Feature Article - September 2004
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Water 101

Tips for squeezing every last drop of success out of your waterpark and splash play area

By Stacy St. Clair

  The Waterpark Bandwagon

Just how popular are waterparks? So popular that everyone wants to get involved with them. While

waterparks began as an off-shoot of the amusement-park industry, they have since evolved into a recreation phenomena. Today the waterpark world includes municipally owned pools with waterpark features, as well as corporately owned, independent and indoor/resort-style waterparks.

But don't take our word for it. The numbers, compiled by the World Waterpark Association, speak for themselves.

  • Number of waterparks in North America: more than 1,000
  • Estimated North American attendance during the 2003 summer season: more than 70 million
  • Estimated number of non-North American waterparks: 600
  • Annual attendance growth: 3 percent
  • First waterpark: Wet 'N Wild in Orlando, Fla. (1977)
  • Largest indoor park in North America: Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
  • Fastest-growing segments of waterpark industry: indoor waterpark resorts and municipally owned waterparks
  • Fastest-growing region: Eastern Europe and East Asia/Pacific Rim