World

Top 3 Really Big Things Of The Week

The world's tallest thermometer, water slide and the largest shopping mall all made news headlines this week.

Top 3 Really Big Things Of The Week
YouTube / Schlitterbahn Development Group
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‚ÄčAs we were scanning news headlines this week, there seemed be a common theme. Structures on the tall side — or the largest side — were dominating the news. So is bigger always better? Let’s find out.

First up, the tallest thermometer in the world is back in business. (Via Getty Images)

The thermometer was built in Baker, California in 1992, after Willis Herron decided he wanted to create something that would give drivers a reason to get off the freeway and come to his restaurant. (Via Daily Press)

Herron paid the Young Electric Sign Company $700,000 to build the monstrosity, which, according to the thermometer’s website, weighs around 76,000 pounds and is 134 feet tall. (Via World's Tallest Thermometer)

It turns out there’s a reason the thermometer was built to that exact height specification.

“That number is also the world record for the hottest temperature on Earth, which was recorded on July 10th, of 1913 in Death Valley.” (Via KERO)

But Roadside America says in 2012, the thermometer was sold to someone else after it stopped working. Instead of repairing it, the new owner decided to keep it turned off, blaming the economic recession and the fact it cost too much money to keep the thermometer running. 

In 2014, KXNT says the Herron family purchased the thermometer back and spent around $150,000 on repairs. 

The repaired thermometer was re-lit on Thursday – just in time for that summer polar vortex to hit the country. Thankfully, California is still supposed to see seasonably high temperatures, so maybe we'll get to see that thermometer chronicle some big numbers. 

Next up, the city of Dubai is making headlines after it revealed plans to build the largest shopping mall in the world. (Via Getty Images)

"The 8-million square foot mall will be called the Mall of the World, and it will feature a theme park, a theater district and apartments." (Via WMAQ)

This new mall will be built adjacent to the Dubai Mall, which just happens to house an indoor ice-skating rink, an aquarium and, oh yeah, a dinosaur skeleton. (Via YouTube / DowntownDubai)

Now this new mall may sound startlingly familiar to those living in the United States. There, the Mall of America in Minnesota reigns supreme. Construction crews broke ground on a 5.6 million square foot expansion to that mall in 2013. It also houses a theme park and movie theater. (Via Getty Images)

Now, shopping is a pretty big deal in Dubai. Its Mall of Dubai welcomes around 75 million visitors annually, which CNN reports is more than visit Disney World, the Eiffel Tower and Niagara Falls combined. 

Once the mall is completed in ten years, it's expected to generate about 180 million visitors each year. 

We went to Trip Advisor to scout out what the price of a round-trip ticket from the middle of the United States to Dubai would cost. It ended up being around $1,700. 

So if you want to be one of the 180 million come 2024, you might want to start saving your pennies now. 

And finally, the tallest water slide in the world opened for business Thursday in Kansas City, Kansas. (Via YouTube / Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts)

The waterslide was constructed as part of Schlitterbahn Kansas City waterpark, which spans roughly 40 acres.  (Via Schlitterbahn Waterparks & Resorts)

The water slide is named Verruckt, which means "insane" in German. We think the attraction's pretty aptly named, since you need a whole lot of courage to ride the thing. 

The slide is 168 feet and 7 inches tall, and riders fly down it on a raft at a speed of 65 miles per hours. Businessweek says the ride begins with a 17-story drop. 

USA Today reports the water slide was supposed to have its grand opening on Memorial Day, but sections of the ride had to be rebuilt several times before it was deemed safe enough for people to ride on. 

So by the time the slide actually opened, ABC couldn't wait to send one of its reporters to Kansas to try the thing out. 

"I'm not quite sure why I'm doing this. I feel like I'm about to be dropped off a cliff."

In May, the Guinness World Records officially named Verruckt the tallest waterslide in the world. It edged out a waterslide named Kilimanjaro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the top spot. 

The designer of the water slide told Businessweek he's already working on a new ride that will surpass Verruckt in height. Because why not?