Travel and Leisure — February 19, 2015 at 5:00 am

6 of the World’s Greatest Water Parks

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For those times when getting to the beach just isn’t possible, water parks tend to be the next best thing. Especially when they’re the kind of water park that has left no stone unturned in the quest to create the most incredible aquatic experience ever. From record-breaking wave pools to slide that propel riders through exotic aquariums, we’ve covered the full range with our round up of the absolute best water parks out there.

Aquaventure, Dubai, UAE
If there’s one thing that you can be sure of, it’s that in Dubai, nothing is done halfway. This, as evidenced by Aquaventure, includes water parks. Situated at The Palm resort, this massive tribute to all things h20 has something for everyone and we mean everyone. Thrill-seekers will get a kick out of The Tower of Neptune, Aquaconda, Zoomerango, and Poseidon’s Revenge, water slides meant to test the limits of bravery (and the human body). River rides throughout the park connect various attractions and include rapids and tidal surges. Smaller visitors are welcome to take advantage of the myriad of kid-friendly attractions in the Splasher’s Children Play Area which is full of play structures and water features that will leave even the most energetic family members exhausted by the end of the day. Throw in zip lines, shark tanks, and interactive exhibits and you’ve got yourself a completely unforgettable experience of a lifetime.

Happy Magic Watercube, Chaoyang District, Beijing
If the name doesn’t draw you in, the trippy architecture and incredible design certainly will. With attractions like the Tornado, Bulletbowl, and Aqualoop, daredevils will be able to get their fix all in a climate controlled environment. There’s also a fabulous kids area, spa pools, a lazy river, and a wave pool in addition to plenty of amazing food options and highly-trained staff to ensure that your day goes off without a hitch. The clever Splash Cash wristband system means that instead of carrying your wallet, you simply load the band with money and use it to purchase anything on site. The bands are waterproof so you don’t have to worry about getting them wet and if you don’t spend all the money, it’s refunded at the end of your day.

Typhoon Lagoon, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
An oldie but a goodie, Typhoon Lagoon will never disappoint. Part of Disney’s empire, this water park has been around since 1989 and has only gotten bigger and better with age. Grab the whole family and take a ride on Gangplank falls, a raft ride that accommodates up to 4 riders per inner tube. Humunga Kowabunga is a 5-story drop slide that takes place in the dark, making it the ultimate ride for proving your worth as a fearless water park warrior. Shark Reef is another unique attraction, offering visitors the chance to swim with the fish in a 362,000 gallon saltwater pool featuring a man-made coral reef and front-row access to some of the coolest sea creatures around.

Skara Sommarland, Skara, Sweden
Nestled amidst towering pines, Sommarland is a well-equipped water park within a theme park that features plenty of attractions to keep every member of the family entertained. Well-maintained facilities and tons of heart-stopping slides make it the ideal place to spend a summer day, especially when the mercury rises. For the fearless, consider a ride on Big Drop which boasts a terrifyingly awesome free-fall that promises to stick in your memory long after you’ve gone home. The competitive types will love Racer, where you and other riders are matched up in a race to the finish line on magic carpets that glide across the water. Throw in good food, live shows, and camping and you’ve got yourself all the ingredients for a perfect Swedish summer getaway.

World Water Park, Edmonton, Canada
Not only is it home to the world’s largest wave pool, a ton of breathtakingly terrifying slides, an indoor surf spot, and private beach front patio rentals, World Water Park just so happens to be located in a mall. And not just any mall, we’re talking about the largest shopping centre in North America, home to over 800 stores and tons of attractions, restaurants, and other incredible amenities. World Water Park is the second largest indoor water park in the world and boasts fabulous features like a huge children’s area, a loop slide, and close proximity to Sea Life Caverns where you can catch performances by the 3 sea lions who call the massive salt water habitat home. Edmonton can get mighty cold during the winter months which makes this aquatic wonderland a prime destination for those looking to escape, if only for a few hours.

Wet’n’Wild Water World, Gold Coast, Australia
Open year round, Wet’n’Wild Water World is home to a dazzling array of thrill rides that promise to thoroughly rattle the bones of even the most experienced water slide rider. Take the Aqualoop, for instance. A 40 foot free fall drop, a full loop, and dizzying speeds make for the kind of ride you won’t soon forget. Or try the Black Hole, which has riders hurtling through complete darkness in a series of twists, turns, and drops that are most certainly not for the weak of heart. If non-stop thrills aren’t your thing, take comfort in the fact that Wet’nWild Water World also features plenty of more relaxing activities. Calypso Beach takes visitors on a lazy river ride through tropical gardens and pirate castles or you can always head to Whirlpool Springs, a soothing oasis of relaxing waters that will ease all your worries.

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