Step inside this dream facility and arrive in a land of make believe. That was our goal when designing the centerpiece attraction of this 43,000-square-foot indoor resort waterpark. The theming is what sets this waterpark apart from any other design. Theming is not a new concept for waterparks, but for this dream design, we took theming far beyond just a few murals and created a magnificent fantasyland.

Our goal was to design a waterpark where the thematic structures would be believable, blend with neighboring play areas and the resort interior, and where every detail would build onto the next to further the story line. This would give guests a unique adventure every time they visit the park.

The design starts with the base play structure. It had to be large enough to support many different play elements while providing access to all ages and abilities so that the whole family could play together. We accomplished this with a zero-depth pool, several entry and exit points and a structure that rises four stories and offers 12 different levels of play.

The outside of the play attraction is designed to look like it is wooden and give guests the feeling that they are onboard an authentic ship. Cargo nets, rope bridges, web crawls and wooden planks create the “ship” interior and transport guests between each level.

More than 200 interactive play elements are placed throughout the attraction including buckets, water wheels, sprayers, blasters and hoses to capture the spirit and imagination of the guests. Our design incorporates life preservers, hand wheels, flags, sailing masts and a lighthouse. It also features arch jets, double buckets, water jets, swivel blasters, pipe falls, water curtains, hydro blasters and hose jets for more playability.

But the most dramatic and challenging feature is the custom-themed 8-foot tipping bucket that dumps 1,000 gallons of water. It is the climax of the experience for the guests and an icon piece for the entire resort. But simply putting a large bucket on top of our fictional ship didn’t quite achieve the look and feel we were trying to create. So our team of former Hollywood set designers created a massive sinking ship around the bucket that blends in seamlessly with the surrounding environment.

Interwoven within the play structures are two fiberglass water slides at 18 and 20 feet. These slides add even more fun to the entire experience.

Although the play structure delivers plenty of excitement, our designers wanted to enhance the surroundings to set a more complete stage and transport guests from the indoor resort to the ocean. The designers created several imaginative soft foam play pieces to bring the recreation pool to life.

Guests can slither around the pool on a 21-foot snake, ride an 8-foot dragon beneath the ship or float on a large crab. Huge log pieces float on the surface of the pool so guests can walk on top of them and get from one end to the other.

We also wanted to give visitors a relaxing way to cool off and check out the sights. So we added an interactive lazy river to float guests throughout the waterpark. The lazy river’s nautically themed shower, pipe falls, and random bucket dumps enable guests to drench themselves, other river guests or spectators passing by. This element of surprise and interaction creates new excitement on the lazy river.

Each structure is topped with thatched roofs to add mass and believability. Shoreline murals, oversized cattails, rock outcroppings and other nautical elements complete the picture and make the surroundings more vivid — and ultimately more fun for everyone.