Massive airship hangar now water park

 Images Then-And-Now-Airships-To-Waterslides-Gal2 Above is the world's largest freestanding building, an airship hangar built a decade ago at an abandoned Soviet military base south of Berlin. The $110 million hangar -- 1,181 feet long by 688 feet wide by 351 feet high -- held a massive airship that entrepreneur Carl von Gablenz hoped would prove that such vehicles were ideal to deliver massive industrial machinery like oil rigs and wind turbines. But in 2002, von Gablenz's company, Cargo Lifter AG, was out of cash. A Malaysian firm, Tanjong, bought the hanger for $24 million and converted it into Tropical Islands Resort, a huge water park. From Air & Space:
 Images Then-And-Now-Airships-To-Waterslides-Gal1 Tanjong soon found that keeping the hangar at 78 degrees Fahrenheit year-round was a challenge. So workers welded shut the two steel doors, which weigh 600 tons each. To open the hangar to light, "we exchanged the [steel] skin of the hall with 20,000 square yards of translucent film," says Tanjong spokesman Patrick Kastner. "This makes natural tanning possible..."

At 3,000 square yards, (the pool is) larger than four Olympic-size pools, and its artificial horizon conjures a faraway island. At the "shoreline" are 600 feet of sandy beach and hundreds of deck chairs. The Bali Lagoon has a grotto and waterfall, as well as the world's largest indoor rainforest, with 50,000 trees in 600 varieties--from palm to papaya--that thrive in natural light. Its most popular attraction is a nine-story waterslide that propels sliders to 44 mph.

"Then and Now: From Airships to Waterslides"


    1. Unfortunately, it’s because because while airships are unquestionably cool, they’re also practically useless – susceptible to strong winds, limited payload, etc.

  1. A friend of mine used to work there. It’s a nice idea and impressive in a way but when I was there it was more of a “meh” experience.

  2. This place was used to film the music video for Deichkind’s “Ich Betäube Mich.” I had always wondered what this place was, now I know!

  3. @akbar56 Hangar 1 at Moffet Field is so toxic (Lead, PCBs and who knows what else) from its use by the Navy that the cost of clean up makes any future use very problematic. NASA/SETI were hoping to turn it into an immersive space exhibit.

  4. Don’t go to Google images.

    Go to Google maps.

    1, Enter Tropical Island Resort in the search bar.

    2. Select choice in Berlin.

    3. Zoom in. (Roll the mouse wheel or use their tool)

    4. Grab “Oscar” the little gold man to the left in the image on top of the zoom bar.

    5. Little blue dots will appear in the image. Drag Oscar over one of the blue dots for a preview. If you want to see more let Oscar stand on that spot: Presto! Your there! Now your a virtual tourist! Thanks Google!

  5. I spent a memorable day there last summer! It’s pretty damned amazing — the whole hot’n’sunny resort ambiance (complete with exploitative ethnic restaurants and a 1Km walk through a neatly manicured jungle, plus sandy beaches) in a box.

    There’s even a helium balloon, with gondola big enough for two passengers, that does [tethered] tours of the building so you can see it from above.

    1. Balloon tours inside the building? It’s hard to picture the size of that space. They should do an O’Neil cylinder movie on location there.

  6. Was there in early winter last year with my partner. It’s as amazing as described, especially if you go mid-week and avoid the weekend rush of families. Huge. Green. Warm. Spacious enough for an overnight tent area, indoor restaurants, swimming, you name it. In keeping with Germany’s Frei Körper Kultur (FKK), the very large multi-sauna area is clothing-free within the saunas (like it should be) and wholly separate from the rest of the park (although also for families). We *loved* the whole place.

    It’s no nature reserve (not with the evening’s performance; which we avoided by staying in the sauna region), but absolutely a gem.

  7. Oh wow! That place is in the (hilarious, amazing) Diechkind video for Ich Betäube Mich! I always wondered where the hell they found that place, and now I know! Thanks, BoingBoing, for filling another little hole in my life.

  8. Do European water parks still have the terrifying “wild water” rides? 15 years ago I remember stepping into one of these rides where the water was about 3 feet deep and then getting sucked through a raging river in a simulated drowing exercise. There were no rafts (that I remember anyway). The best part was watching the under water port window where you saw people desperately claw their way to surface at the bottom of a rapid. Ahh, the joys of limited tort liability. I was warned that there were several deaths that year in Belgium on just those types of rides.

  9. My favorite story I read about the park was that they needed to actually bring over tropical trainers to teach the east German workers how to smile.

    Obligatory cultural disclaimer: I love the parts of former East Germany that I have been to and the Germans I know – that’s why I love the story.

  10. I’ve been there. Most of the water rides are, sadly, not particularly terrifying. Except for the day I was there, when they were overloaded with daytripping Polish teenagers! Who were drunk!

    An excellent value for your money; one factor to consider is that they really only charge you to ENTER, not per day, and they seem to smile benignly upon cheap bastards like me who chose to sleep on the beach instead of in one of their rented tents. Bring earplugs, though.

  11. I think it’s cool and all, but knowing that it was intended for now defunct airship cargo business makes me sad.

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