In spite of the down economy, waterpark operators across
the nation are optimistic that once the doors are open this
summer, the crowds will come. Last summer, attendance held
steady — or increased — at many
waterparks, as consumers opted for
“staycations” instead of big trips.
“Based on what we know now, we think we should
have a good year,” Frank O’Connell
general manager of Hersheypark told local media. Located in
Hershey, Pa., the park will this summer debut The Shore, a
new wave pool and the Intercoastal Waterway, a lazy river
Hersheypark is one of a number of parks hoping to draw
guests with new attractions.
Perhaps the most noteworthy is Pilgrims Plunge at
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa
Claus, Ind. The $4.3 million ride, billed as the tallest
waterpark ride in the world, is the second most expensive
in the park’s 64-year history.
Other new attractions include: The Congo River
Expedition, a family thrill ride at Schlitterbahn Waterpark
Resort in New Braunfels, Texas; UpSurge, a 216-foot-long
waterslide at Splash Beach at Alabama Adventure in
Bessemer, Ala.; Dr. Von Dark’s Tunnel of Terror, a
new waterslide at Wet’n Wild Emerald Pointe; Wahee
Cyclone a new waterslide at Splash Island at Wild
Adventures Water Park in Valdosta, Ga.; The Count's Splash
Castle a multilevel play structure, the largest such
attraction at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa.; and Wahoo
Racer, a six-lane race slide at Six Flags St. Louis
Hurricane Harbor in St. Louis.
Waterparks not unveiling new rides are hoping to bring
the crowds with other attractions. These include Wildwater
Kingdom in Aurora, Ohio, which has a new party cabana able
to accommodate up to 30 people; and The Beach Waterpark in
Mason, Ohio, hosting a 25th Anniversary concert series.