Water parks have garnered a rep as family-friendly places to spend lazy summer days. But thanks to a new crop of seriously sick waterslides, they’ve become a thrill seekers playground. From the record-breaking heights to the shark-infested depths, these waterslides are some of the coolest on the planet.
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It’s not hard to see where this death-defying slide gets its name—climb 135 feet to the top and you’ll surely have a stroke of doubt about your own mental soundness. As the world’s tallest waterslide, Insano is just shy of the height of Niagara Falls. As you plummet from the peak, you’ll hit up to 65 mph.
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Citta del Mar, Italy
Not all waterslides are built to rival nature—some slides team up with her for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Hewn into the rocky Sicilian coast, the aqua slides at the Citta del Mar resort allow you to slide right into the bright blue waters of the Mediterranean—think cliff diving without the safety risk.
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Deep in the heartland of Indiana is another record holding slide. Thanks to hydromagnetic linear induction technology, the Wildebeest is able to propel you much farther than slides relying on momentum alone. Thanks to this tech, the slide can shoot rafts uphill several times, making this one feel like more of a rollercoaster than a waterslide. It’s currently the second longest multi-person slide in the world.
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Leap of Faith, Bahamas
Above the surface, the Leap of Faith at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas seems more spectacular than scary. With a moderate 60-foot drop constructed into a replica of an ancient Mayan temple, the slide has a distinctly exotic vibe. But it’s what’s under the surface that makes the slide really stunning—after that drop you’ll be shot straight into a clear under water tunnel that will jet you through a shark-filled lagoon.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Boeing 747, Oregon
When you think museum, the word waterslide probably doesn’t come to mind. Unless you’re heading to the Evergreen Museum in Oregon, which made an unlikely marriage between the high-flying world of aviation and the entertaining world of waterslides. Rather than a stodgy exhibit, the museums main attraction is a Boeing 747 jet—parked on the roof, it has a high-speed waterslide running right through the main cabin. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.
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Tantrum Alley, Dubai
Always up for adding a little variety, Dubai’s Wild Wadi Water Park goes beyond your straightforward slide. When you grab a raft on Tantrum Alley, you’ll hit three vortex-like “tornados”—sort of like finding yourself in the eye of a hurricane—before reaching calmer waters below.
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The Cyclone, Canada
If a fear of heights threatens to keep you actually taking the plunge into the water slide, The Cyclone will do the work for you. Riders step into a capsule for a few heart-hammering seconds before the floor drops away beneath you, sending you into a high-octane ride (you’ll hit 2.5 Gs in less than two seconds) on an almost totally vertical 360-degree loop.
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Scorpion's Tail, Wisconsin
True to its name, the Scorpion’s Tail at Noah’s Ark Water Park in Wisconsin packs a major sting. First, you’ll climb a grueling 10 stories before plummeting down the near vertical drop. All that momentum makes for a wild ride—you’ll shoot through the iridescent tubes at a speed of 50 feet per second and whiplash through a loop before making it back to dry land.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Summit Plummet, Florida
Blizzard Beach is Disney’s answer to the frustrated snow bunnies finding themselves on vacation in the sweltering heat. An entirely snow-themed water park, Blizzard Beach feels more like you’re hitting the ski slopes then spending a day at the pool. For the black diamond slider, there’s Summit Plummet, a waterslide that will have you hitting 60 mph as you careen down its slopes.
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After the Closing Ceremony at each Olympic games, host cities are faced with the problem of what to do with all the insane (and expensive) structures built for top athletes to compete on the world’s stage. Few structures have been more iconic than Beijing’s Water Cube, built to accommodate the aquatic events at the 2008 games. Rather than relegate it to the history books, Beijing officials decided to open it up to everyone with a host of gold medal-worthy water rides including the Bullet Bowl, which sends riders whipping through a tailspin of corkscrews.