Mountainside Waterpark
Top 10 Keys to Planning & Designing a Successful Mountain Water Park IN THE NEWS | AQUATIC DEVELOPMENT GROUP | May 27, 2020

If you are considering tapping into the lucrative Mountainside summer market, outdoor water parks are the perfect summer destination attraction.  You can create the ideal mountain getaway destination experience by developing fun and creative water solutions that go beyond the slopes to drive guests to your resort.

How do you build a better water park on a mountainside? You use a combined approach to planning, design, construction and manufacturing.  More than just installing a slide or flashy new ride, an innovative approach to design increases your market base and grows your bottom line.


Mountain Waterpark



Just like skiing, you need to account for buses, drop off areas, etc. Water park guests are usually in flip flops, so dirt lots can pose some issues for this market. Providing paved lots is ideal for the guest experience. The average number of guests arriving in a car for a water park is about 3.5 ppl/car. Until you know exactly what the park capacity is, it is hard to dictate exact parking needs but you can assume 100-110 spaces per acre.



You can reduce the development dollars for the water park by re-purposing core service areas for summer use. Ideal locations include the main entrance infrastructure and existing lodges which can be re-utilized for summer ticketing, customer service, bathrooms, changing rooms/lockers, food and beverage service and employee areas.

mountain water park food and beverage building camelback resort



A well operated water park should be centered on an efficient “utility spine” that takes into consideration the existing main power sources, sewer capacity and water availability and restrictions.

  • Power: Where is your main transformer and what would it take to run power to the pump rooms and new buildings needed for an outdoor waterpark?
  • Sewer Capacity: Code mandates that deck wash out and filter backwash goes to waste. Do you have limits on overall capacity or flow rates on discharge that would require either an upgrade or a consideration for backwash holding tanks?
  • Water: Any restrictions, well service, capacity limits, etc?



Take advantage of any available opportunities to attract passing cars along the road when possible. In other words, water slides make nice billboards!

Camelbeach water park water slides


Variable terrain and level changes can pose a challenge when it comes to designing a mountainside water park. Build with the mountain and not around it by incorporating the terrain changes into an effective design plan that optimizes cost saving opportunities through appropriate placement of slides and attractions that take advantage of the naturally sloping hills and vistas. No one wants to walk up a hill all day! ADA and stroller access is also a design issue to contend with so keep that in mind when developing your site plans.



Is the development area you are working with large enough for future expansion? New attractions keep your park fresh and are a key factor in guest retention. Identify future development sites and have a plan in place to seamlessly tie in and access these. Build for today, but your design should keep tomorrow in mind!

expansion area at a mountain water park


When planning your design, integrate the water park location into existing summer attractions, or leave space to incorporate additional summer activities in the future that are easily accessible from the water park like chair lift rides, mountain coaster rides, zip lines, air bag jumps, portable climbing walls and Euro Bungees.

mountain adventures over water park


Is there a summer camp presence in the market? Take advantage by providing ample room for groups to gather. Tented picnic areas are great rentable spaces for birthday parties, family gatherings and more. Many areas in the U.S. have an extensive summer camp presence and outings to water parks are a regular occurrence providing a great boost to any mid-week dips that a park may experience.



Adding a summer water park enables you to keep more key staff members employed year round and take advantage of the corporate infrastructure you have built up over the years in human resources, sales, marketing and accounting. The ability to carry over winter seasonal staff already familiar with your standards of service and operations is a huge asset in reducing training time and employee ramp-up time.

people eating by the wave pool

KEY #10  FUN

The most important key factor when designing any water park is to ensure that your guests walk away with an experience they will want to talk about, tweet and repeat! Build around your brand image with smart designs that incorporate the right mix of rides and attractions to appeal to your key demographic audiences to ensure your parks success.

teens splashing in water park wave pool attraction


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Aquatic Development Group