October 22, 2018 — Six years ago, InPark’s Publisher Martin Palicki noted that the World Waterpark Association’s (WWA) annual convention was being held in a town devoid of waterparks. Much has changed since then, with the introduction of not one, but two major parks. In fact, one of these waterparks, Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas, will host a networking event as the WWA Show returns to Las Vegas this week.
Our waterpark issue from six years ago highlighted major developments with leading industry vendors. WhiteWater had just acquired Hopkins, which helped it transform from a waterpark equipment provider to a more comprehensive attractions company. This transformation has also helped open up new markets, such as zoos and aquariums. WhiteWater has a tradition of providing wave machines to these venues, and its flume rides, a product of the Hopkins acquisition, have become key components to new themed areas highlighting Florida wildlife at both ZooMiami and ZooTampa.
Also in Issue 73 is a profile of the King Cobra from Polin Waterparks, which even this year continues to win awards for its unique design and rider satisfaction. Holiday World’s Mammoth, one of Proslide’s first hydromagnetic watercoasters, is also profiled. The technology can now be found at parks around the world, including the centerpiece attraction of Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay.
Trade shows and conferences run by industry organizations like WWA and IAAPA provide great opportunities for networking, education, and seeing the latest products and technologies. Shortly after Sub Sea Systems displayed its Aquaticar at last year’s IAAPA Attractions Expo, we had the opportunity to be the first journalists to experience it underwater.
What new products and adventures await the waterpark of the future? Stay tuned to InPark in the months ahead to find out. But first join us as we turn back the clocks to 2012 to see where the great products of today began.
Thinking about this issue reminded me of various products, promising differing results if one “just adds water.” Invariably, things will happen, something will grow. It seems like that advice applies to attractions and entertainment too.
Waterparks have been successful for many years, and they continue to be so, in part thanks to longer, hotter summers, but also due to reinvestment in capital. Industry suppliers have no shortage of innovation in developing new ways and experiences to “just add water” to.
Additionally, water is being added in places one might not traditionally find it. Ropes courses, cruise ships, malls…the list continues. Bringing water play into unexpected or untraditional places opens our industry to new markets and new customers.
The one place water hasn’t really caught on seems to be Las Vegas, home of this year’s WWA conference and trade show. Although virtually every resort property comes with some type of glamorous pool, water recreation hasn’t taken off in Sin City. Older waterparks have closed, and plans for new ones seem perpetually slowed or stalled. Maybe it’s because water and expensive slot machines don’t mix, or because casinos want you to spend as much time inside as possible.
Next month, we return to Orlando for IAAPA, where water truly has made things grow. I encourage you, just as I did a few weeks ago, while you are busy bustling around the trade shows to take a few hours if you can and go sit by a pool, go down a waterslide, or lounge in a lazy river, and be reminded why we are in this industry, and why what we do brings smiles to so many faces.
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