Waves: Keeping the Fun Flowing for Families at Waterparks

By Karen Appold

A trip to a waterpark should be fun for the entire family. With this in mind, waterparks design rides that the entire family can enjoy together.

Pelican Harbor in Bolingbrook, Ill., which has about 125,000 visitors a year, has four water slides (two body and two tube slides) outdoors and two body slides indoors. “We also have a drop slide and diving board, sand play area, beach volleyball, spray play area and a large zero-depth main pool,” said Tim Jaskiewicz, aquatic manager. “Most of these areas are fun places where the entire family can hang out together.”

The newest water ride at Luna Park in Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y, is this Watermania attraction from Zamperla. Reminiscent of the classic tea cups ride, each passenger is seated in front of a water blaster.

The newest water ride at Luna Park in Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y, is this Watermania attraction from Zamperla. Reminiscent of the classic tea cups ride, each passenger is seated in front of a water blaster.

The majority of Pelican Harbor’s guests are from the Bolingbrook Community, but a lot of guests are from the surrounding area, including Naperville, Plainfield, Lemont and Chicago, as well as many other communities. Bolingbrook is a very quick-growing and diverse community with 34,000 residents.

During a visit to Big Surf Waterpark, the entire family can enjoy a variety of attractions. “Some of the best ones are slides that allow for double tubes in which two riders can enjoy the slide together,” said Bob Pena, general manager, Big Surf Waterpark, Tempe, Ariz. They include The Black Hole, a dark enclosed tube ride that is not for the faint of heart, and Kilauea Cove Slides. “Enjoy the view from the top of this slide, as it won’t last long as you come careening down big curves inside of this enclosed tube.” Another great feature is the Tornado Twisters, where family members can race side-by-side down the body slide.

Big Surf Waterpark serves the greater Phoenix metro area, which includes Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, Gilbert and several other communities. Annual visitation is 125,000.

At Luna Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn, N.Y., Watermania, which made its world premiere at the park during the 2013 season and is one of the largest capacity rides in Coney Island, is a family favorite. Featuring 12 four-seater cars, Watermania is reminiscent of dueling tea cups, with each passenger seated in front of a water blaster.  “This attraction also features interactive cannons for non-riders to soak friends and family who are on the ride,” said Alberto Zamperla, president and CEO of ride manufacturer Zamperla S.p.A. Luna Park operates on a seasonal basis and has an annual visitation of nearly one million visitors.

Another water ride for the family offered at Luna Park is Wild River, which features a log-style boat that gives guests both a refreshing water ride and a thrilling 40-foot plunge.

Ilya Girlya, president and CEO, Sahara Sam’s Oasis, West Berlin, N.J., said the park has many attractions that the whole family can ride together. Inside the facility are raft rides that allow parents and children to enjoy slides as a family unit. There are body slides, tube slides, kiddie slides and a lazy river. Outside, the whole family can spend time together in the children’s splash zone and in a massive wave pool.

Sahara Sam’s Oasis is located a short distance from some very dense markets. It is roughly 20 minutes from the Philadelphia area and a little over an hour’s drive from New York. “The location is great for families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and plan a relaxing day trip without worrying about the weather,” said Girlya, who added that the park is located under a massive retractable roof system. “We close the roof in the winter and on rainy days, then keep it open in the summer to make the best of the fantastic weather. It’s always 84 and sunny at Sahara Sam’s!”

Guests looking for a more leisure activity at Myrtle Waves Water Park, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., may choose the giant Ocean in Motion Wave Pool or the one-mile long Lazee River, which is surrounded by lush greenery. “Families can enjoy their day playing in Bubble Bay, a bubbly leisure pool perfect for the littlest swimmers or at Saturation Station, where a 700-gallon volcano erupts water to soak those nearby,” said Krishelle Hancock, vice president of market development, PARC Entertainment, LLC, Jacksonville Fla. For slide-seekers, Myrtle Waves offers speed slides in varying sizes for kids and adults plus open-air and enclosed raft slides.

Myrtle Beach, S.C., has more than 14 million visitors each season. As a beachfront community, Myrtle Beach offers miles of sand and surf, but also has attractions for families to enjoy, plus many shopping and dining options. Myrtle Waves Water Park has 110,000 visitors each summer season, which runs mid-May through mid-September. –

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