Thunder Bay, the 2-million-gallon (7.6-million-L) wave pool at Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe in Greensboro, NC.

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 this article, we'll peek behind the scenes of Thunder Bay, the main attraction at Wet 'n Wild Emerald Pointe in Greensboro, NC. As we'll see, it take­s a lot of sophisticated, powerful equipment to keep the waves rolling all day long. But the basic idea is very simple.