Holy Lepidoptera! The Hongshui River Walkway Floats Like a Butterfly

By: Carrie Tatro  | 

floating butterfly
Aerial view of the world's longest floating walkway, built in the shape of a giant colorful butterfly on the Hongshui River in the Guizhou Province of China. Visual China Group/Getty Images

It's as if Muhammad Ali and Jesus got together and created a quasi-miraculous brainchild. Behold the Hongshui River walkway: the only place on Earth where mere mortals can go to float like a butterfly and walk on water at the same time.

Located in the Guizhou province of southwest China, the Hongshui River Scenic Park walkway is shaped like a super colossal, brightly colored butterfly and is twice as long as the city of Manhattan. Made of 239,600 individual interlocking plastic blocks or pontoons, this floating feat of engineering is held in place by underwater cross-anchoring spread strategically throughout the structure.

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Holding the Guinness World Records title as the longest floating walkway in the world, as well as the world’s largest floating water park, the waterborne footpath stretches 3.2 miles (5,127 meters) across the Hongshui River, covering an area of 13.3 acres (5.38 hectares) between the Guizhou and Guangxi peninsulas.

Completed in 2016 by the internationally known Shanghai Qihua Waterborne Engineering Construction Company, this floating park paradise can accommodate 30,000 revelers at a time. Visitors can enjoy an array of activities, including swimming in China's largest floating swimming pool, engaging in a variety of water sports, watching water stunt performances and aerial shows — or simply walking along the protective net-sided footpath that features entertaining performances and has spraying devices installed along the way to create a misty, romantic vibe.

floating butterfly
The waterborne footpath stretches 3.2 miles (5,127.37 meters) across the Hongshui River, and is made of 239,600 individual interlocking plastic blocks or pontoons.
Visual China Group/Getty Images

The floating leisure resort also features a glow-in-the-dark botanical garden, a palm tree camping site, and a music and light show that rocks out on a 1.2-acre (0.48-hectare) floating stage centered in the walkway featuring 22,000 lights.

Designated as a national ecological sports park by China's General Administration of Sports, the floating playground also features a 12-story tower in the botanical garden that provides stunning views of the river and surrounding landscape.

And if you get tired of the crowds on this buoyant butterfly, swimsuits and floats are available on-site so you can always take a dip in the rippling waters of the sparkling Hongshui River.

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