Amusement Today held their annual Golden Ticket Awards ceremony last night at SeaWorld San Diego. The Golden Ticket Awards, in case you didn't know, is an annual awards show for the best parks and rides nominated by chosen "amusement park experts" located around the world. Think of it like the Oscar Academy Awards, but for amusement parks! Categories include best amusement park, best water park, best steel/wooden coaster, best new ride of 2014 (amusement/water park), and more.
Here are the winners in the water park categories:
- Best Water Park: Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas
- Best Waterpark Ride: Wildebeest at Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.
- Best New Ride of 2014 - Water Park: Verrückt, Schlitterbahn Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo.
- Best Indoor Waterpark: Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, Galveston, Texas
Schlitterbahn's water parks have been touted as being some of the best in the world, and the New Braunfels, Texas, water park definitely take the cake in being awarded Best Water Park of 2014 at the Golden Ticket Awards year after year. I personally haven't been to either of the Schlitterbahn parks myself, but they are no-doubt on my list of parks to visit in the near future! The closest one to me being the Kansas City Schlitterbahn, which holds the world's tallest waterslide: Verrückt.
If you've ever read any of my reviews or trip reports of Holiday World's water park, Splashin' Safari, then you know how highly I praise their collection of water slides, especially their two water coasters Wildebeest and Mammoth. Both hydromagnetic water coasters are the longest of their kind, and are huge crowd pleasers with even those who prefer amusement parks over water parks, all thanks to the LIM motors that allow the rafts to travel uphill at very quick speeds and getting you ridiculously soaked. While Mammoth is the newer and larger one, Wildebeest still holds its intensity thanks to the quicker speeds and hills that produce airtime, which is likely why it took top place as Best Water Park Ride of 2014.
The newest water slide that caught the attention of the world and put thrill seekers into shivers, Schlitterbahn Kansas City water park's Verrückt water slide takes the award for Best New Water Park Ride of 2014, which is reasonable considering it stands a little over 168 feet tall making it the tallest water slide in the world. It consists of a huge record-setting drop followed by an enormous uphill section powered by strong water jets to propel the three-person raft over and down the second drop before coming to a stop at the base pool.
The award for Best Indoor Waterpark of 2014 went to the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island water park in Galveston, Texas. The runner ups for this list are Kalahari Resort in Ohio, World Waterpark in Alberta (Canada), Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin, and Splash Landings in England. I can't personally comment on the Schlitterbahn Galveston water park considering I haven't heard a lot about it, but to my understanding it is a water park that is part indoors/part outdoors, with the majority of rides being outdoor. The indoor part of the park consists of sectioned-off wave pool, lazy river, and water slides that have retractable roofing to allow outside elements to take over during hotter seasons.
While that part does classify as an indoor water park, I'm personally confused on it taking the top of the list on being best indoor water park. I would hope that the people nominating these parks are taking into consideration what's available when the park is forced to keep only the indoor section running, and not what's available on the outdoor section. Many of the runner-up are purely indoors (and much larger), and are able to keep all of their attractions running no matter what the conditions are outside. Galveston seems like it turns into a fairly small water park once put into indoor-mode.
But again, I haven't been to the water park myself, so I can't personally comment on whether it is deserving of first place.
Still, to all nominees and award winner, I say congratulations! Here's to another year of attractions bound to top any list of best and favorites!