Skip to main content

12 of the world's best water parks

By Tamara Hinson, for CNN
July 31, 2013 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
This Thai-themed water park offers surf lessons in the wave pool, which is capable of creating waves up to nine feet (three meters) high. This Thai-themed water park offers surf lessons in the wave pool, which is capable of creating waves up to nine feet (three meters) high.
HIDE CAPTION
Siam Park (Tenerife, Spain)
Aquaventure Waterpark (Dubai, UAE)
Aquatica (Orlando, Florida)
Area 47 (Innsbruck, Austria)
Beach Park (Fortaleza, Brazil)
Caribbean Bay (Gyeonggi-do, South Korea)
Tropical Islands (Krausnick, Germany)
Watercube Waterpark (Beijing)
WaterWorld Waterpark (Ayia Napa, Cyprus)
Wet 'n Wild (Orlando, Florida)
World Waterpark (Alberta, Canada)
Yas Waterworld (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World's second-largest indoor water park found in Alberta, Canada
  • Watercube Waterpark in Beijing is China's second-most popular attraction, after Great Wall
  • Tropical Islands water park in Germany housed inside largest free-standing hall in the world

(CNN) -- Some of us are lucky enough to live within a rogue inflatable ball's reach of the world's best beaches.

Some of us can paddle out for a ride on the greatest waves on a whim.

For those of us who live further inland, or prefer something less salty, there are still watery joys to be had, in the form of the world's best water parks.

Aquatica (Orlando, Florida)

One enormous wave pool obviously wasn't enough for the team behind Aquatica, so they built two, side by side.

Elsewhere, the Dolphin Plunge water slide takes passengers on a white-knuckle ride through a dolphin-filled aquarium and riders brave enough to take on the Omaka Rocka blast down a series of flumes and funnels.

There's a sandy beach covered with 1,360 tons of soft, white sand and South Seas-inspired gardens with more than 60,000 species of plants.

Aquatica, 5800 Water Play Way, Orlando, Florida; +1 888 800 5447

Aquaventure Waterpark (Dubai, UAE)

As of 2013, this Middle East water park is home to the world's widest water slide, the Middle East's longest river ride (2.3 kilometers in length) and the Middle East's longest zip line.

The park's other attractions include several water coasters, a 2,296-foot-long (700 meters) private beach and the Shark Lagoon, where visitors can hand-feed rays.

Aquaventure, Crescent Road, The Palm, Dubai, UAE; +971 4 426 0000

Area 47 (Innsbruck, Austria)

An Alpine lake is the location for this outdoor water park, which opens from April to the end of September.

There are water rides, a diving tower and a hydro-speed slide.

On dry land there's a high-ropes course, bridge swing and climbing wall.

Area 47, Ötztaler Achstrasse 1, Ötztal Bahnhof, Austria; +43 5266 8 76 76

Related: Top water parks of the United States

Beach Park (Fortaleza, Brazil)

Beach Park\'s Insano is the world\'s tallest and fastest water slide.
Beach Park's Insano is the world's tallest and fastest water slide.

Beach Park's most famous ride is Insano, which ranks as the world's tallest (135 feet/41 meters) and fastest (65 mph/104 kph) water slide.

Equally petrifying is Kalafrio, a giant half-pipe slide.

Younger visitors can check out an enormous big top-themed play area or the Acqua Show, with water cannons, synchronized water jets and eight water slides just for kids.

Beach Park, Rua Porto das Dunas, Fortaleza, Brazil; +55 85 4012 3000

Caribbean Bay (Gyeonggi-do, South Korea)

You'll find four looping water slides and an enormous wave pool at this South Korean water park, alongside more traditional attractions such as hot spring pools.

Exhausted visitors can power nap in one of the water park's sleeping rooms, which have purified air and beds carved from energy-boosting jade.

Caribbean Bay, 310 Jeondae-Ri, Pogok-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea; +82 2 759 1940 7 

Siam Park (Tenerife, Spain)

Siam Park is a Thai-themed water park on the island of Tenerife.

The park's most popular ride is the 91-foot-high (27 meters) Tower of Power, on which riders plunge down a vertical drop before shooting through an aquarium filled with stingrays and sharks.

A lazy river and surf lessons in the park's wave pool offer slightly more sedate activities.

Siam Park, Avenida Siam Park, Costa Adeje, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain; +34 902 060 000

Tropical Islands (Krausnick, Germany)

Housed inside the largest free-standing hall in the world -- the structure was originally built as a hangar for dirigibles -- Tropical Islands can accommodate 6,000 visitors a day and has one of the world's largest indoor pools, measuring 656 feet (200 meters) in length.

Away from the water, there's a rainforest with 50,000 plants, a hotel and a nightclub. It's even possible to go for a balloon ride -- all without stepping outside.

Tropical Islands, Tropical-Islands-Allee 1, Germany; +49 35477 605050

Watercube Waterpark (Beijing)

As fun to look as it is to ride.
As fun to look as it is to ride.

All of the rides at Watercube Waterpark were designed overseas and shipped in.

Highlights include the funnel-shaped Tornado ride, Aqualoop slide and Bulletbowl, where riders shoot down an enclosed slide into a huge bowl.

Visitors should keep an eye out for the enormous jellyfish and clouds of bubbles suspended from the ceiling.

Happy Magic Watercube, Olympic Park, BeiChen Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing; +86 010 8437 2030

WaterWorld Waterpark (Ayia Napa, Cyprus)

Foam parties aren't the only way to cool off in Ayia Napa.

The WaterWorld Water Park has a Grecian theme, with lots of pillars and Trojan horse-shaped monuments.

Poseidon's Wave Pool has Greek ruins, geysers and shipwrecks, the River Odyssey lazy river has crumbling stone pillars and the vertigo-inducing Drop to Atlantis shoots riders out of an enormous Roman temple.

WaterWorld Waterpark, 18 Ayia Thekla Road, Ayia Napa, Cyprus; +357 23 724444

Wet 'n Wild (Orlando, Florida)

Visitors are spoiled for choice at Wet 'n Wild.

In addition to various scream-fest water rides, there's a huge sandcastle-themed children's area (reportedly the largest family water play area in Florida), a wave pool and lazy river.

One the most popular rides is Disco H20. Passengers on this four-person tube ride float along to a soundtrack of 1970s hits accompanied by disco balls and flashing lights.

Wet 'n Wild, 6200 International Drive, Orlando, Florida; +1 407 351 1800

World Waterpark (Alberta, Canada)

Canada\'s very own greenhouse effect.
Canada's very own greenhouse effect.

Located inside Alberta's West Edmonton Mall, this is the world's second-largest indoor water park and has the world's largest indoor wave pool, with 2.7 million gallons of water.

Attractions include a looping water slide and Blue Thunder, a bungee jump tower suspended over the wave pool.

World Waterpark, 1755, 8882 170 St., Edmonton, Canada; +1 780 444 5313

Yas Waterworld (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Opened in 2013, Yas Waterworld has 43 rides and attractions, including five unique water slides created specially for the park.

These include Dawwama, the world's first hydro-magnetic-powered water slide (the hydro-magnetic technology offers a longer, smoother ride, according to the manufacturer) and the Bandit Bomber, a 1,804-foot-long (550-meter) water coaster.

Visitors can hang ten on the world's largest FlowBarrel surf simulator, or take a spin on Liwa Loop -- the Middle East's only looping water slide.

Yas Waterworld, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE; +971 2 414 2000

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
A foreign language can be the best aphrodisiac, so we traveled the world in search of the hottest accents.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
Hidden from the rest of the world for decades, Myanmar's Lethwei boxing is experiencing a revival globally.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1117 GMT (1917 HKT)
This aging cargo work whale makes more than 60 flights each week, carrying parts for all of the Airbus programs.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1132 GMT (1932 HKT)
Vikings, vicious politics and vindaloo curries -- Scotland isn't all tartan and bagpipes.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0026 GMT (0826 HKT)
Former brothels, public toilets and war bunkers now provide eccentric watering holes for those willing to drink deep.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0304 GMT (1104 HKT)
Ushaka Marine World, Durban, South Africa
Joburg is trendy, Cape Town is glamorous, but Durban has style -- and a restaurant inside a shark tank.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0756 GMT (1556 HKT)
Tirana's nightlife
Former Tirana stronghold of a totalitarian leader now home to a pulsing clubs and bar scene.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1305 GMT (2105 HKT)
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
September 1, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1306 GMT (2106 HKT)
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
September 6, 2014 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
ADVERTISEMENT