Modern human society thrives on innovation. From the discovery of the wheel to the invention of the hoverboard, humanity has progressed far. The simple fun act of traveling downstream over a log evolved into water parks, where the rides may be artificial, but the fun is natural. Ever since the first water park opened its gates in the 1960s, they have always been a crowd puller. The thrill from an adventure park ride paired with pools of water makes a water park the preferred spot to hit during sweltering heat. While the existing rides are great for drawing in new audiences year on year, they may be less effective in pulling in returning visitors. This is why most water park builders and owners are constantly searching for ‘the next big thing’ or the innovation.
If you, too, are in the same boat, sit back and relax as we list out the recent innovations implemented by different pool slides manufacturers globally and how it brings new experiences to water park visitors.
Water Park Innovations
While most water parks charge you entry fees that cover the rides’ costs, the items in the concession stands are sold separately. This means the visitors need to carry additional money for such purchases, which becomes difficult to handle when they are wet. One workaround is to visit the locker room to collect the money and walk back to the concession stands.
Addressing this impractical idea is the introduction of RFID chips. RFID chips work on radio frequency and are portable enough to be used in wristbands or kept safe in the label of the swimsuit. Since RFID only contains an antenna, which ‘communicates’ with the corresponding devices and doesn’t require an electronic circuit to function, it is easy and safe to embed in wearables. The visitor can top up their account, and the purchases can be made using the RFID bands.
In addition to solving the currency issues, RFID bands can be used for automating rides. By using RFID to move turnstiles, park owners can track guest movements as well as understand visitor behavior. The data collected can be used to improve the park layout, ride placements or design better rides catering to specific demographics.
Eco-friendly Water Treatment plants
Water parks are infamous for being energy-guzzling and playing a negative impact on the environment. A major chunk of the energy spent in water purification, using water pumps to circulate water, and power up the lights. As a step in the right direction, water park owners and builders are making changes towards becoming energy efficient and sustainable. Ample research is ongoing for implementing commercial pool water treatment for their ability to store, clean, and reuse water. Abandoning the age-old chlorination techniques, most water parks are adopting UV disinfectants. Not only does the ultra high radiation wavelength eliminate microbes and harmful bacterias, it also neutralizes the harmful chloramines and prevents them from forming.
Water parks are no longer a bunch of water slides and drop pools. Visitors’ demand for collaborative fun has given rise to new types of signature bowls where a sense of gamification and competition is experienced in the form of group participation. With innovative rides such as Drenlinedrop where you have four visitors playing russian roulette to see who drops into the pool first, while the ride remains the same, the experience prompts the visitors to come back again and again.
Using electromagnetism and induction motors, certain water parks are innovating new rides where the rides propagate opposite to the gravitational pull. Similar to the love tunnel, more and more water parks are implementing rides with captivating storytelling, where they use electromagnets to control the movement of the boat to be in sync with the narration.
3D and 4D movies are a rage among movie goers and some water park manufacturers are experimenting with VR and AR to bring similar exhilarating experience in their rides. The riders wear specialized splashproof VR headsets while moving through a slide for an unique experience. The VR allows the visitors to be transported to any virtual setting and hence offers more choice for the same ride. This motivates the guests to visit again and again.
Another trend catching up in water park innovations is adding lighting around the slide flume to repurpose existing water slides while upscaling the experience. Termed as an extrasensory experience, water parks use light, music, sound effects, projection, 3D mapping, or special effects to create a custom experience for the guests without having to re-inventing the wheel.
Wave Pool Innovations
Irrespective of age, everyone loves a wave pool. Some enjoy the bobbing motion while the adventurous ones like to be the center stage of every new wave. If you think wavepool can’t be innovated, you are terribly uninformed. Using underwater hydrofoils, waves as high as six foot are consistent and ideal for surfing. Those not caring for aesthetics but looking for the real ocean wave feel can go for waves generated using high air pressure to create near-ocean like swirls.
For those with limited real estate can still manage to make most of the available space. By utilizing hybrid rides where you have two, three or four separate rides combining into a single pool, splashbowl, or track path your visitors get the maximum value without compromising on the enjoyment. In sync with the earlier mentioned point of enjoying with friends or family, the multi person rides or the hybrid rides can elevate the experience when you have everyone riding on different rides but ending up together.
Themed Water Parks
The storytelling and power of theming sets theme parks apart from regular adventure parks and most water park builders are harvesting this power while designing water park layouts. Instead of having plain water slides and kiddie rides, water park owners are building their water parks around a central popular theme. This way they are able to attract an audience for both types of parks. Water park enthusiasts enjoy the themed water park rides, while theme park enthusiasts enjoy the overall experience. Additionally, by designing around a central theme, you can attract visitors during the off-season when the water park is closed for winters.
Over the course of years, the waterpark industry is progressing quickly and so have the trends changed. In the hands of a visionary, a water park is no longer an empty plot in the middle of nowhere with some water slides and pools. As per a study by Ibisworld, as of 2021, the market size of the Water Parks industry is $5.3bn, which is an increase of 1.81% from 2020. Another point to be kept in mind is that no matter how vast your water park design may be, unless you have a waterpark builder that shares your vision, it runs into hiccups. Splashtacular is a reputed name in the water park industry and our team uses its maximum capabilities to develop uniquely fun, safe and durable waterslides, water features and aquatic play units – something for everyone to enjoy.