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Water parks: white knuckle or lazy days?

Beautiful New Zealand is renowned for the outdoor and adventure holiday experiences offered within its unique and rugged environment. Adventurous families especially enjoy activities everyone can participate in, and a water park can provide a welcome addition to any idyllic family holiday.

Why do families love water parks? Simply because there is something fun for all the family – appealing to kids of all ages from tots to teens, and of course adults have fun too. Also, nothing captures a summer holiday quite like speeding down a fun water slide, splashing and screaming at the top of your lungs!

AMG58-AusWaterslidesLeisure-2-300x200 Water parks: white knuckle or lazy days?Water has refreshed and sustained humans since the beginning of time but today’s large-scale water parks are a 20th century invention and one of the best ways to have fun and stay cool. The first official waterpark is thought to be Wet and Wild in Orlando, Florida developed in 1977 by George Millay the creator and founder of Sea World. It is believed to have started the multi-feature park trend with about 1000 in the US alone.

Water parks of all sizes are ever-increasingly popular and are being developed in both smaller domestic type settings, larger accommodations, holiday/activity parks, resorts, or in hotels to meet customer demand.

The best family water park experiences are created by combining just the right mix of rides, attractions and aquatic settings that will have families rushing back time after time. If you are thinking about adding a water park attraction to your accommodation, first you need to consider whether your expansion plans are feasible and if those plans will suit your guests.

If the answer is yes, then you will need someone (a water park expert) to organise your ideas into a safe and functional plan that will work for your brand, accommodation, guests and location. The plan should be designed to maximise your project’s potential while developing the greatest entertainment impact and value possible.

Consider your guest-flow, and to maximise your revenue you should carefully plan the placement of your waterpark to work effectively alongside revenue drivers like food and beverage areas.

Your concept should be designed to meet your guests’ needs and desires but at the same time generate a maximum revenue for you. More than just installing a slippery slide or fabulously flashy new ride, safety, cost, and sustainability are paramount.

Also, remember that with a warming worldwide climate and drought conditions affecting communities across the globe, the creation of a sustainable water park is a priority. In a 2011 column in Environmental Leader Online, Matthew Courtland, senior consultant with The Natural Strategy suggested that all sectors of the economy including waterparks should embrace the current sustainability trend and that “even an industry seemingly at odds with environmentalism can begin moving toward a greener future”.

Matthew Courtland said: “Of the many ways water parks, can incorporate sustainability into their operations, reducing their resource consumption is often the simplest place to begin.”

Moreover, some ways to ensure you have a sustainable waterpark is to consider using a variety of environmentally friendly tools to clean the water, such as a non-invasive micron filtration system along with ozone and carbon technologies. There are also filtration systems available to enable you to recycle your water and of course sustainable solar heating solutions.

AMG58-AusWaterslidesLeisure-Sydney-2000-300x202 Water parks: white knuckle or lazy days?
Tubular waterslide at Olympic Park, Sydney

It is important to think about sustainability before construction: the park should be designed to keep the water in the park and reduce evaporation. New high tech gaskets and sealants ensure the water stays on the inside of the flume and contributes to the longevity of the support structure.

Make sure you seek a water park company that can design and manufacture an innovative waterslide that meets your individual requirements within your budget. Do your research, get advice from other water park clients and visit other water parks. Choose a company that will advise you about concept, design and park operations, one that will complete a feasibility study.

If your water park is designed with safety and constructed accurately for a comfortable ride it gives you peace of mind. Whether you decide to go for a gentle body ride that even toddlers can enjoy, a ‘white knuckle’ ride for the most adventurous guest or a wave machine to knock all your guests off their feet, always make it fun and create a unique addition for your accommodation.

New Zealand’s unique hot spas and mineral pools are enjoyed by all, but the famous award-winning pools at DeBretts Spa Resort in Taupo put families with children at the forefront of their mind when they developed the thrilling dragon hydro slide and two amazing heated curved racing slides, children’s interactive warm water playground, among the private pools, and spa treatments, set in its steaming thermal valley resort.

Their simple plan, to allow adults to relax and rejuvenate in the hot mineral pools while kids participate in a range of fun interactive activities in the naturally heated pools has been a success. This great idea was awarded with tourism innovation, smart business, and online marketing awards in 2015.


Mandy Clarke, Industry Reporter

Mandy Clarke, is an industry reporter for

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