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
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0207 GMT (1007 HKT)
Where to pay homage to the cutest local celebrities you'll ever stalk.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
For air travelers who like to gripe about being cramped in economy, here comes another warning that they've never had it so good.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Cream cakes from the Ruszwurm bakery in Budapest, Hungary
Proving they're what's really important, the world's best pastry shops have survived survived sieges, revolutions and World War II.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Lois Pryce ignored naysayers and traveled 3,000 miles via motorcycle to discover the real Iran.
July 17, 2014 -- Updated 0320 GMT (1120 HKT)
Built at a cost of $442.2 million, Universal Studios Japan hopes its new Potter attraction will bring in $55 billion over 10 years.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)
A scene in Marrakech
The gateway to Morocco's Atlas Mountains is becoming a photographer's paradise -- but capturing it on camera isn't easy.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 2136 GMT (0536 HKT)
Cathay Pacific was pronounced the world's best airliner of the year at the industry's leading awards ceremony in Farnborough on Tuesday.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 2044 GMT (0444 HKT)
Britain has stolen a march in the space race with plans for the world's first spaceport outside the U.S.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
In the hunt for the world's best amusement park, the people have spoken -- and it seems the people like mixing with creatures who eat a lot of fish.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 0611 GMT (1411 HKT)
An Hellenic Seaplanes aircraft
Seaplane network set to open up far-flung destinations to affordable jet-setting tours.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 2052 GMT (0452 HKT)
A man who took a dangerous selfie during the running of the bulls in Pamplona, with the half-ton beasts right behind him, is still on the run -- but this time from the police.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 0207 GMT (1007 HKT)
Its cramped rooms and retro lobby are dated, but its charm and devotion to customers are worth preserving.
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 0553 GMT (1353 HKT)
A young girl sits on a bench decorated with an image of Paddington Bear.
As part of a scheme to encourage reading, 50 benches designed in the style of popular novels or kids' stories have been scattered around London.
July 12, 2014 -- Updated 0101 GMT (0901 HKT)
To all the locals who have been hoarding the following beaches, please forgive us.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
Jason Hullinger, a computer security architect in Los Angeles, went to Joshua Tree National Park in December to catch the Geminid meteor shower.
CNN iReporters from across the globe share their incredible images of the skies above us.
ADVERTISEMENT