10 Best Water Slides | March 2017
- misters create a fountain at the top
- stands up well to sun exposure
- no warranty to speak of
- enclosed with safety netting
- has a fun 5-foot drop
- lagoon is too small
- fun for young and older kids alike
- safe 8-inch max water depth
- takes a long time to dry
- fun basketball hoop
- anchor stakes keep the slide secure
- hard to keep clean
- holds a lot of water
- large carrying bag
- can be used dry
- includes a repair patch
- has a landing mat for extra padding
- surprisingly durable construction
- lookout platform on the top
- overhead sprayers on the slides
- can accommodate six kids at once
Summer Nostalgia At Its Best
I can remember it now. A child of the 1990s, going up to the country with my folks to visit extended family. Their large, green backyard with that iconic yellow Slip'N Slide all set up and ready for action. The weather was hot, but as a kid you don't care about such things. You just want to have fun during your summer vacation. As an addition to swimming in a pool, the water slide is an excellent compliment. Does it have to be a super fancy toy? Heck no. So long as you have access to a water hose and a relatively safe place to set it up, you're in good shape.
The trick today is to find a way to convince your kids to take a break from all those computers, smartphones, and video games and just enjoy the water. This could be accomplished at a water park, but why not also give them the joy of their very own water slide right at home?
Traditionally, a water slide is a recreational-style slide designed for warm weather use with a variety of riding styles. Some water park slides require riders to sit directly on the slide itself or on a raft or tube of some type. Large-scale slides that one would typically encounter at water parks feature a pump system that forces water to the top of the slide where it is then allowed to flow freely back down the slide's riding surface. This simulates the speed and excitement associated with the gravity of a descending roller coaster, but in aquatic form. Many water park slides end with a dunk into a large swimming or plunge pool, which safely absorbs the impact when you hit the water. For these types of slides, a lifeguard is usually present.
Compared to large-scale slides, inflatable water slides are geared towards the home consumer market. These slides are found in backyards and at summer pool parties. They are often flat or inflatable. Inflatable slides are available in elaborate, brightly-colored designs. They are made from durable PVC, vinyl, or nylon and leverage either an electric or gas-powered blower to maintain their shape. Their water supplies come from an attachment to an ordinary water hose. Similar to water park slides, inflatable slides can also be set up to dump right into a home-installed swimming pool if you have room.
Fun Takes Shape
Safety is of utmost importance when choosing a slide, regardless of whether you plan to own or rent. After all, you're dealing with water, swimming pools, and young kids here. Take this into account when deciding which type of slide to go with. Many are designed to be as safe as possible, but never leave young children unattended. A parent or responsible guardian should always be present in case of accidents like slips, falls, or other uncertainties.
Because water slides come in so many different shapes and sizes, determining how much room you have on your property is a major consideration. For those with large backyards and easy access to water lines, the sky is the limit. Many inflatable slides offer plenty of width and large wading pools at their bases for accommodating several kids at a time.
Themes for these mini water parks are very personal choices. Some give off that tropical island feel, while others provide multicolored stripe designs that stand out at birthday parties. If your kids are competitive, some water slides are built flat like a racing track and feature multiple built-in sprinklers for sliding across them.
A reliable inflatable blowing motor is also important, since the last thing you want is to have a deflated water park in your backyard.
The Evolution Of Water Slides
One of the first documented water slides was a product of New Zealand as part of the 1906 International Exhibition called the Wonderland Water Chute. The Wonderland area of the exhibition was considered a miniaturized amusement park where different rides and entertainment could be experienced all in one place. Photos from the event showed riders sitting on a wooden chute boat that would run down a track right into Victoria Lake.
In 1923, Minnesota woodworker, designer, and inventor Herbert Sellner, best known for his invention of the Tilt-A-Whirl, developed the Water-Toboggan Slide, which was similar in design to the Wonderland Water Chute. Its riders would sit in a wooden sled that would ride down an incline into a lake where it would shoot across the water up to 100 feet. This invention became one of the most widely-adapted styles of water slide that would later be built in many amusement parks throughout the 20th century. Sellner's invention made it possible for future amusement parks to incorporate his slide design into other existing water features such as pools, lakes, and even the ocean.
George Millay, founder of Sea World in 1964, recognized a great deal of potential for an amusement park based around water slide attractions and opened the first water park called Wet n’ Wild in Orlando, Florida in 1977.
By 1994, water parks moved indoors with the opening of Polynesian Resort Hotel & Suites in Wisconsin Dells, which has one of the largest concentrations of both indoor and outdoor water parks. Since that time, residential water slides (including inflatable slides) have become more commonplace.