This scale model of SplashTacular's spaceship waterslide concept shows potential for otherworldly waterpark fun.
Nate Traylor This scale model of SplashTacular's spaceship waterslide concept shows potential for otherworldly waterpark fun.

Technifex wants to usher the waterpark industry into the next dimension – as in 4D.

The Valencia, Calif.-based design and engineering firm has developed a concept that it believes may be the Next Big Thing for waterparks: Waterslides that utilize immersive storytelling technologies long enjoyed by themepark rides.

Waterslide maker SplashTacular wanted something wholly innovative that it could market, so the Paola, Kan. company turned to Technifex, a firm boasting an impressive portfolio of casino and theme park projects.

Technifex came up with two ideas that would be a huge leap forward.

One is an alien spacecraft would "abduct" earthlings via a platform that would rise 60 to 90 feet in the air. Once inside the ship, park-goers would be treated to an extraterrestrial light-and-sound show before being ejected back to Earth via spiraling waterslides.

The other simulates an African river adventure. Guests would sit inside a raft in a controlled environment where rushing water appears to surround them on all sides via a wraparound screen. A motion base would undulate in sync with the roaring rapids while jets of water douse guests – thus making it a true 4D experience. The floor would then drop out from under the raft sending people careening through the tube.

Both concepts were drawn up several years ago. Perhaps they were a little ahead of their time because there haven’t been any takers yet.

But the technology is here and it’s feasible, insists Technifex’s principal Monty Lunde.

Lunde is hopeful that, as waterparks proliferate, they’ll need to innovate. Park-goers will expect more than just speed slides and bowls -- they'll demand to be dazzled.

“I maintain eventually the public is going to want that and some of the bigger developers are going to need to take it seriously," said Lunde, founder of the Themed Entertainment Association.

Certainly, healthy competition is driving recent advancements such as the incorporation of videogame elements into rides. At the same time, this competition is inspiring developers to take more thoughtful approaches to theming – take Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay for example.

Lunde believes 4D entertainment systems offer the sort of wow-factor properties may need to distinguish themselves.

“We fully intend to make this attraction for somebody someday," he said.