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[[File:History-of-waterslides.jpg|thumb|left|Figure 1. Image showing perhaps the first built water slide.]]__NOTOC__
For many children, and even those young at heart, water parks are a key pastime of summer and, increasingly, winter. With indoor parks, it is now possible to play year-round in many places. The history of water parks is relatively recent. In particular, it is after World War II when they became popular. But they have evolved rapidly in the last few decades from simple places of amusement to complex parks that compete for status symbols such as the 'largest water park' or 'tallest waterslide.'
==What was the first waterpark?==
[[File:Wet-wild-aerial.jpg|thumb|left|Figure 2. Wet n' Wild in Orlando was the first purpose-built water park.]]
George Millay, who famously founded Sea World in San Diego and later Florida, took the ideas of waterslides and increasingly noticed in the 1960s and 1970s that pools began to incorporate splash pads, and even the first wave pool opening in Alabama had proven to be major attractions. People often wanted to enjoy the water without having to get directly deep into the water. Waterslides also became very popular within existing parks, so much so long lines were always evident. All these gave Millay the idea that a purpose-built water park might be enough to be profitable. He needed a warm, year-round place to have such a park to keep revenues steady.
In 1994, the first significant indoor water park built in the United States was in Wisconsin Dells at the Polynesian Resort Hotel. The success of indoor water parks made business investors realize that water parks, incorporated within hotels and indoor resorts, allowed places to extend the tourist season. The Great Wolf Resorts/Great Wolf Lodge developed as the first company to build hotels around indoor water parks.<ref>For more on recent trends in water parks and indoor water parks, see: https://www.wisdells.com/media/facts/fun-facts.htm & Hamilton 2015: 12 </ref>
Other innovations included developing faster waterslides, new types of water features, including
tube, rides with mounted crafts, and large rafts that would be sent hurtling down large themed -slides. The Verrückt, located in Kansas City, became the tallest water slide at 168 feet, although it closed down in 2016 due to a tragic accident. The success of indoor and outdoor water parks led to a few trends. First, many existing community pools began to cater to the desire for water parks by adding slides and features such as wave pools.
In effect, they became small water parks that catered to local communities during the summer months and holidays. Water parks began to create amusement areas, such as in Wisconsin Dells, where new amusement parks began to develop as the Dells tried to keep tourists around longer. Local recreation centers even began to develop miniature indoor water park features, such as lazy rivers and slides. Water parks today bring in about 3 billion dollars annually. Indoor parks and municipal water parks or water parks incorporate within community recreation centers are perhaps the fasted growing segments of the water park industry.<ref>For more on water park trends and industry, see: https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/specialized-market-research-reports/consumer-goods-services/sports-recreation/water-parks.html</ref>