Feature Article - June 2008
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The Deep End

At Your Leisure
Water Play Features, Splash Playgrounds Among Most Popular Planned Additions

According to the recently published Aquatic Play Feature Handbook from the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF), more than 1,000 facilities in the United States alone currently include aquatic play features like waterslides, wave pools, play features, spray pads and lazy rivers. The NSPF also asserts that this is the fastest-growing segment of the aquatic industry, as traditional pools adopt the lessons learned from the success of waterparks and incorporate more thrilling aquatic elements into their facilities.

Our survey reinforced this assertion, revealing that these types of amenities are the most commonly planned additions at aquatic facilities across the United States. Within the next three years:

  • 13.6 percent of aquatics respondents plan to add a splash playground.
  • 13.2 percent of aquatics respondents plan to add a water play feature.
  • 10.2 percent of aquatics respondents plan to add a waterslide.
  • 5 percent of aquatics respondents plan to add a lazy river.
  • 2.2 percent of aquatics respondents plan to add a wave pool.

Other aquatic play features identified in the handbook, but not measured by our survey, include activity pools, action rivers, vortex pools, continuous surfing pools and others. The handbook defines these features and also deals in depth with the specific water quality and risk management issues that arise when you include such features in your facility.

"Due to the high number of bathers, complicated designs, high exposure to sunlight and large areas, it is more difficult to effectively circulate, filter and chemically treat the water and wet surfaces," the handbook states.

As more complicated aquatic play features are introduced into your pool's environment, be sure to stay up to date on the latest science and suggestions for operating your facility properly.