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Why is it that the Wisconsin Dells area is the water park capital of the world?

I went to the Wisconsin Dells as a kid. It was the hokiest sort of tourist trap you could ever imagine. All those same places I went to as a kid (Fairytale Garden, the Wonder Spot, etc.) are still there, almost unchanged. In the ensuing 30 years, what has changed are water parks. Now, everywhere you look there are enormous water parks, one right next to the other.

Why should this be? The climate is not particularly well suited to water parks, since it is only warm enough for them a few months a year. (Thus, the emergence of the indoor water park which is becoming more and more common there.)

Once you have 10 huge water parks, you wouldn’t think building the 11th would make that much sense, but apparently it does.

One explanation is that by putting all the water parks in the same place you are able to attract water park connoisseurs who wouldn’t come without an agglomeration of water parks. That is what Branson, MO has done with country music. I don’t think that is what is going on at Wisconsin Dells, though.

A second explanation would be that there is something about the area that gave it an advantage in producing water parks, like Napa Valley and wine. Again, I don’t see any evidence for this.

So does anyone understand why there are so many water parks at the Dells?

(If it is anything like the puzzle I posed about why children no longer deliver newspapers, I’m sure blog readers have the answers.)