Water goes with everything. Hotels first realized the benefit of adding an indoor waterpark in 1994, further strengthening the bond between hotels and water leisure. In recent years, malls, zoos and even cruise ships have beefed up offerings with slides, lazy rivers and water play structures. We are drawn to the water, it seems, and more visitor destinations are realizing that.
The traditional waterpark is still popular, but the scope of water play is expanding rapidly. Waterparks are popping up in new, unexpected places. Who would have thought the Black Sea region would be an up and coming waterpark market? And the desert of Las Vegas is now home to two waterparks: Wet ‘n’Wild and Cowabunga Bay.
These are prime examples of how the water leisure industry continues to expand even as access to water sources is tightening and conservation efforts increase. The limited supply of fresh water in many parts of the world will only become more important to communities, media and governments. Our industry must be on the forefront of this issue, or it will come back to haunt us later.
As more markets turn to our industry to help them “just add water” it is up to us to do it responsibly and with an eye towards long-term success and sustainability. • • •
This issue of InPark has a spotlight on zoos and aquariums as well as waterparks. All three types of facilities are geared to families. All are providing ever more integrated attractions and environments. And all are making the most of water features.
Our best zoos and aquariums are always improving, working to create ever-better habitat for the animals in their charge. They also work to foster an emotional connection and learning experience for the humans who visit, to spur and support action on urgent conservation issues and the threat of species extinction.
Water provides a universal connection – something all creatures on Earth need for survival, and seek out for play and respite. As human lives become more urban, and water resources more precious and endangered, both people and animals are affected. There are fewer opportunities to have water experiences in nature.
Waterparks help people fulfill their natural inclination to get in the water to play and relax. Animals have the same needs, and environments that serve animals’ full range of needs and behaviors must include suitable water features. We’re seeing zoos and aquariums accommodate that need more fully, and make the most of the bonding opportunity by designing in ways that people can feel a part of it. Because everyone likes to go for a dip. • • •
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