Summer is all about having fun with friends, enjoying the great outdoors, and good old fashioned R&R. Water parks are practically synonymous with summer so when you're thinking of a weekend away or a full-on vacation with family and friends, consider the best American water parks and their incredible, record-breaking rides, like these!
Summit Plummet - Blizzard Beach, WDW - We start off our list with Walt Disney World's 120 feet, 12-story ski slope themed slide. If you don't know the story already, Blizzard Beach was designed as a ski resort that popped up after a freak snowstorm in the middle of Florida. Like you would imagine, the snow melted quickly and resulted in a water park extravaganza using ski resort equipment. Summit Plummet is the tallest ride in the park, towering over everyone as the epitome of thrill. Watch from below and see the shower of water spray as the rider zips down, coming to rest 12 whole stories below.
Mammoth - Holiday World & Splashing Safari in Santa Claus, IN - Board a six-rider boat with your best friends, or make some new ones, before you head out on the world's longest water coaster. Snaking around three full acres of this major Indiana theme park, Mammoth uses conveyor belts to aid your raft up and up, reaching a staggering seven stories tall before finally releasing you. Unlike a traditional coaster, you are completely unaided by a track and the free-falling sensation is dynamite!
Jurassic Park: The Ride - Universal Studios Hollywood and Islands of Adventure, Orlando (Jurassic Park River Adventure) - Escape loose dinosaurs as you raft your way through the incomparable Jurassic Park, coming dangerously close to a 50 foot T-Rex which you narrowly miss by plummeting 84 feet down a waterfall. Find yourselves up close and personal with Ultrasaurs, Velociraptors, and Stegosaurus among many others, making this ride fully immersive, realistic, and a thrilling water ride adventure.
Walhalla Wave - Aquatica, San Antonio - Another raft slide, this four-seater takes water slides to a new limit. At one point there is a full 720-degree turn, as well as a "wave" section that becomes almost vertical creating a weightless, slightly terrifying feeling. This is one of the longest water coasters in the country, continuing to wow visitors and scare riders every summer.
Verruckt - Schlitterbahn, Kansas City - The tallest, fastest, and steepest water slide in the world since 2014, Verruckt is a massive 168 feet tall slide in Kansas City's ultimate water park. Reaching a top speed of 65 mph at a 60-degree slope, Verruckt broke three world records and shows no sign of slowing. Rocket down to the base of the ride on a single-rider tube and scream your head off with the park far away beneath your feet.
Escape from Pompeii - Busch Gardens Williamsburg - Situated in Busch Gardens' Italy themed area, Escape from Pompeii is part Disney-inspired dark ride, part water raft ride. Whatever it is, it's all storytelling! Explore the ruins of Pompeii, through the stone tunnels and arches at the base of the mountain and feel the terrifying rumble of the volcano. Escape Mt. Vesuvius before it blows again and zooms off along the rapids, braving the steep drops and choppy river with the volcano on your tail. A multi-row raft, Escape from Pompeii is a great ride to share with friends.
Splash Mountain - Disneyland and WDW, CA and FL - You've probably heard something about Splash Mountain before as it's one of the most famous log flumes in any American theme park. A dark ride through the story of Br'er Rabbit from the old classic film Song of the South, your team will encounter beloved characters, unexpected drops, and more before a final five-story plummet that's sure to get you soaking wet! Watch out for the waterfall at the very end too!
Extra: Na'vi River Journey - Animal Kingdom, WDW - coming 2017 - Quintessential Disney, the ride will incorporate animatronics, 3D holograms, and more which you will see from your canoe moving through the "sacred river." The entire Avatar world is lit up with florescent plants and alien creatures as in the movie. In the end, you'll meet the Na' vi shamans who will give you a blessing of sorts through music.