“Hands down one of the best products you can use to allow ‘kids to be kids.’”
-Olivia Wyrick, Director of Aquaventure Operations
Safety surfacing, by nature, allows kids to play on splash pads the way they want to play. But there’s more to the conversation than just facilitating play. How can safety surfacing elevate experiences by encouraging and inviting new kinds of play opportunities? How can safety surfaces by design create a more dynamic play space?
We’re back to our discussion about spray parks and play value! We’re going to start where we left off and dive deeper into the issue of spray park design, specifically surface design.
In Lisa J Lewis’s 2005 paper “Role of Splash Parks in Outdoor Public Recreation,” Lewis ends with her overall recommendations about how splash pads in general should be designed. She anchors this conclusion with the following:
There are many practical reasons to love spray parks. They’re less expensive to build and maintain than pools, they’re often free to the community, and they serve as a place to connect with neighbors and new families. Of course the main users of splash pads, kids, love them for a very obvious reason: they’re fun!
But how do you measure how fun a splash pad is?
Sizzle. The sound you’d like to avoid when wet feet touch hot concrete. If you’ve ever been to an outdoor aquatic facility in the summer, this problem is likely a sore subject. One of the most common complaints brought to us by operators is the issue of hot surfaces throughout outdoor facilities, specifically on pool decks, stair towers, and walkways. It comes as little surprise then to learn that concrete can reach temperatures hovering around 120°F, while rubberized surfaces can easily reach temperatures above 140°F. In one recent study, a rubberized surface was reported to be 170°F (X).
For our third and final installment of the 2018 Leaders in Aquatic Design series, we had the special pleasure of speaking with two leaders in the field, Douglass Whiteaker, Principal, and President of Water Technology, Inc (WTI) and Jen Gerber, Senior Business Development Coordinator.
In the second installment of this year’s series, we had the pleasure of connecting with Allen Clawson, Managing Partner & Principal of Cloward H2O. Clawson has twenty five years of global engineering, project management, design and planning of aquatic systems and facilities experience. (x)
Last year, as part of our architect and designer series, we sat down with three major firms in the aquatic design industry. Josh Martin, the President and Creative Director of Aquatic Design & Engineering (ADE), was kind enough to share his perspective in the first installment of this year’s series.
In aquatics, we talk a lot about slip-resistance, slip-resisting surfaces, and reducing slip-and-fall injuries. Wet areas can be slippery: it’s why we have bath mats, and slippery-when-wet signs, and Bon Jovi albums.
At Life Floor, we've seen a lot of sand in and around water parks, other aquatic installations, and in other human-made environments. That may not be a good thing. To paraphrase a philosopher, "We don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere." (seen here) Digging into the problem a little deeper, we realized that trucking sand into these places from mines, beaches, and riverbeds isn't just annoying, it's potentially dangerous. Here are a few reasons we think the aquatic recreation industry, and any industry, should rethink sand usage:
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) uses March as part of their awareness campaign to educate and expand the conversation around traumatic brain injuries, including helping the general public understand both the incidence rate of brain injuries, as well as how to support the brain community and their families.
Society has an interesting history with the concept of public fountains. Depending on current technology and culture, fountains have been designed as drinking water dispensers for urban populations, markers of courtly love locked in cloisters, elaborate Persian floating gardens, and elaborate works of lasting art and architectural prowess.
One of the great joys of living in Minnesota (Life Floor headquarters are located in Minneapolis, MN, which at the time of writing this, is a balmy -4F) is the emphasis on parks, green spaces and natural landscapes. We’re a land of 10,000 lakes, and just about every single one of our lakes has a park attached, usually with a playground, a well-maintained trail, and (our favorite) splash pads. As people who have grown up with beautiful parks, and who are raising our children to enjoy these parks, we cannot be more thankful that we live in a part of the country that treasures park and recreation programs.
In writing this 2018 Trends series, we noticed an overarching theme: water parks are designing, renovating, and building their attractions to reach larger and more diverse audiences. This week we're discussing how both established parks and new parks are also focusing on making parks accessible to accommodate guests of all abilities.
Franchising intellectual property is a huge trend across all forms of entertainment: movies are creating interconnected, cinematic universes, major video game franchises have had new or re-released games in the last few years, and TV shows are reviving nostalgic favorites.
In the US, the Waterpark industry is over 60 years old. Every year tourist destination water parks need to innovate and expand in order to keep brand presence strong, ticket sales high, and guests returning season after season.
Americans spend a cumulative total of 37 billion hours waiting in line per year. Nobody loves standing in line, especially at a water park, but a bad queue doesn't just bore guests: it leaves them frustrated and ready to leave.
Use the following tips to make any water park line worth waiting in:
There are likely somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 splash pads in the U.S., a number that is growing by an estimated 5-10 percent per year. A few seasons ago, we wrote a blog about how to design a splash pad and the best ways to make sure your splash pad, splash deck, spray ground, aquatic play pad, rain deck, spray deck, spray pad, spray pool, and spray zone stands out above the crowd.
There is no question that lifeguards vastly reduce swimming casualties. The United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) has calculated that the chances a swimmer may drown attending a beach protected by USLA affiliated lifeguards at 1 in 18 million. According to the International Life Saving Federation (ILSF) “Most drownings happen in environments and during activities unsupervised by lifeguards. And the great majority of drownings occur in circumstances where the victim has no intention of going into the water.” [x]