While summer may still be a month away at this point, there’s no ignoring that the heat is already here for many to endure. A great (and popular) way to combat those sweltering days often comes in the form of a trip to a nearby water park if one is available but what happens if you want to go but don’t feel like water activities 24/7 or the weather becomes a bit too cool? For these very reasons, many water parks are beginning to integrate “dry” attractions into their mix of offerings to better accommodate all people and better adapt to the changing seasons.
Dry attractions are exactly what their name implies: they’re dry. They do not require participants to wear swimsuits, water attire or possess any swimming experience. It may seem a bit out of the ordinary or not on theme for a location centered around water-based fun to also have dry attractions but it is the addition of these types of products that help to give the park dimension and allow the facility to ultimately cater to a range of guests. Without a doubt, attractions of this nature have benefits that say, water slides or an outdoor warm weather product, may not be able to provide but what are the pros exactly?
Let’s focus on these 3 major benefits of dry attractions:
- Not as greatly affected by shifts in weather
- Easy solutions to varying summer breaks
- Broadened appeal (all age groups)
#1: Operational in suboptimal weather conditions
Typically, if you walk outside and it’s a bit chillier than usual, it’s not a great day to venture over to the local water park. There aren’t many people that would want to be in a swimsuit when the sun has disappeared behind the clouds and goosebumps are starting to show. Fortunately for dry attractions, conditions like those that have just been described do not immediately put an end to possible fun.
In fact, “dry attractions are less weather temperature vulnerable and can both increase peak season attendance and revenues and also extend and increase shoulder season business” . While there still needs to be caution expressed towards extreme weather, dry attractions can aid water parks in their quest to entertain for longer periods of time and allow locations to still have activities available for guests on those not so sunny days.
#2: Ability to entertain beyond the traditional summer break
Though most adults are no longer able to bask in the glory and freedom that is summer break, kids in school still experience it every year. That means kids are home bored and parents are being asked every day about what’s on the agenda in terms of fun. While the constant search for entertainment may become challenging for parents, the variability of summer break results in a “shrinking summer” for many water parks and other summer seasonal destinations due to the “trend toward earlier school start dates or year-round schooling” .
Having less time to really entertain guests at your park is not great. Frankly, it’s a loss of major revenue for a lot of locations. Luckily to the delight of water park owners, dry attractions surpass the seasonal longevity of traditional water activities or other warm weather based products so they’re able to provide excitement beyond the time allotted for summer break. For example, Sky Trail® aerial attractions can both be operated in warmer weather and those cold, drizzly days so long as there are no major or dangerous storms present.
This now expanded time frame brought on by dry attractions allows parks to stay open longer and bring in additional revenue on top of what is earned during summer.
#3: Welcoming to children, parents & grandparents
Let’s be honest, the water may not be for everyone. Surely the kids will love to splash around for hours and go down water slides but older adults may prefer to sit on the sidelines while the little ones have fun. While water-centric attractions may be limiting for some, dry attractions open up new opportunities for all age groups and invite everyone to participate.
On dry attractions like Sky Trail®, Sky Tykes® or Clip ‘n Climb® climbing walls adults and children alike are able to move at their own pace, follow whichever path they’d prefer and exercise their bodies as they traverse across a variety of interactive elements.
Ultimately the main point to remember when it comes to the incorporation of dry attractions is that designing them for families “means designing to meet the needs and abilities of all five developmental stages of children, along with the needs and expectations of their parents” . All guests deserve to be engaged and participate because if everyone is having fun, your park is a success!
 White, R. (n.d.). Expanding Waterparks with Dry Attractions. Retrieved from https://www.whitehutchinson.com/leisure/articles/85.shtml.