Wet & Wild!
There’s no doubting how much people love to recreate in the water, which makes it somewhat of a surprise that the first waterpark wasn’t built until the late 1970s. George Millay, who founded Sea World in San Diego, opened what is considered the first waterpark, Wet n’ Wild, in Orlando, Fla., in 1977.
Wet n’ Wild might have closed permanently in 2016, but the idea of mixing up relaxing lazy river rides and wave pools with thrilling speed slides, water coasters and surf rides has expanded and evolved over the past 46 years, and there are now well over a thousand parks in the United States alone. What’s more, the waterpark concept has spread its influence broadly, and now many municipalities, which once might have simply built a pool complex with a couple of slides, are getting in on the action with more complex and varied aquatic offerings.
And that’s why once a year we bring you this insider’s guide to waterparks and splash play—to help bring you up-to-date on the latest ideas and offerings. This month, we take a closer look at how those municipal parks manage to operate and grow, and we give you more details on how indoor waterparks bring water fun to everyone, no matter the weather. We also take a closer look at the most recent trends in splash play.
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