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Guest Article

attendance and guest capacity recommendations. Now you are ready to choose a respected waterpark designer who will initiate big picture site diagramming that will be used to break the site down into major areas like vehicle entry, parking, drop-off, main gate, waterpark, operations, and service. The locations of these elements are driven by the site’s size and shape, topography, access to roads, views of

the waterpark from highways, the ownership’s philosophy on operations, and the designer’s industry experience. Generally, two or three site diagrams will be prepared to explore the best arrangement of these program items. Many operational factors that prove integral to the final

design are often ignored or downplayed in the conceptual phase. Parking comprises 40-50% of a standard park’s overall development area, far larger than any slide complex or mega wavepool. Although not flashy, circulation is a fundamental beginning to design, as well as more intricate details of the parking experience. For example, if parking fees are integrated into the business model, space for ticket/control booths, vehicle queuing lane, and drop-off loop lane must be incorporated into the initial designs. The SPINE, The RADIAL and The LOOP – Paths to Fun,

Predetermined for Your Guests Pedestrian circulation paths can be organised into three

general categories that can help to select proper water feature and anchor attraction locations: • The SPINE: This concept is based on a single main path that connects all major elements, driving repeated exposure to a variety of food, beverage and retail outlets. (Six Flags Great America, Illinois)

• The RADIAL: This ‘Hub and Spoke’ concept has a central core and paths that extend out to major attractions, promoting cross circulation while alleviating an overcrowded feel on busy days. (Six Flags Hurricane Harbour, New Jersey)

• The LOOP: All major elements are organised on a single path that circulates around one or two core attractions, driving guests to feature areas along the path of the full loop. (Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park, Florida) Food, beverage, and retail opportunities are strategically

located in each of these park designs to take full advantage of the deliberate circulation paths designed to move people through the park. Site conditions such as topography, roads,

MAY 2019


the author Travis A. L. Kline is a

trained architect and water

sport enthusiast. With over two decades in diverse areas of

design, engineering, branding, fabrication and construction, Travis’s interests and skills bring

a variety of experience to Aquatic Development Group. As ADG’s Manager of Architecture and Planning, Travis generates the

integral ideas behind the design process and architectural

development of themed indoor and outdoor waterparks,

immersive creative attractions, resorts, and amusement

environments. Current projects

include The Kartrite, Columbus Zoo’s Zoombezi Bay, Six Flags Parks, Canobie Lake, Gaylord

Hotels, and many more projects across North America, the Caribbean and Asia.

regulatory and natural buffers, and sight corridors should be evaluated. These factors typically help decide which site diagram to use for development into a workable plan.

PROGRAM – Think about how people spend, and design movement around those habits Your feasibility study gives the waterpark designer a target design-day attendance goal. These potential capacity numbers will drive the programme of the waterpark in respect to its water features and support buildings. The building program, including front gate operations, cash storage, retail area requirements, food and beverage, park maintenance support and mechanical buildings, is developed in detail. Additionally, a designer will consider the sizes of these elements and how they could be organised with adjacencies or combinations to help consolidate utilities and staff requirements. Other essential items to consider that can help drive the

success of your park are: • Does your feasibility study address group sales? Will there be a separate entrance? Is there a dedicated area for large groups? Will they require additional food and beverage accommodations? Are there buyout spaces or features?

• Is there an opportunity to reduce staffing by making areas or features of the park non-operational during off-seasons?

CONCEPT DESIGN - The Beginnings of the Pretty Picture Thus far, we have not yet discussed the mix of pools and water slides that will be incorporated into your waterpark. In fact, with the most successful plans, the early stages of design are actually less about the individual water features and more about organisation and identifying site opportunities. ‘Pretty picture’ concept plans rely on trying to sell fiberglass and other attractions through vibrant colors and shapes, often resulting in the lack of consideration for functional necessities and park operations.


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