THE POWER OF WATER
Η ΔΥNΑMΗ ΤΟΥ ΝΕΡΟΥ
ΑΣΤΙΚΟΣ ΧΩΡΟΣ + ΑΣΤΙΚΟ ΠΡΕΣΙΝΟ / URBAN SPACE + URBAN GREEN SPACE Η ΔΥΝΑΜΗ ΤΟΥ ΝΕΡΟΥ / THE POWER OF WATER ΒΙΟΠΟΙΚΙΛΟΤΗΤΑ / ΔΙΑΠΟΛΙΤΙΣΜΙΚΟΤΗΤΑ
BIODIVERSITY / INTERCULTURALISM ΒΙΟΜΗΧΑΝΙΚΑ ΚΑΤΑΛΟΙΠΑ / INDUSTRIAL REMNANTS ΜΕΤΑΦΟΡΕΣ / TRANSPORTATIONS ΤΟΠΙΟ / LANDSCAPE    
   
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
  
 
BACK PRINT SEND TO A FRIEND [-]Α[+]
Water Parks
Mika Michalaki, architect

The origins of waterparks - The rapid development of waterparks in the late 20th century - Amusement at a high cost... especially for the planet

Water is the very source of all life on this planet and the human relationship with liquid elements remains close during the centuries. In the water environment, man used to search not only for the fulfilment of his biological needs, but also for the enjoyment of moments of rest and amusement.

The origins of waterparks
The existence of baths in ancient cities and their use as places for personal hygiene but also for meetings, entertainment and socializing is indicative of the various use of water in societies. In subsequent years, the image of baths developed and it has gradually approached the image of today’s waterparks. The Italian engineers and architects seem to have played a significant role in this transference by designing and constructing complicated and artistic compositions of buildings and water elements that surmount the facts of that period. Characteristic examples are Villa d’Este in the city of Tivoli in Italy (1550 A.C) and Villas Aldobrandini and Torlonia in the city of Frascati, which all include wonderful buildings surrounded by enchanting Renaissance leveled gardens, fountains, pools, canals and tanks.

The Palace of Versailles with its gorgeous three leveled extended gardens and the Big Canal with the numerous fountains with total land of 24 hectares, is the answer of the French landscape architect André Le Nôtre to his Italian colleagues. During the same period of time, starts the creation and construction of entertainment parks with intense use of water in many cities of Europe and USA. One of the oldest, if not the oldest amusement park that combined game and water is the Bakken amusement park in Klampenborg, Denmark, which operates since 1583 until today and which owes its existence to a natural spring in the area. A few years later and more specifically in 1660, the Vauxhall gardens were inaugurated at the northern bank of Thames River in London, the access to which during the first years of its operation was only by the river. The Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen (1843), the Playland at San Francisco beach (1927) and the Prater amusement park in Vienna are other significant examples of theme water parks of that period.

The rapid development of waterparks in the late 20th century
During the 1970’s, the idea of thematic and amusement parks was rapidly developing. The Wet 'n’ Wild waterpark in Orlando which was designed and constructed in 1977 by the father of waterparks, George Millay, is the first and undoubtedly one of the most impressive waterparks in the world. The Noah's Ark Waterpark (1978) in USA, the Gardaland (1975) near the lake Garda in Northern Italy, the Alton Towers (1980) in Strattfordshire and the Wet 'n’ Wild in Australia (1984), complete the colorful puzzle of the waterparks of that period. In 1981, the World Waterpark Association was established. According to the Organization’s data, it is believed that today exist more than 1600 waterparks in the world, while according to statistics for year 2005 the waterparks with the most guests were the Typhoon Lagoon and the Blizzard Beach at Walt Disney World in Florida with over 1.914.000 and 1.778.000 visitors respectively, the Wet ‘n Wild waterpark in Orlando with 1.340.000 and the Schlitterbahn in Texas with 917.000 visitors per year.

Greece, as a country surrounded by three seas and sunshine, could not be unaffected by the contemporary sirens that invite one to play in the water. During the last years even more water theme parks are being constructed in our country, in order to fulfil the demands of the local people, but also in order to supply one more contemporary tourist attraction to foreign visitors. Furthermore, it is not accidental the fact that most of the waterparks are located on islands and at summer travel destinations which are close to big hotels, conference halls, shopping malls and exhibition centres. Some of the most well known waterparks in Greece are the Waterland in Thessaloniki, the Aqualand in Corfu, the Limnoupolis in Chania, the Waterpark in Rhodes, the Aqua Splash in Heraklion, the Lido Waterpark in Kos, the Watermania in Mykonos and the Waterpark in Aegina with an average of 1700 visitors per year. At all of them, one can find waterslides, paths in water, wave pools, entertainment and educational games for visitors of all ages, mini bars and places for rest and joy. Water is the main source of fun, as most of the activities are partaken in it, while its successive applications of spinning, pressure and movement, cause the pleasant change of intensity and serenity to the visitor who comes in contact with it, offering laughter, delight and many hours of relaxation.

Amusement at a high cost... especially for the planet
Waterparks, under the terms of contemporary marketing, offer an alternative type of amusement. In general, the admission cost to waterparks in our country fluctuates between 13,50- 20 euros, while in some cases there is a free entrance. One would think that waterparks, as trade products, would be lucrative businesses, however the truth is completely different. The total cost for the construction of a waterpark is extremely high. The construction, the purchase of the play equipments, the maintenance, the supply and the water recycling (around 30.000 cubic meters/year) are substantial expenses, while according to information gathered from various sources, only the constructional cost is more than 5 million euros. Unfortunately, most of the companies that work on waterparks today display financial loss, as the required funds are very big, in contrast to the epochal operation, the unstable number of visitors, the high operational costs, the cost of maintenance, the direct dependence on tourists and the continuous cost for health and safety regulations.

Generally, the cost for the construction and maintenance of waterparks depends on the dimensions of swimming pools, as well as on the cost and the consumption of water. The amount of water which is daily used in such places is enormous, as many cubic meters of water are required not only for the filling of pools, but also for the right function of the mechanisms for water recycling, disinfection, maintenance of the good quality of water and refilling of its losses. It is estimated that the water’s losses during an hour are equal to 2,5 to 4% of the pool’s total capacity, independently of the rate of water renewal and recycling. Despite the fact that many technical applications have taken place in order to reduce the required volume of water, its consumption at waterparks remains at high levels.

Is the future of waterparks clouded and doubtable? Their fervent promoters say no,.. just before they enjoy themselves for one more time by playing in the water.

mikamichalaki@hotmail.com


BIBLIOGRAPHY

14/12/2007
BACK TOP OF THE PAGE
Villa d’Este in Italy
Credit: http://en. wikipedia.org
Versailles Gardens
Credit: http://en. wikipedia.org
Sunway Lagoon in Malaysia
Credit: http://en. wikipedia.org
Alton Towers in Great Britain
Credit: http://en. wikipedia.org
Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai
Credit: http://www.biwater.com
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark in the city of New Braunfels in Texas. Credit: http://www.texasexplorer.com
Waterland in Thessaloniki
Credit: Waterland, Thessaloniki
Waterpark in Rhodes
Credit: Google earth
Limnoupolis in Crete
Credit: Google earth
Lido Waterpark in Κos
Credit: Google earth