To celebrate National Waterpark Day on 28 July, I look at eight of the world’s best waterparks with some top tips to enjoy them all for a fun day out. From award-winning parks to those laying claim to featuring some of the world’s first or largest rides, these are parks where you’re guaranteed to have a splashing good time.
Siam Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands
For an action-packed day out with the whole family, Siam Park in Tenerife takes some beating. The park is regularly voted one of the best in the world and for a number of very good reasons.
The admission price includes complimentary use of sun loungers, tubes, life jackets and umbrellas, and you can rent lockers and towels for a nominal fee. Once you’re changed and have stowed away your belongings, it’s time to get wet and wild.
The Thai-themed water kingdom offers plenty of adrenaline-pumping rides to satisfy the tweens and above, such as the Tower of Power which reaches speeds of 50mph as it passes through tanks of sharks and stingrays.
Younger ones can try out some more sedate options, such as The Lost City with towers, bridges, nets and slides to clamber on. Meanwhile, for the adults, there is the Champagne Club featuring comfortable Balinese beds and an all-inclusive service which includes a bottle of champagne.
Finish off your day with a little hat trick. First off there is Mai Thai River with slow and fast sections to glide past on an inflatable, and then there's Siam Beach featuring the whitest sands out of all the Canary Islands. Once you’ve dried off, stop by the Floating Market, with a Thai-style shopping village, to pick up some obligatory souvenirs.
Click here for a 360-degree tour of the park and plan your day out.
Waterworld Waterpark, Ayia Napa, Cyprus
No, we’re not talking foam parties in Ayia Napa’s popular nightclubs, but the Grecian-themed Waterworld with 35 rides and attractions, nine restaurants and 33 international awards under its belt.
Expect Roman-style pillars, with Greek ruins, shipwrecks and temples as you circuit around the park, which is open from May to October.
Laughter will abound on Chariot Chase, a multi-ride slide perfect for a family of four, as you hurtle down a 70-metre slide into the Atlantis Activity Pool, where rolling logs, lily pads and long stepping stone walks keep the mini-adventurers occupied.
What goes up must come down with The Fall of Icarus, as you career down the hair-raising slide, then ascend upwards towards the sun, just like Icarus, before gliding over humps and bumps until you reach the end with a huge sigh of relief.
There’s a variety of pools to lounge around, while the River Odyssey lazy river is a more gentle option. To stop any boredom setting in, tell the little ones to keep their eyes peeled for Cyclops and the Monster of Scilla.
The park also offers VIP cabanas and suites so you can live like the gods. Special occasion coming up? Book the Mediterranean-styled Thea Suite which features a large living room, television, minibar, dining area, Nespresso coffee maker, a king-sized bed, a whirlpool, changing room and bathroom, with your own private host to take care of your group.
At €600, for up to four people it is a little on the pricey side, but once you factor in standard admission and food and drinks, the value soon becomes apparent, plus you automatically receive a Fast Pass for all the rides to really get your money’s worth!
Slide & Splash, Lagoa, Portugal
A word of warning, you may struggle to tear your children away from the rides in this park!
Slide & Splash is just 30 minutes northwest of Albufeira and is open from April to October. The park can also arrange resort transfers from €9 for a round trip.
Highlights include the new and improved Big Slides Tower featuring seven flumes, the 18-metre-high Kamikaze slides and the Disco River. Disco River features lighting and music to create party vibes as you slide your way to the bottom.
You could be forgiven for thinking that every slide is the same, but as you race around the park intermingled by different slides, flumes and tubes, you’ll soon discover that each one offers a contrasting twist.
As well as the rides, there are a number of nature shows throughout the day starring hawks, eagles, parrots and a range of reptiles.
Makadi Water World, Hurghada, Egypt
There are more than 50 rides at this Red Sea Riviera park.
Little ones should totter on over to the pirate-themed play area for a go on the miniature slides, elephant slides and mini rainbow, while the giant tipping water bucket on the galleon pirate ship will deliver big smiles all round.
The lazy river allows you to take some time out from the exhilarating rides, which range from 19-metre free fallers and a multi-lane racer to unleash your competitive streak.
Daredevils will also love Twister, Space Boat and Turbo Tunnel slides and won’t waste any time getting on for a second time!
The beachfront park also has a wave pool, cannons and waterfalls, as well as some inviting cool and shady spots underneath a palm tree to relax in between all the action.
There is a snack bar onsite to tuck into pizza, pasta, ice cream or waffles and get those energy levels up for another tour of the park.
World Waterpark, Alberta, Canada
There are five acres of water themed areas at World Waterpark at West Edmonton Mall, so you can safely while away a whole day with thrills and spills here.
Practice your surfing skills on the FlowRider wave simulator or soar across the waves on the SkyFlyer - the world’s largest indoor Zipline at 143 metres high.
If you need an adrenaline boost, Cyclone is one of the park’s newest attractions which uses gravity to propel you into vertical drops and 360-degree loops reaching speeds of up to 40mph!
No doubt you’ll have worked up quite the appetite, and you have plenty of quick bite pit stops, including Tiki Dog for a hot dog with all the trimmings, and Beachview Snacks or Coconut Grove for pizza, fries or pretzels to seriously tot up those calories.
After filling up on food, you’ll want some chill out time before hitting the slides again. Relax in the hot tub, or to luxe out, rent your own private cabana with a choice of ten different options, including spaces by the poolside, rooftop lounge or beachfront locations, and you can even book party or family cabanas.
Other entertainment options within the complex, include Marine Life underwater aquarium, indoor amusements at Galaxyland, adventure golf, an ice rink, bowling alley and an escape room, which should take care of those fussy customers who bore easily.
Consider a Multi-Day Attraction Pass to make additional savings.
Wild Wild Wet, Singapore
This place gets full marks for its name alone! Wild Wild Wet at the Downtown East entertainment complex offers all manner of rides, including Ular-Lah, a white water rafting style experience, the Water Works, with two flumes featuring mind-boggling bends as you race your companion to the finish, and even a huge whirlpool to ease those aching muscles.
Free Fall is Asia’s longest freefall water slide with vertical drops transporting you at 15 metres per second, so it's one reserved for the serious thrill seekers in your group.
Your little urchins should waste no time in the science-themed Professor's Playground with its slides, ladders, swings, water cannons and fountains to experiment on.
Even younger ones can still have fun too and enjoy their first water encounter with Yippie! With a depth of just 0.1 metres these are super shallow areas for your tot to paddle in safely and have hours of fun.
At certain times of the year the park is even open after dark on Fridays and Saturdays, from 7pm until 9.30pm, so you can fit in a few hours after a hectic day of sightseeing around the city.
Aqua Fun, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Now for a slight change in tide on the traditional aqua park attraction, Aqua Fun is the world’s largest inflatable waterpark and the perfect place to revive yourself from Dubai’s beating heat.
The floating park juts 20 metres out to sea, with the inflatables spelling ‘I Love Dubai’.
Visitors have over 100 obstacles to navigate across more than 5,000 acres which allow you to run, slide, jump, fall and giggle your way through, all while burning up to 1,300 calories per hour as a test for your strength and agility.
Just be sure to pack some water shoes, as the inflatables get rather hot.
You also have direct access to JBR Beach so you can add the finishing touches to your golden glow before heading back to your resort for the evening.
Groups of four or more pay an average of £24 per person, so it’s a very affordable way to spend a morning or afternoon in between a champagne brunch at one of the city’s luxury hotels.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Orlando, Florida
It’s not just about the slides here, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is home to one of the world’s largest surfing lagoons where waves can reach an incredible two metres high.
You can also enjoy a spot of snorkelling, with a huge saltwater aquarium of fish, coral and plant life endemic to the Caribbean.
The adventurous (or foolhardy, depending on your perspective) can enjoy a dip with sharks, while Gangplank Falls takes families through the rapids of a mega waterslide which should keep those adrenaline levels up high following your shark encounter.
For a high-octane adventure, tweens and older will need to brace themselves for plummeting down Mount Mayday on the Humunga Kowabunga ride with a virtually vertical, five-storey drop in complete darkness.
Next up is the Crush 'n' Gusher, a water coaster which takes you through an abandoned fruit processing plant. Choose your thrill from the Pineapple Plunger, Coconut Crusher or the Banana Blaster and propel yourself downwards on this wild ride with hairpin bends, uphill climbs and plenty of other surprises along the way.
You can count on Disney to deliver something enchanting for the little Mouseketeers, and Ketchakiddee Creek is a water wonderland for those under 1.2 metres tall. With squirting seals, playful elephants and crocodiles lurking in the shallows, it’s quite the whimsical playground.
Then it’s time to let their imaginations run wild, taking aim aboard the S.S. Squirt, pretending to be a pirate for the day.
Six tips for your holiday waterpark adventure:
Check park websites to make sure the park is open before you visit. Not all parks are open year-round and reduced hours are often in operation during shoulder seasons.
Let the younger ones get involved in planning the rides they want to go on to reduce disappointment. Certain rides have health, height and age restrictions, so to avoid any tears on the day, let them prepare for it and plan what they can experience.
Bring some spare bags to contain your soggy swimwear, as not all parks have swimsuit dryers.
Take some spare change with you for renting a locker.
Even water-resistant sun cream needs regular application, so set your alarm at regular intervals to practice good sun safety. Find a shady spot as your base, and wear hats and long, loose clothing when you’re having a break from the rides. Try and time your visit before or after midday to escape the strongest heat of the day.
Many waterparks offer online discounts and special offers when you book directly, versus prices on the gate, so consider booking online before you travel.
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