The leading trade organization of amusement parks anticipates a record-breaking year.
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions estimates 398.5 million visitors will flock to U.S. themeparks and waterparks this year, spending around $23.6 billion.
The big attractions, not surprisingly are the new rollercoasters and immersive experiences that many properties are debuting this season. But water-based attractions are luring them in, too. IAPPA notes that many waterparks are unveiling new additions this year.
Here are several highlights, as described by IAPPA:
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Concord, Calif. -- formerly Waterworld Concord -- is introducing Splashwater Island, a four-story water play structure with more than 100 features. Guests will ascend ladders and splash down more than nine water slides.
Quassy Amusement & Waterpark in Middlebury, Conn. opens its Category 5 Rapids slide complex featuring three water slides at its Splash Away Bay waterpark. The largest of the slides, Torrent, features a funnel design sending riders up its walls and oscillating to create a weightless sensation before flushing out riders.
Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark in Orlando introduces Ray Rush, a new family raft slide which launches riders through enclosed tubes, a translucent sphere, and an open halfpipe slide shaped like a manta ray.
Roaring Springs in Meridian, Idaho is adding three new slides in its new Bearfoot Bay expansion.
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind. adds two new thrills for kids celebrating the Swahili word for elephant. The Tembo Falls waterslide complex features eight junior slides including twisters, helix, mini-bowl and two racing slides and Tembo Tides will have a junior wave pool featuring spray features for younger children.
Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, Md. debuts a new centerpiece for its Hurricane Harbor Water Park, Wahoo River. The themed adventure river will have seven water action zones complete with water arches, geysers, surging waves, waterfalls, and tipping buckets.
Six Flags St. Louis opens Typhoon Twister in its Hurricane Harbor water park. The hybrid zero-gravity waterslide and wave wall sends up to four people barreling down an enclosed 54-foot drop in a cloverleaf raft.
Splish Splash Water Park in Calverton, NY opens two new slides. On the Riptide Racer four guests simultaneously race head first on mats and get drenched as they sail down. Bombs Away features two dueling 300-foot slides perched from a 50-foot tower, combining the anticipation of the AquaLaunch capsule and visual impact of looping translucent fiberglass as guests await the floor to drop from beneath their feet.
The Boardwalk at Hersheypark in Hershey, Penn. opens two water rides. Breakers Edge Water Coaster seats four riders on in-line rafts and rockets them through splash-filled hills, tight turns, and sweet thrills perfect for the whole family. On the Whitecap Racer, guests ride on a mat through turns and tunnels as they sail down six colorful racing lanes.
Waldameer Park and WaterWorld in Erie, Penn. opens two new family-friendly rides. Balloon Race in Kiddieland sends riders spinning around and gliding up and down in colorful hot-air balloons, while the CannonBowl single- or double-tube water slide has drops, twists, and turns before it sends riders spinning around in a giant bowl.
Nashville Shores in Hermitage, Tenn. adds a new Aqua Park on Percy Priest Lake. Designed by Wibbit Sports, the on-the-water play area features monkey bars, action towers, wiggle bridges, a balance slide, and jump.
Aquatica San Antonio debuts the Taumata Racer, and high-speed, 375-foot racing waterslide including a 180-degree turn and tunnel.
Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach opens a new family raft water ride with a patriotic theme. Riders board four-person tubes at the top of a 70-foot platform before sliding into a dark, enclosed tunnel with a series of unpredictable twists, turns, and drops that lead to a thrilling and refreshing splashdown.
Noah’s Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells opens Raja – The World’s Largest King Cobra. Riders will race side-by-side on tubes from six stories up along more than 335 feet of twists and turns at speeds up to 30 mph, concluding with a 37-foot plunge into the mouth of a massive snake.