Since their early days in the 1940s and 50s, water parks have only grown in popularity. Now, there are world-class water parks all over the world, from North America and Latin America to Europe and Asia.
Well established markets, such as Europe and North America boast some of the top facilities in the world. For example, Therme Erding in Germany and Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World in Florida. Meanwhile, Asia is home to some newcomers that are rising in popularity, like Chimelong Water Park and Wuhu Fantawild Water Park in China. Many newer water parks have also entered the market in the Middle East in recent years.
Here, blooloop showcases the 17 top water parks across the globe, measured by attendance.
1 Chimelong Water Park, Guangzhou, China
Chimelong Water Park in Guangzhou became the world’s most popular water park just a few years after it opened in 2007. The aquatic attraction features colourful slides and tubing rides, as well as music and dance performances.
Chimelong Water Park is part of a resort that is also home to two hotels, Chimelong Paradise, Chimelong Safari, and International Circus. In 2014, Chimelong International Ocean Resort opened on Hengqin Island in Zhuhai, China.
Su Zhigang founded the Chimelong Group’s original theme park in 2006. Chimelong’s resort in Guangzhou and Chimelong International Ocean feature world-class attractions, including a new family-friendly play and climbing area at Chimelong Water Park.
Chimelong Group is also constructing the Qingyuan Chimelong International Forest Resort and is opening a marine science park called Zhuhai Chimelong Marine Park in 2021. This is part of the second phase of Chimelong International Ocean Resort.
2019 attendance – 3,014,000
2 Typhoon Lagoon, Disney World, Florida, US
Typhoon Lagoon is a water park located at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista. It is one of two water parks operating at the resort and was the second to open following Disney’s River Country. This closed in 2001.
The water park in Florida opened back in 1989. It is inspired by a tropical paradise, with decor including ships, fishing tackle and surfboards. Typhoon Lagoon’s sister water park, Blizzard Beach, first opened its gates in 1995.
Typhoon Lagoon attractions include waterslides such as ‘Crush ‘n’ Gusher’, ‘Bay Slides’, and ‘Storm Slides’. There’s also a lazy river called ‘Castaway Creek’, as well as family-friendly water rides, and the largest wave pool in North America.
2019 attendance – 2,248,000
3 Blizzard Beach, Disney World, Florida, US
Blizzard Beach, the aforementioned sister attraction at Walt Disney World Resort, was the third water park to debut at Disney’s Orlando property in 1995. Prior to the pandemic, Blizzard Beach temporarily closed for enhancements.
Blizzard Beach was originally going to become the first ski resort in Florida, but it ended up waterlogged and rebranded as a water park. The majority of its attractions are located atop an artificial hill of 90 feet called Mount Gushmore.
Walt Disney World Resort recently reopened Blizzard Beach, which had been closed over COVID-19 since March 2020. The resort and its theme parks reopened in July 2020. Blizzard Beach features various attractions, including water slides, rapids and pools.
2019 attendance – 1,983,000
4 Therme Erding, Erding, Germany
Therme Erding, the second largest thermal bath complex in Europe, is located close to Munich and welcomes approximately 4,000 daily visitors. Therme Erding covers 185,000 square metres and launched in 1999. It is the first of two German parks to make this list of the world’s top water parks.
Located 30 minutes from Munich, Therme Erding’s Tropical Spa & Water Park boasts 27 waterslides and a wave pool, as well as a new VR Slide. The VR Slide merges waterslides and technology. Creator wiegand.waterrides, a leading water rides and attraction provider, worked with aquatic virtual reality experts Ballast VR to design the system, with content accurately mapped to the contours of the slide.
Riders need to wear VR headsets, which are comfortable and waterproof. The VR element enhances the experience, rather than overwhelming the visitor.
2019 attendance – 1,850,000
5 Thermas dos Laranjais, Olimpia, Brazil
Thermas dos Laranjais is the top water park in Latin America and the fifth most popular globally. It first opened in 1987 and is home to the largest complex of thrilling waterslides in Brazil. It is located in the northern part of the state of São Paulo.
Thermas dos Laranjais boasts more than 55 attractions. These include waterslides, surfing facilities, pools, rivers and family-friendly offerings. The aquatic park attributed lower attendance to economic factors in 2019.
Whitewater West, a leading waterpark manufacturer, created five of the parks leading attractions.
2019 attendance – 1,845,000
6 Atlantis Aquaventure, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Atlantis Aquaventure, a tropical water park in the Bahamas, opened in 1994. The water park is the leading water-themed attraction in the region on TripAdvisor. Cloward H2O, an expert in aquatic design, contributed to the project at Atlantis The Palm.
There are three Atlantis Aquaventure water parks across the globe, in the Bahamas, China and the UAE. Aquaventure at Atlantis the Palm in Dubai will become the world’s largest water park as it expands by 30 percent.
Aquaventure water parks are home to attractions including the Mayan Temple, which has a series of rides and slides. There’s also a river ride with waves, rapids, tidal surges, steam and waterfalls, and an exhibit for the park’s cetaceans called Dolphin Cay.
2019 attendance – 1,813,000
7 Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando, Florida, US
Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay only opened in 2017, replacing the outdated Wet ‘n Wild on International Drive. Volcano Bay is adjacent to Universal’s Cabana Beach Bay Resort. It covers 25 acres and includes more than 30 experiences and attractions.
These include body slides, raft rides, a multi-directional wave pool and a hydro-magnetic waterslide coaster. Universal temporarily closed Volcano Bay in order to “conduct annual maintenance on several attractions” between November 2020 and March 2021.
“It’s typical in the industry for water parks to do seasonal closures during winter months for maintenance purposes,” said Universal. This was the first seasonal closure for Volcano Bay, which has operated in a year-round capacity since it launched in 2017.
“Universal’s Volcano Bay sets a new standard on every level,” said Tom Williams, CEO and chairman of Universal Parks & Resorts. “It provides our guests with spectacular entertainment experiences and innovative technology that helps them enjoy more of what matters most – connecting with each other and having an amazing time together.”
2019 attendance – 1,811,000
8 Aquatica, Orlando, Florida, US
SeaWorld’s Aquatica Orlando (pictured, top) opened for the first time in 2008. This year, Aquatica is set to open Florida’s first duelling water slide, Riptide Race. “Riptide Race will offer a ride experience you won’t be able to get anywhere else in Florida,” said David Heaton, Aquatica Orlando VP.
Riptide Race riders will slide side by side and face-to-face in racing lanes. “Aquatica will be the first water park in the state to have a thrilling, and more importantly, duelling water slide,” added Heaton.
2019 attendance – 1,533,000
9 Hot Park, Rio Quente, Brazil
Hot Park can be found at the Rio Quente Resort, one of the biggest resorts in Brazil. The water park covers 55,000 square metres and also features an aviary with more than 200 birds. The resort offers other facilities, including F&B.
Located in the Cerrado, Rio Quente includes five hotels, bars and restaurants, and pools and attractions. Hot Park has more than 17 attractions in natural thermal waters. Thrilling rides include AeroBike and Xpirado while relaxing offerings include a lazy river.
10 Wuhu Fantawild Water Park, Wuhu, China
Fantawild Holdings, a leading one-stop solution provider in the theme park industry, opened Wuhu Fantawild Water Park in 2014. Fantawild operates a chain of amusement parks and water parks across China.
Fantawild has also water parks in Zhengzhou and Xiamen. Attractions on offer at Wuhu Fantawild Water Park include the Boonie Bear Village, a lazy river and a playground for children with water guns, floating bridges and water cannons.
2019 attendance – 1,348,000
11 Caribbean Bay, Seoul, South Korea
Caribbean Bay is an indoor and outdoor water park located in Yonqin, Seoul. It first opened in 1996 and is part of Everland, the largest theme park in South Korea. Aquatic attractions include pools, water slides, a spa, sauna and wave pool. Caribbean Bay also boasts the world’s longest lazy river ride.
2019 attendance – 1,333,000
12 Atlantis Aquaventure, Dubai, UAE
Aquaventure at Atlantis the Palm in the UAE features many world firsts as well as award-winning water rides. The water park is home to zip lines, slides racing through shark-filled lagoons and family-friendly offerings.
Kerzner International opened the second Atlantis Aquaventure water park on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah in 2008. The first attraction launched on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and the third opened in Sanya, China in 2018.
ProSlide Technology, an industry leader in water ride manufacturing and design, has provided 17 new water slides for phase three of the Atlantis Aquaventure expansion. The attraction is expanding by 30 percent.
“The water rides ProSlide installed are second-to-none and are the perfect complement for our vision for Atlantis to be among the world’s best water parks,” said Sascha Triemer, VP of marine and water park at Atlantis, Dubai.
“Their technology, innovation, and creative design have brought Atlantis to a completely new and higher level in the destination industry that could not have been achieved with any other water ride manufacturer.”
2019 attendance – 1,322,000
13 Aquapalace, Prague, Czech Republic
Aquapalace Prague, the only Czech entry on this list of the world’s top water parks, is the biggest water park in the Czech Republic. It is located in Čestlice and opened in 2008 and features connected indoor and outdoor areas. The main water park covers 9,150 square metres.
Attractions and rides include 12 water slides, one of which is the longest water slide in the Czech Republic.
The water park also features a winding river, artificial waves and pools at its three areas – Palace of Adventures, Palace of Relaxation and Palace of Treasures. Aquapalace also offers wellness facilities, such as saunas, baths and relaxation zones.
- 2019 attendance – 1,300,000
14 Tropical Islands, Krausnick, Germany
German indoor water park Tropical Islands, owned by Parques Reunidos, features various leisure activities and generates annual revenues of €71 million. Tropical Islands is the first indoor water park in the Parques Reunidos group.
Parques Reunidos acquired Tropical Islands from Tanjong Plc for €226m back in 2018. Tropical Islands covers 650 hectares and is located inside a former zeppelin hangar near Brandenburg, close to Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig.
The water park can accommodate up to 8,200 visitors daily and boasts various attractions, including the highest waterslide tower in Germany. It opened in December 2004. In 2019, Tropical Islands added a giant water play structure from Polin Waterparks.
“Germany is a strategic market for Parques Reunidos,” said Richard Golding, chairman of Parques Reunidos. As well as representing a truly unique opportunity in itself, Tropical Islands also reinforces our market positioning in the country, where together with Movie Park and Belantis we will reach 3 million visitors.”
2019 attendance – 1,233,000
15 Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park, Wuhan, China
Wuhan Maya Beach Water Park is located in Hubei, a landlocked province in Central China. It made headlines in August last year when images emerged of crowds of visitors enjoying an electronic music festival. The park reopened in June amid the pandemic and was operating at 50 percent capacity (via The Independent).
16 Aquaventure Atlantis, Sanya, China
Aquaventure Atlantis in China has grown its attendance by 100 percent since it opened in May 2018. “It really is the world’s number one waterpark,” said Alan Mahony, vice president of Aquaventure at Atlantis Sanya. The $1.65bn attraction has 200,000 square metres of space and was built to a master plan from RAD Architecture.
Atlantis Sanya in Haitang Bay covers 133 acres. It boasts 21 restaurants, bars and lounges, and also houses the Lost Chambers aquarium and Dolphin Cay encounter. Aquaventure features 35 attractions, including 15 custom-designed slides and rides from ProSlide.
Atlantis Aquaventure is the biggest waterpark in Asia. “Atlantis Sanya is the ultimate vacation destination in the region,” said ProSlide president and CEO Rick Hunter. “It delivers so many incredible guest experiences in one park experience.”
“We are not just concentrating on the waterslides – we are providing an immersive, interactive themed experience,” said Mahony. “You’ve seen Disney and Universal come into Asia, but we’re really the first internationally branded waterpark in the region.”
2019 attendance – 1,200,000
17 Sunway Lagoon, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sunway Lagoon, which first started operations in 1992, is located in Malaysia and owned by Sunway Group. It boasts more than 90 attractions across 88 acres. The destination features a Water Park, Amusement Park, Extreme Park, Wildlife Park, Scream Park and Nickelodeon Lost Lagoon.
Sunway Lagoon’s ride offerings include African Pythons, Congo Challenge and Cameroon Climb. It is also home to the world’s largest vortex ride and the world’s largest surf pool, as well as an interactive water playground and 5D cinema experience.
2019 attendance – 1,200,000