select - Cool Cities

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First introduced to the world in the USA in the 1940s, water parks are now a popular pastime in every corner of the globe for their recreational swimming, water slides, thrill rides, and barefoot fun. Here are some of the world’s best for simply splashing summer enjoyment.

 

Berlin

While most go to water parks to cool off, many Germans head to Tropical Islands to warm up, especially in winter. The vast space – the size of eight football fields – is home to the world’s biggest indoor rainforest (where you can even camp overnight) and remains at a steady 26°C year round. It also boasts a sandy beach under swaying palm trees, and a sauna and spa complex open 24 hours. For many, it’s simply a place to relax by the Bali Lagoon, take a dip in the warm waters, or perhaps enjoy the evening’s tropical variety show; but thrill-seekers can attempt Germany’s highest water tower, where slides propel you up to 70kph. Submerged water slides and whirlpools will also entertain anyone who wants to do more than just float about.


WHY
Waterfalls, plenty of faux tropics, and limpid waters: this is the place to let your worries float away.


WHERE
60km south of Berlin at the Staakow motorway exit, or take the train to Brand, where there are resort shuttles.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways flies daily from Doha to Berlin.

 


Manchester

Britain’s largest indoor water park, Sandcastle WaterPark has 18 different slides and a large wave pool. Its Sidewinder the world’s premier vertical slide, and the Master Blaster is the world’s longest indoor water rollercoaster. An interactive play area for kids called Caribbean Storm Treehouse amuses with water cannon and mini slides, while a giant coconut shell soaks unsuspecting passers-by.


WHY
A balmy tropical indoor climate makes it just the place to warm up in the British winter – or even summer.


WHERE
In Blackpool, 48km northwest of Manchester. Take the direct train from Manchester Airport to Blackpool North, changing to Blackpool South station.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has twice daily flights from Doha to Manchester.

 


São Paulo

Cool off in the wave pools, lazy river, or on a variety of different water slides at Wet‘n Wild, Brazil’s premier water park – or soak up the sun at the artificial beaches and work on the perfect tan. There’s also an area set aside for children, who will particularly enjoy Bubble Up, a big elastic ball that launches them into the water.


WHY
When the world’s biggest city gets a bit much, Wet‘n Wild is the perfect antidote.


WHERE
In Vinhedo, 50 minutes from downtown São Paulo on the Bandeirantes Highway. Buses travel directly to the park from nine locations around the city.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has daily flights from Doha to São Paulo.

 


Dubai

A whole range of water attractions at the Atlantis resort makes this one of the world’s most varied water parks. The Lost Chambers are themed around the lost world of Atlantis and consist of underwater halls and tunnels with outlooks onto 65,000 marine creatures. A behind-the-scenes tour gives a fascinating glimpse into the work involved in maintaining these aquariums and, at the lagoons, you can hand-feed rays or dive among sharks and wrasse. Meanwhile, adjacent Aquaventure Dubai has water slides and rides, including the dramatic Leap of Faith from its centrepiece 61m ziggurat, and Shark Attack, which takes visitors shrieking through twisting, pitch-black tunnels. But for many, the highlight is Dolphin Bay, where you can swim with the endearing resident dolphins, who allow themselves to be touched and show off tricks and skills.


WHY
One of Dubai’s most popular attractions, Aquaventure is just the place to unwind when the fierce desert heat starts to burn.


WHERE
All activities are located at Atlantis The Palm resort on the artificial island of Palm Jumeirah, 35 minutes from the airport.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has eight flights a day from Doha to Dubai.

 


Kuala Lumpur

With over 80 rides and other attractions from Bengal tigers to a pirate ship, Sunway Lagoon is considered one of Asia’s best water parks. In the Wild West, visitors can ride the rapids of the Grand Canyon, but the Waters of Africa section is the main place to cool off. Among its highlights are a race at 40kph down the six-lane Congo Challenge, and riding the surf in the world’s largest artificial surf simulator, where waves reach up to 2.5m. The park also has a unique double-tube ride that plunges 15m. Meanwhile, youngsters can splash around at the interactive water playground, while the more sedate can enjoy the artificial beach and beach games such as volleyball. Sunway Lagoon also hosts concerts and special events, and features daily street performances.


WHY
Malaysia’s steamy tropical climate makes this the perfect place to flop, relax, and cool down on a hot day.


WHERE
Petaling Jaya, 15 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. Take the KTM train to Subang Jaya station, then a bus to the resort.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has 13 flights each week from Doha to Kuala Lumpur.

 


Guangzhou

‘Water fun for everyone’ is the motto of Chimelong Water Park. The largest aqua park in Asia boasts both the world’s longest lazy river at 800m, as well as the largest wave pool, where locals float in the humidity of a Guangzhou summer. The Boomerang tube ride shoots braver visitors vertically before careering over bumps and ending with a splashdown; the Free Fall Plus and Master Blaster also test the nerves. But kids aren’t overlooked, with mini rides and a dedicated section of the pool, not to mention a Hawaiian-themed play centre with over 300 interactive water toys and slides. Chimelong uses a special ozone water treatment to ensure water quality; visitors are practically swimming in mineral water. The park also offers shopping, dining, a variety of entertainment, and adjacent zoo and circus.


WHY
The largest water park in Asia and one of the few in China, Chimelong boasts several record-breaking attractions.


WHERE
Chimelong is in Panyu District some 35 minutes from downtown Guangzhou. Take bus 221 or 247 or Metro line 3 to Hanxi-Changlong station.


HOW TO GET THERE
Qatar Airways has five flights each week from Doha to Guangzhou.

 
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