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Cooling thoughts for the coming heat wave: top 20 water parks

April 30, 2013|By Brady MacDonald

6) Noah's Ark — With 18 water parks and a population of 2,690, the tiny town of Wisconsin Dells, Wis., rightfully proclaims itself the "water park capital of the world." That's about one water park for every 150 people in town. Noah's Ark, the best known of the bunch, boasts 51 slides including the Black Anaconda water coaster and the Scorpion's Tail looping slide. Billed as "America's largest water park," Noah's Ark also features a shoot-the-chutes water ride and a dive-in movie theater.

5) Schlitterbahn — Located in New Braunfels, Texas, Schlitterbahn has been named the world's best water park for 10 years in a row by Amusement Business, an industry trade publication. The 65-acre water park features multiple Master Blaster water coasters, a stationary wave machine and natural spring-fed tube slides. German for "slippery road," Schlitterbahn operates other water parks in Texas and Kansas.

4) Aquaventure — The Bahamas water park at the Atlantis resort features a trio of Master Blaster water coasters, speed slides built into a Mayan temple, a tunnel slide through a shark-filled lagoon and a mile-long river rapids ride. Aquaventure's Dubai location rivals its sister water park.

3) Wild Wadi — The United Arab Emirates water park in Dubai features eight (yes, eight) Master Blaster water coasters, a pair of stationary wave machines, a heated and cooled wave pool and one of the tallest (108 feet) and fastest (50 mph) free-fall water slides in the world.

2) Yas Waterworld — The United Arab Emirates water park has an Arabian fantasy theme with a back story that celebrates the region's pearl diving heritage. The $245-million water park in Abu Dhabi features two water coasters, a pair of stationary wave machines, a looping slide, a water-dropping suspended roller coaster and a SplashQuest interactive game.

1) Typhoon Lagoon — With 2 million visitors a year, Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., is the most visited water park in the world. The water park features the Crush n Gusher water coaster, surfing lessons in a wave pool and a man-made snorkeling reef populated with stingrays, leopard sharks and tropical fish.

I'd like to thank Theme Park Guy Stefan Zwanzger, Theme Park Review's Robb Alvey and theme park guide Arthur Levine for helping to vet our Top 20 water parks list.

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