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Best Waterslide (2015)

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Biggest, longest, highest – America's obsession with waterslides fuels the creation of newer, bigger and better water park thrills and chills each summer. We asked 10Best readers to help us name America's best waterslides, and after four weeks of voting, the results are in.

  • Mammoth at Splashin' Safari

    Mammoth at Splashin' Safari
    Santa Claus, Ind.

    Mammoth, at Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind., is more than just a waterslide; it’s a water coaster, the world’s longest one, at that. As riders twist and turn and catch air (yes, catch air!) in this round, six-passenger raft ride, they may be facing any direction, including backward. Special motors move the rafts uphill (so it can go back downhill, six times) and along the one-third mile length, through splashes and darkness (in five different tunnels) and twists and bumps.
    Photo courtesy of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

  • Wildebeest at Splashin' Safari

    Wildebeest at Splashin' Safari
    Santa Claus, Ind.

    This beast isn’t going to be tamed quickly. Whereas many of the world’s best waterslides are a quick, screaming blur, the Wildebeest ride at the Splashin’ Safari water park in Santa Claus, Ind. lasts two and a half minutes, making it the world’s second-longest water coaster. The Wildebeest is a whopping third-mile long, hits speeds as fast as 36 feet per second and stretches 64 feet above its bottom. The ride goes strong the whole time, too. Riders experience a four-story drop, multiple hills (that utilize linear induction motors), tunnels and even a helix.  
    Photo courtesy of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

  • Verruckt at Schlitterbahn

    Verruckt at Schlitterbahn
    Kansas City, Kan.

    Verruckt, which appropriately means “crazy” in German, is one of the most famous waterslides. At 168 feet and 7 inches, it’s the tallest waterslide in the world, as measured by the Guinness Book of World Records. Verruckt is a group experience on a three-person raft with two different large hills (which means two different drops, of course). Find Verruckt at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City.
    Photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts

  • Boeing 747 at Wings & Waves

    Boeing 747 at Wings & Waves
    McMinnville, Ore.

    The Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark in McMinnville, Ore. is an education park with 10 different waterslides, including one like no other. The signature attraction is a real Boeing 747 aircraft perched on the roof, the starting point for four large waterslides. Guests can climb inside the Jumbo Jet and then slide 62 feet down to the pool. In addition to getting a rush, guests learn about this airplane, which flew around the world for various airlines and then as a cargo freighter, before it retired in 2009 and became a fixture for this park.
    Photo courtesy of Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

  • Colossal Curl at Water Country USA

    Colossal Curl at Water Country USA
    Williamsburg, Va.

    Colossal Curl owns its name, as it hovers above Water Country USA in Williamsburg at six stories tall. It’s pretty colossal in length, too, stretching 560 feet long. The waterslide itself is a group adventure, taking four riders on a raft down waterfalls and through tunnels, weightless waves, twists and corkscrew spirals. Colossal Curl’s bright, blue-and-yellow striped slide reaches 70 feet high above the park. This ride has both enclosed tubes and an open-air slide.
    Photo courtesy of Water Country USA

  • Black Anaconda at Noah's Ark

    Black Anaconda at Noah's Ark
    Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

    Black Anaconda claims to be America’s most-thrilling water coaster, and it is the longest. This waterslide/roller coaster hybrid takes brave participants a quarter of a mile at speeds of 30 miles per hour. As the name implies, Black Anaconda has its fair share of darkness and snakelike coils, as well as six different humps. Find Black Anaconda, which opened in 2005, at Noah’s Ark in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.. If the Anaconda is too wild, Noah’s Ark offers about 40 different rides.
    Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Dells

  • Maximum Velocity at Wet 'n' Wild

    Maximum Velocity at Wet 'n' Wild
    Phoenix

    Competitive guests at the Wet ‘n’ Wild water park in Phoenix, or thrill-seekers who are looking for a new way to experience a waterslide, can hop on the popular Maximum Velocity ride. This water coaster features two side-by-side tubes that are designed for racing. The water pushes riders up a hill and then down more than 800 feet of curves and drops, before they reach the finish line to see who made it through the fastest.
    Photo courtesy of Wet 'n' Wild Phoenix

  • Screaming Serpents at Schlitterbahn

    Screaming Serpents at Schlitterbahn
    Galveston, Texas

    On the Screaming Serpents, two twin slides at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, guests race through the bellies of two massive sea serpents, sliding back and forth as the two slides intertwine. Sound and light effects, including fog, create an immersive experience that ends in a splash as sliders exit through the 8-foot fanged maws of the serpents.
    Photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts

  • Cliffhanger at Schlitterbahn

    Cliffhanger at Schlitterbahn
    Galveston, Texas

    Cliffhanger is called  a “speed slide” for a reason. This wild ride, which launched in 2007 at Schlitterbahn in Galveston, Texas, drops guests in a freefall from 81 feet. This vertical plunge can reach 35- to 40-miles per hour (so guests must keep their legs and arms crossed a certain way for safety). As if the speed isn’t enough, this slide is wide open, so you can’t hide your screams. The double-slide Cliffhanger drops visitors near a cove and volleyball court.
    Photo courtesy of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts

  • Aqua Rocket at Raging Waters

    Aqua Rocket at Raging Waters
    San Dimas, Calif.

    Aqua Rocket opened at the Raging Waters water park in San Dimas, Calif. this summer, as the first hydromagnetic linear-induction-motor-propelled water ride in the state. The Aqua Rocket water coaster is as long as two football fields (1,000 feet) uses the latest technology to move a rocket-shaped, four-passenger raft up four different hills – so it can drop back down, of course. True to the “rocket” in its name, the rafts can break speeds of 30 miles per hour.
    Photo courtesy of Raging Waters San Dimas

Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Ind. cleaned up the top two spots with Mammoth and Wildebeest respectively. The winning slide also happens to be the world's longest water coaster, while the runner-up is the second-longest.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Waterslide are as follows:

  1. Mammoth at Splashin' Safari - Santa Claus, Ind.
  2. Wildebeest at Splashin' Safari - Santa Claus, Ind.
  3. Verruckt at Schlitterbahn - Kansas City
  4. Boeing 747 at Wings & Waves - McMinnville, Ore.
  5. Colossal Curl at Water Country USA - Williamsburg, Va.
  6. Black Anaconda at Noah's Ark - Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
  7. Maximum Velocity at Wet 'n' Wild - Phoenix
  8. Screaming Serpents at Schlitterbahn - Galveston, Texas
  9. Cliffhanger at Schlitterbahn - Galveston, Texas
  10. Aqua Rocket at Raging Waters - San Dimas, Calif.

A panel of experts picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Joanne DiBona (Scenic Photos) and Dave Parfitt (AdventuresbyDaddy.com) were chosen based on their extensive knowledge of American water parks.

Additional nominees for Best Waterslide included Bomb Bay at Wet 'n Wild Orlando, Crush 'n' Gusher at Typhoon Lagoon, Dolphin Plunge at Aquatica Orlando, Drop Out at Raging Waters San Dimas, Ihu’s Breakaway Fall at Aquatica Orlando, King Cobra at Hurricane Harbor, Quadzilla at Noah's Ark, Scorpion's Tail at Noah's Ark, Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach and Walhalla Wave at Aquatica San Antonio.

10Best and USA TODAY extend their congratulations to all the winners.

 

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Joanne DiBona

Joanne DiBona

Joanne DiBona

Dave Parfitt

Dave Parfitt

Dave Parfitt
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