When it comes to beating the heat, there's nothing better than getting out, feeling the wind in your hair and the water in your face ...? As you blaze down a world class water slide?
That's right! As our friends to the north welcome the summer sun, water parks around the world are opening their doors to thrill seekers hoping to dip their toes in the adrenaline pumping arena of extreme water slides. From the tallest to the longest and everything in between, here's a taste of the best the world has to offer.
- Where: Schlitterbahn Kansas City in Kansas City, Kansas
- Height: 51.38 metres
- Top Speed: approximately 104km/h
At a staggering 51.38 metres, this lofty slide is the world's tallest. If you're having trouble putting that into perspective, that's taller than the Statue of Liberty! After a punishing 264-stair climb to the top of the tower, passengers hop into a four person raft to be tipped out over the edge in a near vertical drop, reaching speeds of up to 104 kilometres per hour before climbing and descending a five storey hill and coming to a stop. Because of the ride's popularity, reservations are required.
- Where: Aldeia das Aguas Park Resort in Barra Do Pirai, Brazil
- Height: 49 metres
- Top Speed: approximately 105km/h
The Insano may not be the world's tallest anymore, but it is still the world's fastest body slide. Of course when it comes to height, it's still no slouch at 14 storeys. After a short lead out, sliders plummet down a near vertical drop reaching speeds of up to 105 kilometres per hour to a pool at the end. The whole experience lasts a mere four to five seconds, but that's all it takes to give the ol' ticker a good scare.
Looking for a theme park in the USA? Insider's Guide: Best Theme Parks In North America
Or one right here at home? A Family Guide To Australia's Best Theme Parks
- Where: Wild Wadi Waterpark in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Height: 32 metres
- Top Speed: 80km/h
If high speed isn't enough of a thrill, how about the prospect of the floor dropping out from under you? This is the concept behind the Jumeirah Sceirah. Riders step into a capsule to wait out the 3-2-1 countdown, at which point the floor drops for a free fall sensation that sends you speeding down a tube slide at approximately 80 kilometres per hour. For a bit of added fun, the new design (opened approximately three years ago) features a tandem design, so you can race your friends to the bottom.
- Where: Noah's Art Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
- Height: 32 metres
- Top Speed: 48km/h
This exciting water slide not only features the door-in-the-floor suspense, it ups the ante with a nearly vertical loop! Riders start at 10 stories, anxiously awaiting the countdown that opens a trap door to send them down a 122 metre tube. The highlight of the slide though is a steep 70 degree loop. If for any reason, you haven't built up enough speed to make it all the way around the loop, the design allows you to slide back down to the start of the loop where an available opening will let you exit. Don't worry, though, experts predict this happens to approximately 1% of sliders.
- Where: Bad 1 Leisure Centre in Bremerhaven, Germany
This one may not be the tallest or fastest water slide in the world, but it does take the cake in memorable experiences. Lit up with an LED light show, it has been likened to travelling through time and space in a series of twists and turns. Riders start off in pitch black, making an initial turn to reveal a brilliant light show that changes from coloured bands to starscapes and more!
- Where: Wet 'n' Wild Water Park in Orlando, Florida
- Height: Approximately 20 metres
This incredible water slide combines a little bit of everything into a single unique experience that helps rank it among the world's best. You'll find speed, a respectable 16-metre drop and a sound and light show! Riders hop into a four person tube before being sent into a black tube that leads them to a heart-thumping drop and tornado-style funnel. All the while, a sound and light show offers an added sensory element before releasing your four person tube into a shallow pool.
Twists & Turns
L2 Aqua Loop
- Where: Erlebnisbad Worgler Wasserwelt in Worgl, Austria
- Height: 25 metres
- Top Speed: 65km/h
This incredible slide claims to not be for the faint of heart with the world's first double loop design. It's another one of those nerve-wracking door-in-the-floor designs that invites riders to step into a capsule for the countdown to be dropped in a free-fall of nearly 15 metres before flying through a double loop design at speeds of nearly 65 kilometres per hour.
Twister & Speedy
- Where: Sonnentherme Lutzmannsburg Thermal Spa in Lutzmannsburgh, Austria
Another Austrian thriller, this pair of water slides should be avoided if you're adverse to a few twists and turns. Rising up in a coil around the park's watchtower, riders are rushed down this twisting slide with a clear top providing views of the sky as you go. While Speedy (the red one) is the faster of the two, Twister (the yellow one) is one of the longest slides in Europe, coming in at 201 metres long.
Something A Little Different
And now for something a little bit different ... for all of you travellers out there that have wondered what it might be like to slide down the emergency slides on an airplane, the Boeing 747 water slide in McMinnville, Oregon is the answer to all your questions. The pièce de résistance of the Evergreen Wings & Waves Water Park, sliders enter a full-size Boeing 747 aircraft to exit via the emergency doors on a gently sloping twisting and turning water slide. Now that's something every traveller can appreciate!