National Waterpark Day
annually on July 28th (since 2017)
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions on July 25th, 2017
Water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, swimming pools, splash pads, and water playgrounds are some of the components of waterparks, water-themed amusement parks that can be both relaxing and exhilarating, that are celebrated today with National Waterpark Day. The day was founded by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in 2017. Company spokesperson Travis Nelson said of the day, "We founded National Waterpark Day to commemorate the fun and lasting memories families create at our waterparks every summer."
Kalahari Resorts and Conventions has hosted activities on National Waterpark Day: They have organized family poolside activities, provided DJs who have played summer songs, and offered food and beverage specials. They opened their first waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, in 2000, and later expanded to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, and to Sandusky, Ohio, before opening a waterpark in Round Rock, Texas. Together, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions make up the largest indoor waterparks in America.
Almost all states have at least one waterpark. There are more than 1,000 waterparks in the United States, more than in any other country in the world. There are indoor and outdoor waterparks, and they have even been built in cruise ships! Waterparks vary in what they offer. Some are heavy on waterslides, while others don't have any and are more like spas, being stocked with saunas and steam rooms.
Waterslides predate waterparks and can be viewed as a precursor to them. One of the first waterslides, the Wonderland Water Chute, came into operation in 1906 at the International Exhibition in New Zealand. Wooden "chute boats" went down a track and glided onto Victoria Lake. Similarly, Herbert Sellner created a water-toboggan slide in 1923 in Faribault, Minnesota. It sent riders on wooden sleds gliding into a lake.
The first waterparks were built in the late 1940s and 1950s. An early waterpark of note was the Lake Dolores Waterpark. Located in California near the Mojave Desert, it was built by Bob Byers for his family but eventually opened to the public. It later was abandoned. George Millay, who had founded SeaWorld, opened Wet 'n Wild in 1977. Some considered it to be the world's first true waterpark.
In 1994, Stan Anderson opened the first indoor water park in America, at the Polynesian, his resort in Wisconsin Dells. He inadvertently started a movement, and waterparks continued to proliferate in Wisconsin Dells; it is now known as the "the Waterpark Capital of the World," having more indoor and outdoor waterparks per capita than anywhere else in the world, as well as some of the largest. Noah's Ark, the world's largest waterpark, is located there. Of course, Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, the creators of National Waterpark Day, have their flagship resort located in Wisconsin Dells too. Celebrations take place there and at waterparks around the world today!
How to Observe National Waterpark Day
Head to a waterpark! Bring along some friends and family members and create some new summer memories! There are many waterparks that you could choose from, but visiting one of the Kalahari Resorts and Conventions waterparks is most appropriate. If you make it to one, check to see what special activities they have organized for the day. If you visit the one in Wisconsin Dells, you could also stop at the Polynesian or Noah's Ark. Another way to celebrate is to share what your favorite waterparks are. Make sure to use the hashtag #NationalWaterparkDay with all your social media posts!