We rode America's recent tallest water slide in Wisconsin Dells, and it was wild – The Mercury News

The recent tallest water slide in North America known as the Rise of Icarus, after the mythical Greek who flew too near the sun after which fell into the ocean.

This was not lost on me as I sat alone at the highest of the 145-foot tower, high above the hustle and bustle of Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park and the treetops of the Wisconsin Dells region, mentally preparing to launch my body feet first into an extended, winding tunnel.

During an after-hours demonstration in late May, I had already climbed some 260 steps to the highest of the sleek open-air structure. At a height of 20 metres, I had passed the tower's 4 lower slides and shuddered as I realised I used to be not even halfway to the primary attraction. I puffed my way up and resisted the temptation to look down.

The guard gave me the all-clear, so I lay back, let go, and slid into the void. I set free a number of cries of real fear as I fell, then felt gravity as I made several wide, whipping loops across the tower. After what appeared like an eternity, I used to be ejected into the evening light. Only then did I exhale.

It was intense. And crazy. And scary. But on subsequent runs the subsequent morning, my screams become screams of joy.

I'm not an enormous fan of water slides that drop vertically downward, which is true of lots of the tallest slides on the earth. Rise of Icarus, then again, takes advantage of its height by actually giving the user time to benefit from the descent, totaling 780 feet at as much as 30 mph. According to my very own shaky GoPro video (taken with permission), I actually clocked about 20 seconds in Icarus – luxurious for water slides – at 26 mph.

Greek Empire within the Dells

The Rise of Icarus tower features a 145-foot-tall water slide starting at the top and four 60-foot-tall slides (in blue/green). (Simon Peter Groebner/Mineapolis Star Tribune/TNS)
The Rise of Icarus tower encompasses a 145-foot-tall water slide starting at the highest and 4 60-foot-tall slides (in blue/green). (Simon Peter Groebner/Mineapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Icarus' journey to America's tallest water slide is the culmination of greater than 50 years of ambition for the Mt. Olympus water park resort within the vast, kitschy middle-class resort area of ​​Wisconsin Dells.

“My parents always wanted to be the biggest and the best,” Marketing Manager Fotini Laskaris Backhaus told me during a tour of the park, referring to the family business that has existed for 3 generations and to which she belongs.

Her grandfather, Greek immigrant Demetrios “Jim” Laskaris, began the business in 1970 because the Big Chief Hot Dog Stand. It evolved right into a go-kart and roller coaster attraction that was renamed Mt. Olympus in 2004, a cheeky commitment to the theme of Greek antiquity and mythology. For years, the primary reason for the park's fame was the truly impressive, 65-foot-tall replica of the Trojan Horse that towers over a go-kart track in the guts of the Wisconsin Dells Strip.

Over time, the park displaced neighbors and added attractions, wave pools and 1,600 rooms, including the easy Hotel Rome and small cabins, becoming a 200-acre pseudo-Greek-Roman empire. In 2022, it added Medusa's Slidewheel, the country's first mechanically rotating waterslide. But something was still missing from the Dells' ultra-competitive water park scene. So second-generation owners Nick and Eva Laskaris decided so as to add much more spectacle.

For Rise of Icarus, Mt. Olympus has tapped leading water slide manufacturer WhiteWater, which built the log flume on the Mall of America, the huge recent Meryal water park in Qatar and the cruise line Royal Caribbean's Perfect Day on Coco Cay within the Bahamas. The recent Rise of Icarus closely resembles Daredevil's Peak on Coco Cay, but is 10 feet taller – and also you don't must cruise to ride the slide within the Dells. An adjoining outdoor water play area for teenagers with cabanas must be ready by July 4th weekend.

Water park lovers are getting a crash course in Greek mythology this summer. But learn from Icarus: rethink your pride and pack some waterproof sunscreen.

When you go

Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park Resort: 1881 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy., Wisconsin Dells. Admission $45-$50. Cabanas and reserved poolside seating available. Family-friendly resort rooms, cabins and tent sites available starting at $25; park admission included with lodging (mtolympuspark.com).


The highest water slides on the earth

Height isn't an important feature of a waterslide. Duration, speed, short lines, and overall fun factor are also vital. However, since Rise of Icarus lays claim to being North America's tallest waterslide, let's take a have a look at another qualified record holders. Sound like an excessive amount of? We'll meet up with you on the lazy river.

The highest

In the age of artificial intelligence, we will't be 100% sure that this dystopian monstrosity in Doha, which opened in winter and appears like something out of Mad Max, is real. But the 12-slide spire appears to have eclipsed the previous world record holder, the 50-meter-high Kilimanjaro Waterslide in Brazil. YouTube water park influencer @MillaChats confirms the icon's existence with a series of video reviews. The tallest slides, Vertigo and Fractionator, involve a one-minute ride in partially transparent tubes that give visitors a glimpse of the world around them.

The former highest within the Dells

Noah's Ark, which still claims to be the most important water park within the country, set the usual for thrill rides within the Dells for over 20 years with its slides launching from the identical “10-story” platform. Point of No Return was inbuilt 2001 and, because the name suggests, is a four-second free fall that's over before you’ll be able to resist and can leave you in pain for days. More interestingly, Scorpion's Tail follows in 2010 with a trapdoor launch and initial drop that results in a see-through looping body slide that's said to be “America's first near-vertical waterslide loop.”


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