Since the 1970s, there has been a rapid expansion and often competition among parks to develop new types of slides, rides, pools, and even novel features within water parks. For instance, for northern regions of the United States, where the weather is too cold for much of the year for water parks, a novel feature has been creating an ice skating rink in the main plaza by placing underground cooling pipes.
By the early 1980s, communities around the United States began to realize that they could make their area more appealing to tourists by building water parks. This was the case for Wisconsin Dells in southern Wisconsin, not far from Chicago. In that case, five major water parks were built near each other, allowing the town to claim itself as the "water park capital" of the world. This inspired not only new water parks to be built across the country, where today there are more than 1000 water parks in the United States, but ideas to best competition continued to grow. Routinely, water parks became ranked across the United States, with other countries sometimes following. This has also helped to inspire the explosion of innovation in waterslides, rides, attractions within water parks.<ref>For more on how water parks spread, see: Hamilton, S. L. (2016). <i>Water parks</i>. Minneapolis, Minnesota: A & D Xtreme, an imprint of Abdo Publishing. </ref>