The term “Dream Facility” can have many interpretations. Often it is represented by the unrestricted creativity of the designer’s whim. However, Dream Facility can take on an entirely different meaning when viewed from the perspective of a potential client. In that case, it could be defined as the most entertainment value that can be incorporated into one’s new or existing facility.

Graphic courtesy Aquatic Development Group

In an attempt to incorporate the largest number and most varied assortment of aquatic features into a hotel/resort indoor waterpark, many designs have showcased very large-scale, elaborate footprints that can range anywhere from 50,000 square feet to 100,000-plus square feet. But there is a significant market segment composed of small to medium-sized (100 to 200-room) facilities that also have recognized the increased entertainment value and clear financial benefits of incorporating aquatic features into their properties.

Our design shows how any space, when viewed creatively, can provide entertainment value far beyond the expectations of the perceived limitations of size.

The hotels described above generally cater to families and the mid-week business traveler.

Consider the resurgence of the Holiday Inn “Holidomes.” These revamped indoor waterparks are revitalizing the brand and capitalizing on the steadily rebounding trend of leisure travel. The addition of an indoor waterpark has had a proven positive impact on attracting more guests for longer periods of time at increased room rates. This guest profile — and the available space considerations — are just two of the many aspects that go into any indoor waterpark design, including the creation of our Dream Facility concept for the mid-sized indoor waterpark.

Through innovative use of vertical space and incorporating multilevel attractions and mezzanines, we accommodate the entertainment value of a much larger facility in a footprint the fraction of that size.

Industry rule of thumb dictates waterparks sized 15,000 square feet or smaller should include a children’s play area, an activity pool and whirlpool. When designing facilities of this size, the challenge becomes not only innovative use of the space, but also determining which mix of rides or attractions can fit into that space and have the broadest appeal to that facility’s demographic.

This 15,000-square-foot Dream Facility, which could operate either as a stand-alone recreation center or attached to a small hotel or community center, was designed on the premise that its primary demographic is families and young adults.

By incorporating a transparent roofing system, the facility gets all the benefits of year-round use while still taking full advantage of the natural light and open-air feeling of being outdoors. Due to the roofing system’s exceptional thermal properties (far exceeding that of glass), the facility can be designed to benefit from solar gain and reduce annual energy costs. As an added benefit, because the roofing system is 65 percent UV-transparent, users can even tan and grow vegetation inside!

The facility can accommodate up to 250 individuals in any given period.

Support areas include an open-air locker section, restroom and changing facilities, and a full-service food concession. A generous lounge deck area is provided, with tables, chairs, chaise lounges and beach chairs where sunbathers can soak up the rays and parents can still keep watchful eyes on their children as they enjoy some of the recreational features.

Through the use of sliding walls, the facility could be designed to open out to an exterior deck area, small waterpark or other leisure activities.

For this particular example, the features include a beach-entry wave pool, which was selected for its entertainment capacity and broad multigenerational appeal. The wave pool includes water bubblers and an overhead spray element in the shallows, providing further entertainment variety.

Central to the park is an ADA-accessible activity pool with multilevel play structure, which includes a small slide, tipping bucket, spray guns and interactive features. Surrounding the play structure is a wet deck with low-level water sprays catering to the toddler-plus age group.

Guests craving more excitement could “hang ten” on the very popular stationary sheet wave surf system. It is a unique skills attraction for participants of all ages and abilities, with strong visual and marketing appeal in its own right.

Finally, we have included an enclosed body slide. It exits the structure from the slide tower, winds its way down 24 feet, then re-enters at the ground level run-out. This helps maximize available space within the facility while acting as an enticement and signage to the exterior of the building.

For a facility this size, the features are truly dictated by the clientele or market served. For example, a business hotel or community recreation center may choose to incorporate a competitive lap pool with movable floor and wave generation system for maximum programmability.

But in the end, no matter which rides and attractions are chosen, the key to providing the right facility (and ride mix) for its customers is flexibility and options.

And when you get that mix right, it really is a dream come true.