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Get wet! Fantastic World Splashes

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The last two weeks of summer is a must catch up for those who didn’t get a watery vacation. Do it. Really. Get your best swimming suits, pack your bag and go!

Andrew Monko of MSN Travel has put in together the best splash spots in the world where you can go by contacting a travel agent. Check them out and plan to get there next weekend.

Kalahari Resorts Water Park

At 173,000 square feet under one transparent roof, the Kalahari Resorts Water Park in Sandusky, Ohio, holds the title of the largest U.S. indoor water park. Amid its numerous aquatic draws (including a wave pool, bowl ride, spiral flume and four-lane slalom racer slide), Kalahari claims to have made surfing popular in the Upper Midwest: Its two Flowrider simulators are intended to mimic the thrill of a five-foot wave.

Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Water Park

Checking the weather report won’t ever be your top priority at Texas’ Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Water Park. The world’s first convertible water-park roof system hovers over Wasserfest, a heated indoor attraction area (one of three within the main park), and can open or close in eight minutes. Wasserfest is heated when the temperature drops, and also offers one of the park’s most thrilling rides: Rohr! (seen above) rockets the daring down a vertical plummet from a 70-foot tower at more than 30 mph.

Noah’s Park

Noah’s Ark is one of 18 parks clustered in the Wisconsin Dells, a town of just 2,500 residents that attracts 5 million visitors annually and proclaims itself the “water park capital of the world.” Now the largest water park in America, Noah’s Ark harbors a brain-boggling 47 slides (including the Black Anaconda, the longest water coaster in the U.S.). Shown above is the country’s first water half-pipe, the closest you can get to feeling like Tony Hawk in an inflatable raft.

Blizzard Beach

Walt Disney World in Orlando employed a melting ski resort motif for the newest of its three water parks, Blizzard Beach. Mount Gushmore, the artificial hill that hosts most of the attractions, is not only the fifth-highest point in Florida, but also sports its own ski area-style chairlift. Leave the Gore-Tex at home, though: Water in the slides — including the Summit Plummet, which is recognized as the world’s highest and fastest free-fall body slide — is kept at a comfy 80 degrees.

Aquaventure

Atlantis Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas, isn’t a bargain destination — but it’s a treat for any aqua-addict who can reach its shores. The water park, named “,” offers visitors high–tech water entertainment, including numerous high-concept slides, rapids, a mile-long river ride and special effects. Thanks to people-moving innovations like water escalators, conveyors, water surges and “master blaster” technology, guests never have to leave the water. Shown is the six-story Mayan temple that houses five different slides, the most daring of which is “Leap of Faith,” a 60-foot near-vertical descent through a clear acrylic tunnel embedded within a shark lagoon.

The Tank

Nothing beats teasing one of humankind’s natural predators without dipping a toe in the sea. Golden Nugget’s The Tank features a 200,000-gallon shark tank as the centerpiece of this Las Vegas swimming pool. Lazily swim alongside the sleek, carnivorous creatures, or turn the thrill up a notch by descending a 30-foot slide straight through the middle of the tank within the safety of a transparent tube.

Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis

Fine marble and granite as well as ancient-style mosaics decorate all of the pools in the 4.5-acre Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. The Temple Pool, the area’s focal point, boasts an extravagant island rotunda in its center. Spend enough time in these opulent Roman baths and you’d be forgiven for forgetting what century it is.

Harrah’s Resort

Like a modern-day Xanadu pleasure palace, Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City is a domed playground replete with an 80,000-gallon pool, tropical foliage and a constant temperature of 82 degrees. The complex is for ages 21 and up only, so parents can enjoy hedonistic delights without the worry of watching the kids.

San Alfonso Del Mar

Tired of being crowded at your local gym’s lap pool? This saltwater lagoon — over a kilometer in length — at San Alfonso Del Mar, Chile, should provide you and a few thousand of your friends plenty of room to sail, kayak, windsurf or practice the butterfly stroke. Nine degrees warmer than the adjacent ocean, but with the transparency and color of the tropical seas, this people pond is currently the largest crystalline water pool in the world.

The Standard

On a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles, The Standard’s angular pool offers the chance to conquer your fear of heights and impress the fashionistas with your cannonball skills at the same time. Poolside parties at night include DJs and movies projected onto neighboring buildings. Early risers beware: The merry-making atmosphere is known to extend into the wee hours.

The Biltmore Hotel

While its more glamorous days of water shows, high-dive competitions and performances by aquatic superstar Esther Williams may be past, the 700,000-gallon pool at The Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, Fla. is still the largest in the continental U.S. A Miami pool party this is not — after a swim or a round of golf, guests can lounge in tranquil poolside cabana suites amid palms, bougainvillea and hibiscus.

St. Lucia’s twin infinity Pitons

If the beguiling aesthetic of water disappearing over a vanishing edge doesn’t overwhelm your senses, a gaze beyond to St. Lucia’s twin Pitons and the Caribbean Sea should do the trick. The infinity pools at Jade Mountain (within the Anse Chastanet resort) were designed as artistic architectural elements within the hotel. Each tranquil pool varies in size, shape and color, and is overlaid with recycled, reflective iridescent glass tiles.

Ayung River valley

This alluring, terrace-perched infinity pool at the Alila Ubud hotel in Bali, Indonesia, seems to levitate as it blends with the lush surroundings of the Ayung River valley. After you’re finished relaxing in the pool, mosey on over to the nearby town of Ubud, Bali’s artistic hub, to enjoy the island’s cultural delights.

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Category: Spotlight
August 18th, 2008

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