A Look at the "Waterpark Capital of the World"

photo of Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort
Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort
photo of Kalahari Resort
Kalahari Resort
photo of Kalahari Resort
Kalahari Resort
photo of Noah's Ark Waterpark
Noah's Ark Waterpark
photo of Mt. Olympus
Mt. Olympus

If you had to guess where the waterpark capital of the world might be, where would you say?

Nope, it’s not in Florida, California or Texas — it’s in Wisconsin, obviously!

The Wisconsin Dells, located near the heart of America’s Dairyland and fondly referred to as “the Dells” by locals, has been a tourism hotspot for more than 150 years — as early as 1856, boat tours were offered to patrons looking to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

While the tourism industry in the Dells initially capitalized on the scenic Wisconsin landscape, that would change when waterparks started to move in. The Dells is only 19.5 square miles in size, with a little more than 5,500 residents, but it’s now home to more than 20 waterparks — and 15.7 million gallons of water to operate them.

Among the more notorious parks is Noah’s Ark. Opened in 1979, the park sprawls across 70 acres of land and features three miles of waterslides and five million gallons of water, making it America’s largest waterpark.

But the history doesn’t stop there. In 1994, the Polynesian Resort Hotel marked the first indoor waterpark in the Dells and the country as a whole.

Other major attractions include Great Wolf Lodge, a wilderness-themed resort with an indoor waterpark; The Kalahari Resort, which features an African theme; Chula Vista, a southwestern-themed park; and Mt. Olympus, a waterpark that boasts a Greek mythology theme.

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