Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau

Waterpark Capital Credentials

June 30, 2010

Kid Friendly WI Dells Indoor Water ParksWhat Makes Wisconsin Dells “The Waterpark Capital of the World!®”?

The nation’s largest outdoor water park, Noah’s Ark Waterpark, was built in 1979.  That’s right, we’ve been pioneering the water park craze here for 31 years.

As for the indoor water park phenomena in the United States, that too can be traced back to Wisconsin Dells.  It was 1989 and started with a casual observation by Stan Anderson, owner of the Polynesian Resort Hotel & Suites in Wisconsin Dells.  Anderson was on a scouting trip to a Texas resort looking for ideas for new water attractions, accompanied by two other area business owners, Tom Lucke and David Kaminski.  Each owned properties with indoor swimming pools, but felt the pool-thing was getting to be ho-hum.


Wilderness Resort WI DellsAnderson commented that one of the featured attractions at the Texas resort, called “The Water Factory,” might be a good fit for his resort, particularly with young families.  It was an outdoor feature, but Anderson wondered if he could put a roof over it as a way to extend the Dells tourism season which, at that time, ran Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Not long after, construction began at the Polynesian on the first indoor water park, with The Water Factory the main attraction.  As Anderson humbly notes, “It was successful beyond our dreams.”  The Polynesian was packed, even in the off season.  Within a few short years, large water park resorts like the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort, Kalahari Waterpark Resort Convention Center and Great Wolf Lodge sprung up.  And mid-size properties like Meadowbrook Resort


By the way, the Water Factory still stands in the Polynesian Resort Hotel & Suites, and little ones still giggle when the sprays turn on.  While it may seem tame by today’s standards, it has a prominent place in local lore as the attraction that helped transform Wisconsin Dells into the “Waterpark Capital of the World!®”  And here are the stats to prove it:

  • 22 indoor water parks and water playgrounds
  • 3 outdoor water parks
  • 200+ water slides
  • World’s largest looping water slide - Noah’s Ark Waterpark
  • Country’s largest indoor/outdoor water park combo - Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort
  • One of world’s largest surf pools (with 9-foot waves) - Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Parks
  • Dizzying variety of rides - extreme plunge slides, tube rides, racing speed slides, bowl drops, water roller coasters, indoor surf machine, massive wave pools, lazy rivers



Our monthly e-newsletter gives you the scoop on things to do in Wisconsin Dells, so sign up today!

Privacy Policy

Wisconsin Dells respects your privacy. Your information will not be shared, sold, or used for any other purpose.

Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau

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

This site is powered by the Northwoods Titan Content Management System