When the City of Baytown, Texas residents identified a need for a large family aquatic area, a plan to build Pirates Bay Family Aquatic Center at the Wayne Gray Spots Complex was born. Completed in May 2010, Pirate’s Bay incorporates a number of amenities on a relatively small footprint.
The 22,000 sq. ft. addition includes: a 25-yard lap/fitness pool,two pirate-themed children’s play features, a pirate-themed crossing activity, a 670-foot long lazy river, a FlowRider stationary wave machine, a bowl slide, a four lane mat racer slide, two body flume waterslides, two raft waterslides, a climbing wall, a wet deck with bubblers, spraying palms, and pirate-themed features, shallow water leisure pool space and kiddie slides.
Baytown, Texas is a hard-working blue-collar oil refinery community on the outskirts of Houston. Prior to the opening of Pirate’s Bay, park facilities in Baytown included an outdated system of three old-style swimming pools located at Roseland Park, Wayne Gray Park, and N.C. Foote Park.
In 2000, Director of Parks and Recreation Scott Johnson had an engineering audit done of the pools and each one was pronounced to be both functionally and physically obsolete. In 2002, Roseland Pool was closed and replaced with a train-themed spraypark. The spraypark was a huge success and drew residents from all over town, sometimes overwhelming the adjacent neighborhoods.
In 2005, based on the success of Roseland Park’s sprayground — and a need to generate support from the public and city leaders — the city decided to prepare a city-wide Aquatic Facilities Master Plan. Upon completion of the plan, the mayor and council directed that a bond election be held to fund more than $12 million in aquatic improvements including: A new family aquatic center/waterpark at Wayne Gray Community Park; a small inner-city neighborhood aquatics facility at N.C. Foote Park; and a large sprayground at McElroy Park. The bond election passed in 2007 and Pirate’s Bay was one step closer to reality.
Since two nearby cities already had wave pools, Baytown opted to design their facility around a lazy river with two beach areas and a water spray/play island, in lieu of a wave pool. The concept was to provide a variety of attractions to appeal to all age groups, including teens.
Theming came from local consideration as well. Baytown is located in a bay of the Gulf of Mexico — not far from where Caribbean pirate Jean Lafitte and others operated — so a pirate/tropical/gulf theme was developed, including a lighthouse on the main entry building, pirate-themed signage and attraction names, natural and artificial palm trees, and pirate-themed toys.
Innovative energy savings features included the use of regenerative media filters and variable speed drive pumps. Continuous gutters were provided on the extra-long 600 linear foot lazy river to reduce maintenance. The deck was patterned with saw joints and finished with a low maintenance broom finish concrete for slip resistance. Wet areas at spray pads and the zero depth beach entrances were finished with colored acrylic cement textured deck topping.
The park opened for a partial 70-day season in 2010, and attendance and revenue projections exceeded expectations, averaging about 1,000 in attendance per day. In 2011, operators are hoping to exceed 100,000 in attendance. Moreover, due to initial success of Pirate’s Bay, the city is looking forward to building on park’s success with an expansion to accommodate additional guests more comfortably.
Improvements may include a wave-pool or large lagoon, additional food service outlets, and additional seating/shade areas. With the success of its dream facility, Baytown is emerging as one of the most progressive towns in South Texas.
NUTS & BOLTS
Cost: $10.2 million
Aquatic space: 349,800 square feet
Dream amenities: A multi-use leisure pool with twoseparate zero-depth entry water-play areas and a fitness area with four lap lanes and a crossing activity. Other amenities include a pirate-themed play structure with a tipping bucket, a pirate-themed spray pad island and a FlowRider stationary wave machine
- Dream Designer: Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.
- Architect: Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.
- Aquatic Designer: Counsilman-Hunsaker
- Bathhouse Design: Davis & Davis
- Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing: Engineering Associates
- Structural: The Core Group
- American Lockers: Lockers
- Aquatic Development Group: FlowRider stationary wave machine
- Chemtrol: Chemical control systems
- Dolphin: Cleaners/vacuums
- Grosfillex: Deck lounge chairs
- ITT Marlow: Pumps
- Lawson Aquatics: Gutters
- Musco Lighting/Pentair Water Commercial Pool and Aquatics: Lighting
- Neptune-Benson: Filters
- Recreation Supply: Lane markers (rope and buoys)
- Spectrum Products: Ladders / grab bars
- Sunports: Sun Shades
- Water Odyssey: Water-play equipment
- Whitewater West Industries: Water slides, play structure