As the name suggests I almost exclusively focus on roller coasters when I visit theme parks. I’m starting to branch out a bit as I visit more parks with my family, but to me time spent on anything that doesn’t have rails and wheels is not time well spent.
Last week, I found myself at the Charlotte, NC-area’s Great Wolf Lodge. These super-sized, outdoorsy-themed resorts are all over the country. There’s a good bit to do for kids, but their biggest draw is their indoor water parks. My young daughters were too timid to tackle any of the water slides, but I was itching to sample them. One night, I got my chance and my first and most important target was Great Wolf Lodge’s Tornado slide.
You’ve probably either ridden one or at least seen pictures of them before. They’re these water slides that start with a tunnel that leads to a massive funnel.
The other riders had ridden it before and I really had little idea of exactly what the ride was going to be like. The three of us sat in an inner tube for 4 and we pushed off into the pitch black tunnel. It was dark outside (almost 9:00 PM) and I’m not sure how much sun light normally enters the ride.
We floated in the darkness for a good bit and then my companion’s warning about the big drop ahead came to pass. I was in the seat that was facing backwards and the plunge felt pretty big. Then, I found myself completely dwarfed by the huge funnel with rushing water coming down the sides and lights. It was quite an experience.
Pictures and even video do not do this ride justice. I felt so small. Like an ant being washed down an enormous drain. The sensation of sailing up and down the sides of the funnel were fun too, but for me the visual stimulation was unreal.
Again, I don’t really do water slides. So, maybe it’s not as impressive for everyone. Also, the fact that it’s completely enclosed (it looks like some are not) and that it was night probably had an effect on how it all looked.
I had to ride once more. The second time I was facing the drop and it didn’t feel as big. I was still in awe of the cavernous funnel. I can see why ProSlides get the mentions and buzz that they do. It was a great and very memorable ride. I recommend them if you happen to have one near you or you encounter one on your next trip.
Find one near you. Here’s ProSlide’s list of Tornados.