Surfing came to central Wisconsin last year at Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park. The 150-acre, Greek-themed megapark in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., opened the $7 million Poseidon’s Rage, a massive surf pool with soaring 9-foot waves.

Poseidon’s Rage is only the second pool of its kind in the nation, yet it boasts the largest wave. At nearly 50,000 square feet and a maximum occupancy of 4,000, it’s the largest pool in the Midwest.

Waves roll in at a constant pace of 9-foot swells every 90 seconds. For guests who are not up the challenge of tackling a 9-foot wave, private islands offer the perfect spot to sit back and watch all the action. The pool also may be cleared of guests for surfers to ride the simulated wave on their boards.

The wave pool addition at the park complements the five-story Triton water-slide complex opened in 2005. This massive tower supports raft and body slides, along with a conveyor belt to transport the tubes. Triton’s Fury is a 340-foot-long family raft ride; Triton’s Rage is a second multiperson raft ride with a 550-foot descent and several twists and turns; and Triton’s Challenge is a 350-foot, side-by-side, six-lane downhill racer. These rides are particularly high profile because they face the Wisconsin Dells Parkway, the busiest stretch of highway through the “Waterpark Capital of the World.”

In developing Poseidon’s Rage, several challenges arose. Wisconsin had never seen a pool of this magnitude before, so the state approval process was tougher than usual. Another unique challenge was the fast turnaround time required. The idea for the surf pool was conceived by Mt. Olympus owner Nick Laskaris in November 2006 at an industry trade show, and the project was coordinated and fast-tracked so that Mt. Olympus’ summer visitors could ride the wave. Construction began in February and the pool was opened June 30, 2007.

To celebrate the grand opening, experienced surfers were invited to perform for the large crowd of waterpark guests. Using their regular surfboards with fins to negotiate the waves, the pros reported amazement at how close it came to real ocean waves. Today the park has the capacity to hold surfing contests and offer private lessons.

With 165 acres of entertainment, including 37 water slides, seven dry roller coasters, nine go-kart tracks, bumper cars and boats, an indoor theme park and the Bay of Dreams (a 50,000-square-foot indoor waterpark), Mt. Olympus exemplifies a growing industry trend: the merging of water and amusement parks. With such a wide range of activities at one convenient location, families are flocking to these venues. By adding Poseidon’s Rage, the award-winning Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Resort has solidified its position as a major recreation destination in the Wisconsin Dells market.

Nuts & Bolts

  • Wave pool area: 48,000 square feet
  • Waves ride the full 350-foot length of the pool
  • Capacity: 4,000 persons, without inner tubes (surfing takes place only after the pool is cleared of guests)
  • Total amount of concrete to construct pool area: 5,000 cubic yards (pool, 4,650 cu. yd.; deck, 350 cu. yd.)
  • Pool system volume: 1.3 million gallons of water: a chamber holds 116,000 gallons until it is released as a 9-foot surf wave every 90 seconds
  • Pumps: Four turbine pumps move 20,000 gpm each, total 80,000 gpm to create a 9-foot surfing wave