitterbahn Waterpark, New Braunfels, Texas
Eight uphill blasts, a two-story freefall, and a series of computer-generated images projected onto thick sheets of water accent this wild ride at one of America's largest waterparks. Board a raft and blast off through a series of caverns (aka enclosed tunnels) that are enhanced with fiber optics, faux fire, a spinning vortex, and an encounter with an angry dragon before dropping down a steep slide and into the castle moat.
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