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In the early to mid 20th century, the sport of snow skiing skyrocketed in popularity. As more and more people discovered the sport and made it a yearly tradition, ski slopes became extremely profitable businesses. But resort owners had a major problem: In their line of work, success was completely dependent on the weather. If it didn't snow, or didn't snow enough, they had to close everything down until the weather decided to cooperate. In many parts of the world, the skiing season was limited to a month or two.
Modern civilization is filled with artificial re-creations of nature. People decorate houses with artificial Christmas trees , wear artificial hair, play games on artificial grass and build zoo cages with artificial rocks. Scientists have even developed artificial hearts ! One of mankind's oddest re-creations of nature is the artificial ocean shore, also known as the wave pool . These popular water park attractions are sanitized, regimented revisions of the wild, organic surfs created by nature. In wave pools, the water is chlorinated, the beach is concrete and the waves arrive like clockwork, once every few minutes.
In the amusement park industry, the roller coaster is king. But during the hot summer months, these classic attractions get some tough competition from water slides. In the past 30 years, the world of water slides has exploded. They've transformed from simple poolside slopes to intricate attractions that dominate entire parks. According to the World Waterpark Association , there are more than 1,000 water parks in North America, and about 78 million people visited them in the summer of 2006. Water parks boast slides with dozens of loops, incredible speeds and exhilarating drops.
Soon after its introduction, the water gun took its place among the most popular summer toys of all time, and it's easy to see why: When you're a kid, or a kid at heart, what better way to cool off on a hot afternoon than waging an epic water battle against your friends and family? Toy Image Gallery Over the years, these toys have evolved considerably. Thirty years ago, a typical water warrior was armed only with a small squirt pistol, which had a fairly short range and an even more limited ammunition reservoir.