As morning dew transforms to morning frost, travelers start daydreaming of the sun’s warming rays, and they begin planning their next vacation to someplace hot, maybe even exotic to escape the dropping temperatures. When visiting your upcoming warm-weather getaway, why not take complete advantage of the outdoor experience with a visit to the many water parks located in those vacation hotspots? Although the United States boasts more than 1,000 water parks, the most out of any country in the world, there are around 600 water parks located throughout the rest of the globe, according to the World Waterpark Association.
Santa Lucia Bay is not only an exotic and growing tourist destination, but is also home to CICI Water park, a 5.2-acre park with frequent tourists and locals. The water park’s initials stand for the Centro Internacional de Convivencia Infantil, International Center for Childhood Coexistence, named to maintain a 1982 governor’s vision of a place where children around the world could come and play together.
Today, the water park is a place where both children and adults enjoy themselves. Adult guests delight in drinks and views of the bay from the Club de Playa restaurant and ride some of the faster-paced rides such as the 105-foot “Sky Coaster” or “Tornado” bowl waterslide. If adults seek a more relaxing experience, the recently added “Nestle Magico Helium Balloon” provides a great view of the bay and park from 360 feet.
For those with children, CICI’s dolphin swim is the perfect afternoon activity. Guests can swim with two bottle-nosed dolphins, Mauricio and Maite, see them do tricks, feed them, and even get kisses. If that doesn’t wet your appetite, try one of three waterslide towers in the park or the 60-meter wave pool. General admission is only $10 and Magic Passports, which include general admission, the dolphin show, and a meal, are only $17.
The Bahamas Beckon
The mythical island of Atlantis was rumored to be the perfect society and paradise. For many, the Bahamas also reflects this sort of “fantasy” destination. Atlantis, the resort and water park destination in the Bahamas, combines both paradises into one large water getaway. The major draw of this park is its expansive water attractions; there’s a nearby beach and more than 11 million gallons of fresh and salt-water pools, lagoons, and waterfalls. Within these bodies of water, you can snorkel and see more than 200 species of marine life.
Your last concern should be where you’re going to stay. There are more than 2,300 guest accommodations in Atlantis’ three main hotel towers — the Royal Towers, Coral Towers, and Beach Towers. There are 35 restaurants, bars, lounges, and a casino surrounding these hotels to entertain guests when they aren’t at the water park.
Within Atlantis, a life-size replica of an ancient Mayan temple dominates the landscape. Connected to this temple are five different waterslides including the “Leap of Faith,” a 60-foot, near-vertical-drop slide that runs from the top of the temple through a tunnel, which travels through a shark-filled lagoon. Atlantis is in the process of expanding its park and accommodations and is expecting another waterslide tower soon that will be known as the Power Tower, rising 120 feet above the ground. Some of the great features of this new waterslide tower will be the tidal wave river, which pumps riders through eight-foot elevations and drops, and the four waterslides all use “master blaster” technology -- this uses jets of water to give riders a boost up and down hills at fast speeds.
After sightseeing at Buckingham Palace, visiting Big Ben, and crossing the London Bridge, head to one of the most innovative and exclusive water parks in England, Blackpool Sandcastle, where the world’s longest indoor rollercoaster waterslide and the world’s only indoor sidewinder reside.
For around $13 to $17, guests can visit these wonders of the water park world. The Masterblaster, the world’s longest indoor rollercoaster waterslide is the first uphill water rollercoaster. Water jets propel riders up inclines by pumping out water at 532,642 gallons per hour, according to the park. The sidewinder is a vertical drop ride that drops riders off a platform and into a giant U-shaped slide, which looks similar to a skateboarder’s half-pipe. Riders can fall as quickly as the ride will allow; some say the ride has propelled riders as fast as thee G’s.
Other rides include the “HMS Thudersplash,” a wet deck with water jets and cannons, “Duelling Dragons,” serpentine waterslides, and the “Typhoon Lagoon,” a super-sized wave pool.
Vacation Destinations You Should Book
Do you like traveling to places most people don’t? Do destinations in National Geographic sound more fun than Paris, Rome, or the Bahamas? Take a trip to an obscure destination and let water parks guide your itinerary.
Visit Turkey and Club Alibey, the aquapark opened by the country's leading resort group. The park was a 1999 project of business people who were looking to combine the harmony of water with the recreation and energy of children and water. Their philosophy, “Fun from 7 to 70,” is definitely met with the park’s features — they have six pools, 17 waterslides, and in-pool activities that cater to every age group and family. Its “Family Slide,” a 656-foot slide that winds into the splash pool and “Freefall,” the fastest slide in the park that lets guests fall at a 70-degree angle into a 98-foot runway, are just glimpses of what this park has to offer. For younger children, there is a kid’s area of pools, toys, themed slides, and playgrounds. For slightly older children, there are junior freefall slides, junior rafting, and junior body slides to provide more excitement, but maintain safety and reassurance for parents.
Or, how about traveling to South Africa to visit the largest marine-themed park on the continent? With 14 hectares of prime beach front, uShaka has fresh and salt-water areas where marine life is studied and preserved. uShaka is home to the South African Association for Marine Biological Research and famous Oceanographic Research Institute. In addition to some pretty cool marine life, there’s lots of life inside the water park. uShaka Wet ‘n Wild has a range of water rides from the “Kamikaze,” a five-lane racer slide to the “Super Tube,” a 450-meter adventure river ride around the park. When waterslides become too much, go shopping, have a meal in the Cargo Hold and Upper Deck, or check out action at the surf action at the beach.
No matter the destination, don’t limit yourself to water parks within the country. Fun translates across borders. And where there’s fun, water parks will most likely be the source.