As America’s enjoyment of waterparks grows, new construction of waterparks continues and the facilities are great options for religious youth and family events. Two trends are at work with waterpark growth, according to the World Waterpark Association:

  • Indoor Waterpark Resorts. One of the two top segments of waterpark-industry growth is the indoor waterpark hotel, according to Aleatha Ezra, director of WWA park member development. Waterpark resorts help to keep hotel rooms filled when business travelers head for home, while offering families a quick, fun getaway.
  • Municipal-Owned Waterparks. While most major markets have a mega waterpark, cities still have plenty of room for public venues, Ezra says. These facilities don’t match the big waterparks for size and thrills, but the local waterparks whet the appetite of families for bigger, more thrilling rides and have come to replace the role of the city pool.

New at many of the big waterparks are “funnel rides,” impressive-looking creations that send passengers in four-person cloverleaf tubes down a steep tunnel and into an enormous funnel. The tubes climb back and forth along the walls and produce free-floating sensations before water jets shoot them out the narrow end of the funnel.

Venue News: Waterparks Update

Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix: Phoenix

The News: The 25-acre WaterWorld Safari water park in Phoenix is under new management and reopened in June as Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix.

CoCo Key Water Resort at the Holiday Inn: Waterbury, Conn.

The News: A 50,000-square-foot indoor waterpark resort opened in late 2008. The hotel has 282 guest rooms, 22 meeting rooms, and nearly 39,000 square feet of meeting space.

Waves of Fun: Sandwich, Ill.

The News: A 50,000-square-foot indoor waterpark resort adjacent to the Best Western Timber Creek Inn & Suites is scheduled to open in late 2009. The hotel has 100 guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.

Schlitterbahn Vacation Village: Kansas City, Kan.

The News: A 40-acre park will open this summer. It is phase one of a development that will include a hotel resort and a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex.

CoCo Key Water Park at Courtyard by Marriott Fitchburg: Fitchburg, Mass.

The News: A 55,000-square-foot indoor waterpark resort opened in late 2008. The hotel has 245 guest rooms, nine meeting rooms, and 71,000 square feet of meeting space.

Sahara Sam's Oasis: West Berlin, N.J.

The News: A 72,000-square-foot indoor waterpark has opened. This freestanding park is not part of a hotel or resort.

The Cascades: Cortland, N.Y.

The News: A 41,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, part of Hope Lake Lodge Resort at Greek Peak, is scheduled to open in fall 2009.

Great Wolf Lodge Concord: Concord, N.C.

The News: A new resort with an 80,000-square-foot waterpark opened in April. The resort features a 20,000-square-foot conference center with five meeting rooms.

Cowabunga Bay: Draper, Utah

The News: A new outdoor waterpark opened in June.

Chaos Water Park Resort: Eau Claire, Wis.

The News: A 30,000-square-foot indoor waterpark resort has opened. The Metropolis Hotel is part of the resort.

Did You Know?

  • The largest indoor waterpark in the U.S. is the 173,000-square-foot park at Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio.
  • The world’s first (and largest) indoor waterpark is the 225,000-square-foot World Waterpark in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The waterpark opened in 1986 as part of a shopping mall.