Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau

Waterpark Nirvana

WaterPark Credentials

Did you know the US explosion of the indoor waterpark was pioneered here in Wisconsin Dells? 

The Polynesian Resort was the first property in the nation to introduce the indoor waterpark concept; that was back in 1989. It started with a sketch on a napkin after local business partners attended a waterpark convention in Texas. No kidding - the blueprint for the first indoor waterpark was actually hand-drawn on a napkin. 

Today the Dells has more configurations of indoor and outdoor waterparks per capita than anywhere else on the planet. Here are the numbers:

  • 16+ million gallons of water
  • More than 200 waterslides
  • America's Largest Outdoor Waterpark - Noah's Ark Waterpark is America's largest waterpark, spanning 70 acres with five million gallons of water and three miles of waterslides.
  • America's Largest Indoor/Outdoor Combination Waterpark - Wilderness Hotel and Golf Resort's indoor and outdoor waterpark space combined is 500,00 square feet or equal to twelve football fields. 
  • Wisconsin's Largest Indoor Waterpark - Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is the largest indoor waterpark in Wisconsin at 125,000 square feet. 

Interview Recommendations

  • Tom Lucke, owner of Wilderness Resort and one of the industry’s pioneers
  • Todd Nelson, owner of Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, the man behind the growth of this property

Round-Up/Trend/Sidebar Story Ideas

  • Sizing up the waterparks: How to keep children of varying ages happy at a single waterpark by checking out age-appropriate rides
  • Waterpark essentials: Checklist of what to bring along for an outdoor water park adventure


Depending on your age, height and level of courage, here are the water rides that shouldn’t be missed:

  1. Black Anaconda -- America’s longest water roller coaster, at Noah’s Ark Waterpark outdoor water park
  2. Scorpion's Tail -- ten stories high, with an essential drop of more than 50 feet per second, this nearly vertical outdoor looping waterslide was the first of it's kind in America at Noah's Ark Waterpark
  3. Flowrider® -- indoor surf machine, at Kalahari Resort Waterparks indoor water park
  4. The Flyan Myan -- world’s fastest indoor water roller coaster, at Chula Vista Resort
  5. The Howlin’ Tornado -- a four-person tube funnel ride that drops you six stories before splashdown, at Great Wolf Lodge
  6. Halley's Comet Racers -- four slides where you race headfirst through twists, turns and drops toward the finish line, at Glacier Canyon Lodge at the Wilderness
  7. The Hurricane -- this four person raft ride deposits you in a huge funnel for some super fun swirling at Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort
  8. Poseidon's Rage -- brace yourself for one towering nine-foot wall of water after another in this massive outdoor surf pool at Mt. Olympus Theme Park & Water Park
  9. Screaming Hyena - they literally raised the roof at Kalahari Resort Waterparks to install this 60-foot near-vertical, trap-door plunge slide
  10. Triton's Challenge -- this six-lane mat racer slide, in the outdoor waterpark at Mt. Olympus Theme Park & Water Park, is as much about speed as it is how far you slide at the end 

Interview Recommendations

  • Amy Muller, Director of Marketing at Noah's Ark Waterpark
  • Romy Snyder, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau

Round-Up/Trend/Sidebar Story Ideas

  • Extreme water rides
  • Learning how to surf without an ocean anywhere in sight

Behind the Scenes at Water Park Conventions Where Owners Gather Ideas

Every autumn, local water park owners take annual pilgrimages to the World Waterpark Association Convention and the International Attraction and Amusement Park Association Convention to check out what’s new. Then they hurry back, ideas flowing (no pun intended) and immediately set to work to get everything in the pipeline for the summer season.

Interview Recommendations

  • Nick Laskaris, owner of Mt. Olympus Theme Park & Water Park 
  • Mike Kaminski, owner of Chula Vista Resort with its themed indoor water park, Lost Rios

Round-Up/Trend/Sidebar Story Ideas

  • The next big thing
  • The technology behind operating water roller coasters and wave pools



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Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau

701 Superior Street, PO Box 390
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965-0390
(800) 223-3557
(608) 254-4293 (Fax)

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