Now you can swim, splash and slide where Olympic athletes once competed, as Beijing's National Aquatics Center, or the Water Cube, becomes home to Asia's largest water park.
Beijing’s famous Water Cube, or National Aquatics Center, the place where two dozen world records were set during the 2008 Summer Olympics (and where swimming sensation Michael Phelps landed eight gold medals) has been converted into a water park -- or at least half of it has.
Nearly a year in the making and with a price tag of around RMB 350 million (about US$51 million), the splash-tastic “Happy Magic Water Cube, Beijing Water Cube Water Park,” as the translated Chinese sign near the entrance says, opened its doors to the public on August 8.
Located next to the Bird’s Nest, or Olympic Stadium, the aquatics center, famous for its plasticky blue bubble-wrapped exterior, had been closed since last summer for the renovations. Its opening coincided with the second anniversary of the 2008 Olympics.
The official Xinhua news agency reported the aqueous amusement park was designed to bring renewed interest and draw more tourists to the often ghost town-like Olympic grounds.
The water park, which takes up about half of the 12,000-square-meter complex and, according to state media, is now the largest in Asia, features a wave pool, lazy river, spa area and 13 water slides and rides, including the Bullet Bowl, Speed Slide and Tornado. (Article continues after the video)
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