Forget Your Worries And Break Out Your Bathing Suit

In case you didn't know, I'm half mid-Western. That's right, my Mom's side of the family is from America's dairy state: Wisconsin. No wonder I spend so much time thinking about cheese.

Growing up in the suburbs of New York, I only got to see that side of the family on our summer trips there. But I have great memories of those visits, particularly the excursions when all the cousins would meet up to go to a water park in the Wisconsin Dells. Did you know that the Wisconsin Dells is the water park capital of the world? This is according to the Noah's Arc website, which must be the definitive source of information on the matter, holding the crown as America's largest water park.

I have great memories of spending time with my cousins, whipping down slides and hanging out in the wave pool. And let me tell you, things are only getting better at water parks. In March, the Hub and I took a short "spring break" warm weather holiday to Tenerife and spent the best part of one of the days at Sian Park, screaming our way down slides on rubber rings. The rides have advanced. No longer are they just simple slides, but often times you're hurtled down into wide open funnels where your ring seems to almost fly vertically up one wall and then the other, like you're a mouse on a sponge in a drain. We loved it.

The other thing that's amazing about water parks: if you're worried about how you look in a swim suit (and frankly who isn't?) a water park is the best antidote. Although I will always put a cover up on over my bathing suit, feeling incredibly self conscious walking from say a sun lounger to a snack bar, I will happily walk around a water park in the same swimming costume (as the Brits say) with not a care in the world. And that's because all I'm focused on is having fun and which ride we should do next.

Since we're on the subject, I would like to take this opportunity to remember one of the world's first water parks. It closed many years ago now, but I just found out about it by reading this fascinating -- albeit long -- article about the history (and demise) of River Country in Disney World Orlando in 2002. According to this investigative report, it would seem the pioneering water park had too small of a guest capacity, which made it unprofitable by 2002, particularly in the wake of the September 11 attacks. (If you happen to have an interest in the history of theme parks, it's definitely worth a read.)

On a much brighter note, I'm happy to say that the Hub and I have an epic Stateside adventure planned this summer and one of the stops will be Wisconsin. And even better, all of us cousins (and aunts and uncles too) are gathering together -- including spending a day at the Dells. I cannot wait to cast off my worries and get in the water.

Photo credit: Boy dives into a lake off a slide via photopin (license)

Photo credit: Leap of Faith via photopin (license)

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