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Now that May has finally arrived, our focus shifts to the warmth and sunshine of the late spring and summer, and that means plenty of waiting in line at both water parks and theme parks. There’s a great combination of both in Georgia, as this season the brand new Hurricane Harbor water park is debuting as part of your admission at Six Flags Over Georgia.
Expect plenty of the usual water park suspects like a wave pool—the one here will take up 38,000 square-feet of space and promises to do a pretty darn good job at simulating the ocean surf. Bonzai Pipelines is set up to allow you to slip and slide your way through winding curves, dark tunnels, and swirling bowls, and there’s even a spot for the kiddos to do their thing—Paradise Island.
It feels like we're finally turing the corner when it comes to the warmer weather, and sooner than later it’ll be time for the calendar to flip over to May. That means water park season will also officially be underway, so here’s a quick rundown of when some parks across the country are set to fire up their slides and lazy rivers for the very first time:
· Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort - New Braunfels, Texas - April 26
· Raging Waters - San Dimas, California - May 10
· Splashin' Safari – Santa Claus, Indiana - May 16
· Six Flags White Water – Atlanta, Georgia - May 17
· Water Country USA – Williamsburg, Virginia - May 17
· White Water at Silver Dollar City – Branson, Missouri - May 17
· Wilderness Resort – Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin - May 23
· Noah's Ark – Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin - May 24
· Water World - Federal Heights, Colorado - May 24
· Soak City at Cedar Point – Sandusky, Ohio - May 24
There’s all kinds of water parks across the globe, but there’s only one brand that truly exceeds the expectations of those looking to slip, slide, and swim all summer long. There’s no argument that Schlitterbahn has some of the best water parks in the world, and with locations across Texas and even in Kansas City, there are several options from which to choose. However, 2014 is unique in that they’re bringing in a new $500 million park into the family, as Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi should be turning on the faucet in just a few more months.
Many of the signature rides and attractions will make an appearance at the new water park. Visitors can expect things like a Torrent Tidal Wave River, swim-up bars, and beaches. There will even be something called Boogie Bahn—according to them it’s basically the world’s best inland surfing ride. There will be places to stay the night as well, as it looks like they’re trying to get Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi up and running as a full-fledged resort.
Move over Georgia Aquarium, as it looks like there’s a new vat of water in town and this one now holds the title of world’s largest.
The S.E.A. Aquarium opened its doors and tanks for the first time last week, making Singapore is now home to the world’s largest aquarium. Obviously they have plenty of fish and friends, and they’re all doing their thing in almost 11.2 million gallons of water. The new place is home to around 800 different species of ocean critters, and in total there’s like 100,000 animals swimming and splashing about.
New at Schlitterbahn...
Just in case you haven’t been paying attention to the calendar, the month of May has finally arrived. That means warmer weather, a holiday weekend, and the need to hit the nation’s water parks. It’s fine if you save your 2011 visit until June, July, or August, but here are five of the biggest and baddest slips and slides hitting the parks this season:
The temperature is already too hot to handle in Arizona, so that’s why we’re suggesting a visit to the Wet ‘n’ Wild in Phoenix. There’s tons of attractions and rides to cool you down, but new this year is Constrictor. It’s an enclosed flume slide that sends riders through a bunch of corkscrew turns and spirals—kind of like a coiled snake, get it, Constrictor?—all while they try to hold onto their group sized rafts. Park officials are promising the tightest water slide turns in the world, as well as a water slide that’s never been seen anywhere else. They’re still putting together the final bits and pieces so don’t go just yet, but they do promise it will be open in time for the sweltering summer temperatures.
· Bombs Away
The towns in Northern California don’t get as toasty as their sister cities down the coast, but there’s still plenty of warm days where the kiddies of San Jose will need to cool off. Raging Waters is challenging visitors to enter a capsule at the tippy top of the park’s newest water slide Bombs Away, and from there it’s going to be a 55-foot vertical drop thanks to a sneaky trap door. The soaking doesn’t end there, as after the free-fall riders will be tossed about a loop before hitting a final splashdown pool. It sounds a little dangerous to us—especially if your bathing suit isn’t firmly attached—but we still suggest checking out when it opens Memorial Day weekend.
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The summer vacation season is right around the corner, and that means a trip to the local water park is in order for many families around the country. However, this year we’re suggesting a little bit of a road trip to hit up one of the most unique water worlds, and best of all, it’s educational too!
Evergreen Wings and Waves Waterpark is attempting to live up to its promise as the country’s only aviation-themed water park when it opens up this summer. There’s ten different waterslides planned for the park, along with a wave pool that holds just shy of 100,000 gallons. It’s located right next to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregonnot too far from Portlandso we’re totally jealous of any kids that are lucky enough to visit on a field trip.
Sydney already has plenty of sun and sand, but apparently there’s a need for some fun in the water outside of the area’s famous beaches. As a result, Wet ‘N Wild is spending $80 million to bring slides, tubes, and wave pools to the citizens of New South Wales. This isn’t going to just be some minor attraction either, as they’re promising that this place is going to be one of the top 10 largest water parks in the world.
The park will be located on the western side of the city, and will sit on about 60 acres of land. Builders have signed a 50-year lease for the land, so they’re really committed on this thing being a hit. Let’s just hope that if they build it, they will come.
Unfortunately, things are still a ways off before we’ll be plopping ourselves in the lazy river. The new park probably won’t be ready until the summer of 2013-2014. The place will probably be a hit with the locals, but if we head down under, we’ll probably be skipping the water slides.
[Photo of another down under water park: Jon... In 3D]
[Photo of another down under water park: Jon... In 3D]
To kick off summer, Legoland did it up right, by opening the world's first Lego-themed water park. Legoland California is home to the new water playground, so you can cool off after tinkering with plastic pieces in the main park.
Since Legoland is a kiddie-centric destination, the 5.5-acre water park caters to the short set. While there are eight attractions in the park, the most distinctive element is a 45-foot-tall tower that looks constructed with building blocks. The park's four biggest slides originate from the tower.
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Memorial Day is just around the corner, and when you're cleaning the BBQ afterwards and throwing out the season's first box of dud sparklers, then it's officially summer. Sure the calendar doesn’t claim it's summer until late June, but we know that’s it’s totally time for cotton candy, hot dogs, and a trip to the water park.
Forget roller coasters and hit these Top Five New Water Park Rides, opening soon:
· Slick Rock Racer
Dollywood’s Splash Country is all excited about their latest addition. The new Slick Rock Racer sends kids and those who think they are kids down a 300-foot slide with nothing but a foam mat under them. Make sure the bathing suit is tied extra-tight and race against your friends and family across four different lanes.
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It's winter vacation season, and those of us who didn't get any TARP funds have limited travel budgets to work with this year. But while we might not be able to spring for a trip to some luxe Caribbean beach resort, there are plenty of options closer to home where we could get our fix of sun and fun without breaking the bank. USA Today writes about some of the crazy deals available at indoor water parks around the country, where you can bask in constant 86-degree temperatures, splash around in some pretty creative pools, and get your share of ultraviolet rays through huge skylights. It's definitely not something I've ever done before, but after reading about some of the more unique features, I have to admit that I'm intrigued. They look like fun.
Thrill-seekers, get ready to have your stomach turned inside out. The 2009 Golden Ticket Award winners were recently named by Amusement Today newspaper, with the powerhouse Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, snagging the "Best Amusement Park in the World" title for the 12th consecutive year.
As the best amusement park ever, Cedar Point of course has to have the sickest rides. Three placed in the top-ten "Best Steel Roller Coaster" category, with the 310-foot-tall Millennium Force at No. 2, the 20-year-old Magnum XL-200 at No. 9 and the 42-story-tall Top Thrill Dragster at No. 10. But Cedar Point's awards aren't the only thing that lend it coaster cred. Built in 1870, it's the second-oldest amusement park in North America—behind only Lake Compounce in Bristol, Conn. Plus, it has more rides and roller coasters than any park in the world, with 75 rides, including 17 coasters.
Lugging around cash at your favorite theme park is a constant headache, not to mention plain unsafe. If you haven't spent it all on a super slurpie in a "collectible cup" or it wasn't sucked out of your pocket while upside down on a roller coaster, your cash is going to end up soggy from sweat or water rides, or both.
This is just one side effect of a summer visit to the water park, and Precision Dynamics is slowly working to solve our whining and complaining by perfecting the theme park wristband with embedded microchips.
Now when you go to the park you can pay for your churros and t-shirts just by waving your wristband at the kiosk. The embedded chip acts like a cashless payment system, hotel room key, and can even help moms and dads find little Timmy when he’s gone missing. Over 50 theme parks are currently using the device, including Schlitterbahn Water Park and the Great Wolf Lodge chain.
Unfortunately, all this new technology means that you can’t just use the same wristband for the whole week—they’ll be wise to your sneaking in. Of course, these chips will freak out those who are still wary of "big brother," but we're game if it eliminates sweaty dollar bills. Honestly though, we are a tad worried about one thing with these wristbands: that they'd cut off us after the third corn dog.
Related Stories: [Photo: fmckinlay]
· Microchip Wristband Becomes a Theme Park Essential [LAT]
· Disney To (Kinda) Offer Big-Brother Tracking Device [Jaunted]
· Amusement Parks coverage [Jaunted]