12 of the world's best water parks

Story highlights

  • World's second-largest indoor water park found in Alberta, Canada
  • Watercube Waterpark in Beijing is China's second-most popular attraction, after Great Wall
  • Tropical Islands water park in Germany housed inside largest free-standing hall in the world

(CNN)Some of us are lucky enough to live within a rogue inflatable ball's reach of the world's best beaches.

Some of us can paddle out for a ride on the greatest waves on a whim.

    For those of us who live further inland, or prefer something less salty, there are still watery joys to be had, in the form of the world's best water parks.

    Aquatica (Orlando, Florida)

    One enormous wave pool obviously wasn't enough for the team behind Aquatica, so they built two, side by side.

    Elsewhere, the Dolphin Plunge water slide takes passengers on a white-knuckle ride through a dolphin-filled aquarium and riders brave enough to take on the Omaka Rocka blast down a series of flumes and funnels.

    There's a sandy beach covered with 1,360 tons of soft, white sand and South Seas-inspired gardens with more than 60,000 species of plants.

    Aquatica, 5800 Water Play Way, Orlando, FL 32821; +1 888 800 5447

    Aquaventure Waterpark (Dubai, UAE)

    As of 2013, this Middle East water park is home to the world's widest water slide, the Middle East's longest river ride (2.3 kilometers in length) and the Middle East's longest zip line.

    The park's other attractions include several water coasters, a 2,296-foot-long (700 meters) private beach and the Shark Lagoon, where visitors can hand-feed rays.

    Aquaventure Waterpark, Crescent Road Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai United Arab Emirates; +971 4 426 0000

    Area 47 (Innsbruck, Austria)

    An Alpine lake is the location for this outdoor water park, which opens from April to the end of September.

    There are water rides, a diving tower and a hydro-speed slide.

    On dry land there's a high-ropes course, bridge swing and climbing wall.

    AREA 47, Otztaler Achstrasse 1, Otztal-Bahnhof 6430 Austria; +43 5266 8 76 76

    Related: Top water parks of the United States

    Beach Park (Fortaleza, Brazil)

    Beach Park's Insano is the world's tallest and fastest water slide.

    Beach Park's most famous ride is Insano, which ranks as the world's tallest (135 feet/41 meters) and fastest (65 mph/104 kph) water slide.

    Equally petrifying is Kalafrio, a giant half-pipe slide.

    Younger visitors can check out an enormous big top-themed play area or the Acqua Show, with water cannons, synchronized water jets and eight water slides just for kids.

    Beach Park, Rua Porto das Dunas, Fortaleza, Brazil; +55 85 4012 3000

    Caribbean Bay (Gyeonggi-do, South Korea)

    You'll find four looping water slides and an enormous wave pool at this South Korean water park, alongside more traditional attractions such as hot spring pools.

    Exhausted visitors can power nap in one of the water park's sleeping rooms, which have purified air and beds carved from energy-boosting jade.

    Caribbean Bay, 310 Jeondae-ri, Pogok-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin, Gyeonggi-do South Korea; +82 2 759 1940 7 

    Siam Park (Tenerife, Spain)

    Siam Park is a Thai-themed water park on the island of Tenerife.

    The park's most popular ride is the 91-foot-high (27 meters) Tower of Power, on which riders plunge down a vertical drop before shooting through an aquarium filled with stingrays and sharks.

    A lazy river and surf lessons in the park's wave pool offer slightly more sedate activities.

    Siam Park, Autopista TFE 1 Salida 28, 38670 Adeje, Tenerife Spain; +34 902 060 000

    Tropical Islands (Krausnick, Germany)

    Housed inside the largest free-standing hall in the world -- the structure was originally built as a hangar for dirigibles -- Tropical Islands can accommodate 6,000 visitors a day and has one of the world's largest indoor pools, measuring 656 feet (200 meters) in length.

    Away from the water, there's a rainforest with 50,000 plants, a hotel and a nightclub. It's even possible to go for a balloon ride -- all without stepping outside.

    Tropical Islands, Tropical-Islands-Allee 1, 15910 Krausnick, Brandenburg Germany; +49 35477 605050

    Watercube Waterpark (Beijing)

    As fun to look as it is to ride.

    All of the rides at Watercube Waterpark were designed overseas and shipped in.

    Highlights include the funnel-shaped Tornado ride, Aqualoop slide and Bulletbowl, where riders shoot down an enclosed slide into a huge bowl.

    Visitors should keep an eye out for the enormous jellyfish and clouds of bubbles suspended from the ceiling.

    Water Cube, No.11 Tianchen East Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing China; +86 010 8437 2030

    WaterWorld Waterpark (Ayia Napa, Cyprus)

    Foam parties aren't the only way to cool off in Ayia Napa.

    The WaterWorld Water Park has a Grecian theme, with lots of pillars and Trojan horse-shaped monuments.

    Poseidon's Wave Pool has Greek ruins, geysers and shipwrecks, the River Odyssey lazy river has crumbling stone pillars and the vertigo-inducing Drop to Atlantis shoots riders out of an enormous Roman temple.

    WaterWorld Waterpark, 18 Ayia Thekla Rd, Ayia Napa 5345 Cyprus; +357 23 724444

    Wet 'n Wild (Orlando, Florida)

    Visitors are spoiled for choice at Wet 'n Wild.

    In addition to various scream-fest water rides, there's a huge sandcastle-themed children's area (reportedly the largest family water play area in Florida), a wave pool and lazy river.

    One the most popular rides is Disco H20. Passengers on this four-person tube ride float along to a soundtrack of 1970s hits accompanied by disco balls and flashing lights.

    Wet 'n Wild, 6200 International Drive At Republic Drive, Orlando, FL 32819; +1 407 351 1800

    World Waterpark (Alberta, Canada)

    Canada's very own greenhouse effect.

    Located inside Alberta's West Edmonton Mall, this is the world's second-largest indoor water park and has the world's largest indoor wave pool, with 2.7 million gallons of water.

    Attractions include a looping water slide and Blue Thunder, a bungee jump tower suspended over the wave pool.

    World Waterpark, 8882 170 St NW West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta T5T 4J2 Canada;

    Yas Waterworld (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

    Opened in 2013, Yas Waterworld has 43 rides and attractions, including five unique water slides created specially for the park.

    These include Dawwama, the world's first hydro-magnetic-powered water slide (the hydro-magnetic technology offers a longer, smoother ride, according to the manufacturer) and the Bandit Bomber, a 1,804-foot-long (550-meter) water coaster.

    Visitors can hang ten on the world's largest FlowBarrel surf simulator, or take a spin on Liwa Loop -- the Middle East's only looping water slide.

    Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi 00000 United Arab Emirates; +971 2 414 2000