Sunday, October 1, 2023

WhiteWater: Come for the water, stay for the play

WhiteWater leads with elements of fun

by Gene Jeffers

Play matters

Chances are that at any given time somewhere on the planet people are enjoying playing with water and gravity at a WhiteWater attraction. Teenagers and adults rocket down high velocity slides and flumes and surf indoors. Younger kids wade through interactives, sprays and waterfalls. Parents and grandparents join in the fun or watch excitedly from the sidelines. When everyone has a good time, families come for fun, stay the day and promise to return.

Make no mistake. For WhiteWater, creating aquatic amenities has always been serious business. WhiteWater applies scientific research and works with child psychologists to understand how people of all ages play and to find new ways of catering to guest desires. They’ve identified four main types of players: challengers, adventurers, socializers, and dreamers.

AquaFortress 1800 monopole design

Challengers are competitive and want to master a game or a sport, score points, win at something while taking some risks. The journey through the attraction is as important as the destination to the adventurers, who seek novelty and different experiences every time. Socializers enjoy shared experiences, demand quality time spent with friends and family. Dreamers want to let their imaginations soar, want to feel they are in another place or time.

“Play is important for kids, important for whole families,” says Hamid Babaki, whose WhiteWater title is Senior Designer, Play Structure. “We focus on creating play opportunities for each of the four types of players, on designs and approaches that allow each guest to get the most fun out of their time while ensuring the operator’s needs are met.”

Created for play, built for safety

With an expert in-house design team, WhiteWater is an established leader in designing water attractions based on client expectations, safety, throughput, and sustainability. Water attractions face stiff competition in the field, as visitor expectations continue to grow every year. Success comes when an attraction can lure guests in and keep them coming back for more. “We start with the client’s needs, what they wish to offer their guests,” says Zlatko Muminovic, Supervisor, Interactive Play Engineering & Theming at WhiteWater. “We then design and build to maximize engagement opportunities for each of the four types of players and that reinforce the client’s brand or story. Everything is oriented around ensuring every child and every family can have fun. Appealing to all ages and abilities is key to success.”

AquaPlay 1750 with Life Floor, Jungle Bay Waterpark, Dubai, UAE

For operators looking to get their feet wet for the first time in the water attraction business, WhiteWater’s cost-effective Ready-to-Play structures offer plenty of fun and play opportunities to keep entire families engaged all day. Offering three different themes – beach, tropical, or pirate – and five different sizes, this pre-designed product line has the shortest lead time and fastest commissioning, and features highly interactive elements with classic theming.

More demanding brand challenges may require entirely new, bespoke approaches. “Some requests are more special than others, seeking to put guests right in the middle of an IP. One of the most challenging requests came from the new Aqua Nick at Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Riviera Maya,” says Kelly Williams, Manager, Product Systems, WhiteWater. “To provide some brand authenticity, they wanted geysers and everything else to mimic Nickelodeon’s famous green slime.” This unique collaboration was a success. “To watch guests’ faces when the green ‘slime’ hit them, just like on the TV shows, was priceless,” says Williams.

Obviously the further you move from a known and tested solution, the greater the risks and associated costs. That’s where WhiteWater’s solid track record helps build trust. The company has decades of success designing and testing new products and approaches, always with safety, durability and futureproofing in mind. They apply experience and science, and use motion simulation software to understand how a ride will move before it is built. Computer simulations are then constantly checked against reality by strapping accelerometers on an engineer and launching them through the ride once built. Years of real-world data has refined the system and helped to improve the accuracy of its predictions, ultimately improving the design and engineering for each of their products.

The catalog grows with AquaFortress

Launched at IAAPA Expo 2022, AquaFortress is a multi-level play structure system that appeals to all four play types by offering adventure, communal experiences, exploration, and competitive opportunities. Easily modified, upgraded or rethemed to suit owner desires, it is heavily futureproofed due to its galvanized carbon steel construction. With a minimal monopole design, AquaFortress preserves ample, open ground space ideal for circulation and ground-based interactive toys. These ground-based toys improve inclusion for those with mobility issues but also enable parents to interact with their children without getting soaked. Using some of WhiteWater’s iconic inner tube slides, AquaFortress serves as a full-featured, starter waterpark with a variety of experiences for all different types of players and all age groups from young toddlers all the way up to adults.

AquaFortress expands and complements a broad range of impressive offerings. Sized to fit any footprint, budget, and capacity requirement, the AquaPlay line delivers high play value with plenty of interactive play features, water sprays, and water slides. Clients can request custom theming or choose from a library of immersive themes.

The RainFortress line comes in three models, each bigger than the last. Scalable in design, operators can start small and expand to a larger model later. RainFortress installations feature a mix of kids’ slides and more thrilling rides, plus over 100 water play features.

Taking AquaPlay multi-level water play structures to the next level, FusionFortress adds an even greater range of award- winning water slides for all levels of players. A tightly organized waterpark in a compact footprint, this line’s multiple levels of fun will engage entire families for hours.

FusionFortress 15, Chimelong Water Park, Guangzhou, China

Playing in the water has, perhaps, never been so much fun. Players explore, slide and splash, take imaginative journeys and make new friends. With no queue lines, these multi-level water play structures and splash pads feature interactive fun and stress-free adventures for guests of all ages. Each product provides a different mix of ways to play.

Building your future aquatic play

Adoption of WhiteWater’s Aquatic Play is increasing around the world as venue operators realize how central the act of play is to the waterpark experience. Aquatic Play structures act as meeting and gathering points, bringing families together through play, increasing their enjoyment and extending their stay in the park. Today’s product offerings are built on a foundation of experience, creativity, customer service and the love of play.

Founded in 1980, and today with more than 400 employees, WhiteWater has installed more than 5,000 innovative and entertaining aquatic attractions for partners around the world. With an “attitude is everything” approach to hiring, WhiteWater has assembled an army of “can do” teams focused on providing exceptional design and service while offering outstanding customer support to clients. The team works to always maintain its intense focus on the fundamentals of safety, durability, adaptability, creativity and futureproofing. From the most experienced veterans to the newest recruits, this cadre of dedicated people make the WhiteWater difference.

“We speak of ourselves as a family, not only because we are a family business, but because so many individuals stay at WhiteWater for years and decades,” says Babaki. “We’ve all joined this amazing team of creators, engineers and fabricators for different reasons, but we all have one primary purpose: we are serious about the business of play.”

From park planning and design to manufacturing, installation and maintenance, WhiteWater provides comprehensive service solutions to transform park visions into vibrant realities. Whether designing and developing a new park, or maintaining or upgrading an existing one, the firm is dedicated to creating world-class play-inducing amusement, theme, and water park attractions.

To learn more about the benefits of Aquatic Play or get ahold of the WhiteWater team, visit • • •

FusionFortress 10, OCT Xiangyang, Xiangyang, China
Gene Jeffers
Gene Jeffers
Gene Jeffers, former (2001-2013) TEA Executive Director, is currently serving as a Board member for the Greater San Gabriel Pomona Valleys American Red Cross and serves on the Board of the Historical Novel Society. He continues to write in a variety of genres. Based in Pasadena, Gene and his wife Carol (also a writer) are looking forward to traveling again and spending more post-COVID time with their two daughters, son-in-law and three grandchildren.

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