History textbooks have been store houses of information about some of the most important events in the history of mankind – wars, politics, immigration events, etc. But when it comes to trivia, there is hardly any place that you could learn about some equally important facts. The History of Water Slides, for example, has not been mentioned in any textbooks. No book has ever mentioned how water slides came into existence and became an important part of our lives. We are sure each and every one of us has experienced the thrill of being on a water slide, whether it is an amusement park, a water park or simply an inflatable water slide placed in our back yard.
So, we did a bit of digging around and tried to track down some of the earliest examples of one of the most exciting ingredients of amusement parks today, the mighty water slide. We did manage to find some early examples of mankind’s commitment towards having a good time.
One of the first documented water slides came from New Zealand as a part of the 1906 International Exhibition. The “Wonderland” area of the exhibition included different types of rides and entertainment experiences which was more like a mini-amusement park. It was here that “water chute” was displayed. Even back then people knew a cool thing when they saw it. Soon after the exhibition, “Wonderland” closed down; the water chute slide was sold to a business where it went on for a few years in Wellington, New Zealand. But eventually it was dismantled.
The second instance was of Herbert Sellner. Herbert Sellner lived in Faribault, Minnesota. He started with his designing career first by making furniture, later moved on to making toys for children and then finally, most famously, the Water-Toboggan Slide. Built in 1923, the slide featured a wooden sled that people sat on and rode down an incline into a lake. Much like in New Zealand, this sled did not sink but shot off across the water for distances up to 100 feet, according to the U.S. Patent Services site.
This idea was quickly adapted into different versions of same water slide which were placed at swimming pools, lakes and beaches. This had all the making of what one would rightly call as a staple of the amusement parks. Herbert Sellner didn’t stop there, and went on to design the Tilt-a-Whirl slide which debuted at the Minnesota State Fair in 1927.
By this time the market was open for having all kinds of water slides and this paved way for Sea World which was founded in 1964 by George Millay in San Diego and later similar parks were opened in Orlando and Ohio. He later saw the potential of parks which were built around water attractions and went on to open what is considered to be the first water park, Wet n’ Wild in Orlando, according to Waterpark.com. The park became so popular that he later opened more in the United States, Mexico and Brazil. From the view point of the history of water slides, this was a by far the most important step.
Speaking of Wet n’ Wild, Arihant Water Park Equipment has had the privilege of working with the Wet n’ Wild in Brazil on a few water slides. It truly was a proud moment for our entire team to partner with the water park that has played such a vital role in shaping the attractions industry of today. Catch the glimpse of our work for Wet n’ Wild in Brazil here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz3p16YycrU
So, this was how water slides became an integral part of the attractions industry and more importantly an outlet for having a jolly good time for people of all ages.
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