10 Aquatic Play Structures to Get You in the Halloween Spirit

Inspiration can arise unexpectedly, especially when seeking the perfect Halloween costume. In a delightful twist, it might be that water parks are the place where creativity strikes due to their intricate thematic settings. Whether it’s the allure of pirate ships, intergalactic escapades, or exploration through the jungle, water parks go beyond being sources of endless entertainment for their visitors and might just serve as this year’s inspiration for your Halloween festivities.

Whether you’re looking for a costume that will make a splash or in need of some light reading, join us as we explore 10 of the world’s most thematically rich aquatic play structures.

1. Experience the King of the Bayou at Audubon Cool Zoo in Louisiana, USA

Located in New Orleans, Audubon Cool Zoo is part of a complex of museums and parks known as the Audubon Nature Institute. Due to the water park’s proximity to the zoo, you might be a little surprised that its theming draws inspiration from the animals inside. The main attraction at the water park is the AquaPlay 550 featuring an impressive 8.5 m (28 ft) tall by 10.1 m (33 ft) long hand-carved white alligator. As this is an incredibly rare creature, the white alligator AquaPlay structure needed to be equally unique, with a tipping bucket carved into the creature’s jaw to create the illusion of its “chomping” down when the bucket is poured to a hidden water slide exiting out of the animal’s tail.

Because guests of the water park often visit after the zoo, many parents choose to stay dry by enjoying the nearby seating strategically shaded by umbrellas. Using a clear layout that allows children to easily see their parents for reassurance, the adults can relax while watching their children at the AquaPlay 550, increasing dwell time and opportunities for ancillary revenue through food and beverage purchases, or retail purchases for those who see the iconic alligator structure and forgot to pack a bathing suit.

Water play structure spraying green water

2. Join the Story at Aqua Nick at Nickelodeon™ Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya, Mexico

Inspired by the animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” Bikini Bottom Beach at Aqua Nick water park is made up of a RainFortress 5. It is the largest theming project that WhiteWater has ever done, immersing guests in the world of SpongeBob, Patrick Star, and their friends, including the show’s iconic landmarks, such as SpongeBob’s pineapple house and Patrick’s rock.

Equipped with eight body slides for visitors measuring 42″ and taller, the RainFortress 5 provides over 100 water features, including water guns, tipping cones, and water jets for a soaking experience. As visitors explore the structure, they will encounter sequenced jets and interactive features that offer engaging activities for all. Moreover, every day at 3:00 p.m., resort guests rush to the structure for the daily Super Sliming event—a spectacle where a massive cascade of green “slime” douses eager guests below.

3. Uncover a Long-Lost Civilization at Aquaventure at Atlantis Resort, Dubai, UAE

If you have ever wanted to be in your own chapter of Indiana Jones, then the AquaPlay 1050 at Aquaventure at Atlantis Dubai is for you. Positioning visitors as archaeologists uncovering every nook and cranny of the Mayan-themed structure, the AquaPlay 1050 transports guests back in time through the illusion that it’s built from blocks like those used for ancient temples. The theming makes the structure easily recognizable, which is important with the size of the water park. The AquaPlay 1050 serves as an identifier for families within the water park as they divide and conquer, with one parent going with the older kids toward the water slides and one staying with the younger children at the play structure. With enough toys and interactive elements to entertain kids for hours on end, the structure enables families to spend their entire day at the water park without fear of their kids getting lost as they know to return to the play structure should they wander off.

Image credit: LEGOLAND® New York Resort

4. Get Creative at LEGOLAND® New York Resort, New York, USA

When you hear the word LEGO®, a clear image comes to mind. Known for its bricks in vibrant primary colours, the LEGO world spans everything from movie characters to video game heroes deeply ingrained in mainstream culture. Taking inspiration from this strong brand, LEGO CITY Water Playground at LEGOLAND® New York Resort was created featuring an AquaPlay 1050. Drawing from the LEGO colours, the play structure comprises 4 water slides, 95 play features, and a 318-gallon tipping bucket. Adorned with LEGO-themed palm trees and figures, the AquaPlay 1050 transforms guests into the size of minifigures as they traverse the distinctive play area. Covered in over 4,900 square feet of beach-coloured Life Floor, the play structure gives peace of mind to parents by removing the fear of injuries due to slips and falls. The non-slip, cushioned surface enables little ones to play braver as they can jump and test their physical strength without worry.

5. Set Sail at Azam Waterpark at Hotel Verde in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Planes, trains, automobiles… and ferries? Taking inspiration from the country of Tanzania, the RainFortress 5 at Hotel Verde pulls together different elements from the region to remind visitors of the fond memories they made while in the country. One of the most recognizable elements of the structure is the red boat of the Kilimanjaro Fast Ferries, a prominent ferry operator that provides transportation between Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. Other elements include shells to resemble the famous beaches of Zanzibar as well as zebra stripes to look like the animals they may have seen on a safari. Part of Hotel Verde’s range of amenities, the RainFortress 5 helps the hotel to diversify its offerings and differentiate itself from the other hotels in Zanzibar.

Image credit: Howard Johnson Anaheim

6. Batten Down the Hatches at Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel & Water Playground, California, USA

Another hotel capitalizing on the trend of aquatic amenities is the Howard Johnson in Anaheim, California. Located across the street from Disneyland Park, the resort’s AquaPlay had a high bar to meet when it came to theming. The resulting AquaPlay 550 uses pirate elements to make the guests feel like they are about to embark on the high seas to discover new lands and search for buried treasures. Complete with a jolly roger flag, crow’s nest, sail, and mast, the AquaPlay 550 transforms young visitors from guests at the hotel into a misfit pirate crew. With under 2,000 square meters (20,000 square feet) of space, the addition of the AquaPlay 550 allowed the property to optimize its amenity offerings provide guests with a diverse array of experiences, and ensure that children are entertained and engaged throughout their stay.

7. Explore the Tropics at Rigby’s Water World, Georgia, United States

On the other end of the spectrum, the team at Rigby’s Water World went as big as they could, installing a FusionFortress 17 featuring 10 exciting water slides, two tipping buckets for maximum splash, and over 180 interactive features. With such a large variety of attractions, the structure enables older kids to get the thrills they seek from WhiteWater’s iconic attractions, like the Boomerango and Champagne Bowl, while the younger kids have their own area of the structure where they can play safely, away from the big kids. Influenced by Hawaii and Pacific islands, Rigby’s Water World infuses the FusionFortress 17 with elements of the tropics, including floral patterns, surfboards, toucans, and parrots. To enhance the tropical vibe, the tipping bucket was even designed to take on the scales of a pineapple, with a bright yellow colour creating contrast against the bright blue Georgia skies.

Image Credit: World Red Eye

8. Get a Sugar Rush at Tidal Cove at JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa, Florida, USA

The aquatic play structure at Tidal Cove features an emoji-styled candy theme that’s as charming as it is playful. The attention to detail is evident, with small, colourful circles adorning its panels, reminiscent of those beloved button-shaped candies. What’s more, the roof is thoughtfully crafted to resemble a melting ice cream sundae, complete with chocolate sauce, a cherry on top, and whimsical drips along the edges. Families can take in the fun from the comfort of the shaded viewing area or enjoy the convenience of nearby cabanas, perfect for hosting children’s birthday celebrations. With the added benefit of charging drinks and meals to your room, families can fully relax and savour an entire day at the park, all while contributing to the resort’s bottom line.

9. Dive into Myths, Legends, and Lore at Wild Wadi, Dubai, UAE

One of the most well-known characters in Arabic folklore is Juha, often depicted as an ordinary person who uses wit and humour to navigate life’s challenges. Juha’s stories serve as a form of social commentary, highlighting the importance of wisdom and common sense. Passed down through generations, the stories of Juha are deeply ingrained within the Arabic culture, which makes sense that Wild Wadi Waterpark would use them as inspiration for its RainFortress 5. Each component of the aquatic play structure was carefully designed to fit into the elements of the stories, from bridges and steps into a dhow, to sculptures of famous characters integrated into the railings. With a mix of experiences bringing the entire family together, the RainFortress 5 continues the legacy of the Juha stories and allows for multiple generations to explore with one another.

10. Stop and Smell the Roses at Center Parcs Les Landes de Gascogne, France

Typically located in forested or woodland areas, Center Parcs resorts pride themselves on creating harmony with the natural surroundings. It would make sense then that the Center Parcs Les Landes de Gascogne location would draw inspiration for its AquaPlay 750 from nature as well. Covered in pink and purple flowers, vines, and butterflies, the AquaPlay structure looks as if it would belong more at home in someone’s garden than it would in a water park. With indoor water parks having to make tough calls on attraction selection due to space constraints, the AquaPlay 750 provides the resort with an easy win due to its ability to accommodate 221 people instantaneously through interactive toys and a mix of water slides.

WhiteWater’s team of skilled theming designers and sculptors is dedicated to crafting immersive narratives that captivate customers, drawing them into emotionally engaging, larger-than-life, 3D-themed environments that leave a lasting impression for years to come. The art of creating exceptional kid’s areas goes beyond just adding a play structure to a park, the area needs careful thought into shading, complimentary ride mix, and surrounding lounge areas. Learn how to create spaces that captivate and entertain the youngest visitor (and decision-maker) by watching the webinar at www.whitewaterwest.com/kids-areas.

Cassidy Newman