On March 21, 2009 what’s believed to be the continental United State’s first stand-alone indoor waterpark opened its doors. For Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Waterpark, the goal was
to deliver a state-of-the-art facility appealing to all age groups,
especially the demanding 15- to 25-year-old demographic.
In developing the project, the big challenge became fitting
enough revenue-generating attractions into the space to support the
business model. Designers tackled this issue by placing structures
more generally targeted at specific age demographics (toddlers,
pre-teens, teens, twenty-something’s) in direct support of
the multi-generational attractions such as the slides, play
structure and lazy river. The end result is a fusion of water
activities, interactive entertainment and skills-based water
Overall, Sahara Sam’s features an open plan design with a
themed interactive play structure at the center of the park. Next
to the play structure is a themed lazy river surrounded by a
sculpted concrete rockscape, complete with zero-depth entry, water
geysers, swirling vortexes and water cannons.
For the little ones there’s the “Lizard
Lagoon” splash zone, which incorporates zero-depth entry,
minislides, water geysers and even a baby bungee swing.
Additional amenities include an activity pool, featuring an
integrated, lily-pad walk and water basketball; several water
slides, such as a family raft slide, two tube slides and two body
slides; and a stationary wave machine.
The walls of the facility feature floor-to-ceiling murals
created and painted by local artists, depicting the oasis theme.
The colors of the murals and themed attractions all convey a
light-colored beach/oasis theme, creating the perfect beach feel
inside the structure.
Located in the greater metropolitan New York area, Sahara
Sam’s is not attached to any hotel. The $23 million,
58,000-square-foot facility is built predominantly out of concrete
and constructed to last. Operationally, one thing that ties the
entire project together is the number of environmentally friendly
features, and state-of-the-art ticketing and concessions.
The waterpark is heated and powered by combined cogeneration
units that keep the building at a steady 84 degrees Fahrenheit and
60 percent humidity. To maximize year-round comfort and seasonal
enjoyment, Sahara Sam’s also boasts a transparent retractable
roof, which capitalizes on daylight and natural ventilation while
providing more energy savings.
Additionally, the slides all loop outside the internal structure
rather than inside, saving space and helping enhance the efficiency
of HVAC equipment. Also, all pools include UV filtration and
water-saving sand filter systems.
Along with cost-saving, environmentally friendly pool equipment,
Sahara Sam’s also operates with a state-of-the-art ticketing
system. It features Internet ticket purchasing capabilities and
RFID patron management. In the future, wrist bands will allow
patrons to pre-load a determined amount of money assigned to
individual “day accounts,” freeing guests from having
to carry personal items such as wallets or handbags into a crowded
water activity environment.
By utilizing the best technologies the 21st century has to
offer, Sahara Sam’s delivers to its patrons cost-effective
interactive entertainment attractions predominately supported by
the local population. Sahara Sam’s success is ultimately
derived from a superb water attractions experience — and,
coupled with the stunning pseudo-Egyptian visual landscape —
the technology driven park ties the whole family together.
NUTS & BOLTS
Cost: $23 million
Aquatic space: 57,500 square feet
Dream amenities: Adventure River; shallow activity pool; multilevel play structure; stationary wave machine; basketball / crossing pool; warming tub
- Dream Designer: Aquatic Development Group
- Architect: Ronald Laporte
- Engineering: Engineering Ventures; Libert Engineering
- Acutrol:Chemical controllers
- Empex; Playtime; SCS Interactive;
- Water Odyssey: Water-play equipment
- Hayward: Lighting
- Marlow: Pumps
- Patterson-Kelley Boilers: Heaters
- ProSlide Technology: Water slides
- Whitten: Filters