TEXAS

TEXAS EXTREME WATERPARKS

If you are looking for thrill, fun and adventure not far from home, Texas has it all!

Texas, the largest state after Alaska, is famous for three things: its Tex Mex food, hot and humid summers and numerous water parks. The state, with a population of 25 million, is the home of more than twenty water parks, which offer family getaways, water rides and plenty of thrill. Schlitterbahn, one of the biggest, hosts three different water parks in three locations in Texas: South Padre Island, Galveston Island and New Braunfels. SeaWorld, of equal fame on national level, offers wet rides, adventure and family play in San Antonio's Lost Lagoon.

What makes Texas such a huge water park attraction? The hot and humid weather is one of the major reasons. Very few Texans live near the sea so those in the mainland need a fresh, adventurous and relaxing holiday not far from home. "The weather is ideal for Waterparks and Schlitterbahn is the birthplace of Waterpark innovation such as our Master Blaster and Tidal Wave River technology" says Jeffrey Siebert, Corporate Director of Communications of Schlitterbahn Waterparks, "and the vast majority of our guests are families with children". Those water parks, that are often called "extreme" due to their intense rides, are vacation destinations for the entire family. Fancy restaurants, family-friendly hotels and appealing shopping malls are included with numerous, unlimited water rides. So what are your options?

If you visit the Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark, based in South Padre island, you will have the chance to enjoy 11 world-class attractions and roar down 13 amazing water slides. Those attractions are designed to appeal to all family members, from toddlers to grandparents therefore, don't expect to find the most extreme water rides. Rather on the smooth side, kids and their parents can explore the five-story Sand Castle with six turrets connected by ramps, stairs and netclimbs. If you'd rather go for practicing your bodyboarding skills, try The Boogie Bahn2 or the Sea Trek, the world's premier underwater helmet diving experience. The most innovative element, however, is the "Transpotainment," a clever concept that allows riders to float from one attraction to another without having to wait in line.

The Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark is both an indoor and outdoor 70,000 square-foot heated-convertible waterpark area. Between May to August, you will experience the outdoor version of it with more than 30 rides. This will offer some extreme water thrills if you go for one or more of the following rides: The Cliffhanger, part of the outdoor Blastenoff section, is a free fall from a height of 81 feet and reach speeds approaching 40 mph; the Dragon Blaster and The Tempest are both extreme rides for thrill-seekers. Those two uphill water coasters that utilize high velocity water propulsion to rocket riders up hills before plunging them down roller coaster-style drops. Finally, try Rohr, a ride of the Wasserfest park, if you dare to take a vertical plunge from the top of a 60-foot-high tower then travel faster than 30 mph down a 244-foot-long body slide back to the bottom. The newest attraction is the Shipwreck Harbor Wave Lagoon!

Six Flags is another nationally well-known water park with sites in numerous states. The Fiesta Texas in San Antonio is a 200-acre park featuring awesome rides, great shows, and incredible attractions. Visit the White Water Bay waterpark and if thrill is what you are looking for, try the Tornado ride, a drop of more than seven stories into a 60-foot-tall, 132-foot-long water funnel. Then navigate through 5,000 gallons of churning water. The Whirpool is another water attraction where you get slammed to the wall of an awesome 40-foot bowl by irresistible centrifugal force and drop fifty feet to a thrilling splashdown. And if this is not enough, try the Big Bender that has plummeting dips, dark twisting tunnels, and refreshing waterfalls—watch out for that 50-foot drop.

If you visit Six Flag's Hurricane Harbor in Arlington, don't miss the Atlantic Panic that will send you sliding down a twisting, turning flume propelled by 1,500 gallons of water or the Shotgun falls, a blast by 2,000 gallons of water per minute through one of four separate high-speed slide barrels into a refreshing pool.

SeaWorld San Antonio's Lost Lagoon waterpark is another attractive summer escape in Texas. The Lost Lagoon is a fun-in-the-sun experience featuring exciting slides, relaxing places to cool off and kid-friendly play areas. Thrilling rides include the Sidewinders, a climb from the 48-foot tower to the top of Sidewinders, a multi-flume waterslide. The Bucaroo mountain is another ride that involves climbing. Once guests reach the summit, the only way down is by slide. Bucaroo climbers can choose to make their descent by one of two body slides or two tube slides, each more than 450 feet long. For the super-thrill seeker, one of the tubes is dark. Other rides are the Splash Attack and the Wave Wash Pool.

But if you feel the need to reconnect with the animal world and to be inspired by energetic sea adventures, don't miss the "One Ocean". "One Ocean" is the all-new killer whale show that features SeaWorld's majestic killer whales as ambassadors of the sea, and the ocean as the center of our natural world. "This new show brings to life SeaWorld's mission in the most powerful way yet," says Jim Atchison, President and Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. "This show is what guests love about our parks – thrilling entertainment that educates and inspires you to celebrate, connect and care for the world we share."

So Texas has it all. If you feel giving up on long-haul flights in search of excitement, you will find thrill, adventure and inspiration in America's backyard.

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