It’s inflatable. It’s temporary. But make no mistake: It will be a full-fledged waterpark.
Perth, the capital city of Western Australia, will be ground-zero for an unusual experiment in aquatic recreation. A pop-up waterpark will reside on public land for six months beginning in November (the start of Australian summer) before picking up stakes and moving someplace else, if the organizers so choose.
The attraction will feature a towering 76-foot-tall inflatable drop slide, 50-foot-tall triple lane slide, child’s play area with multiple slides and a 17-meter pool, and a 25-meter pool for bigger kids and adults. The pools are aboveground vinyl-lined constructs. A pump room will be housed in a container on site. All told, the park will utilize about 200,000 gallons of water.
Though temporary, the facility will look and operate just like any waterpark, complete with concessions and a staff of about 50 lifeguards, said Nasir David, president of Perth-based Amusement Leisure Consultants, which conceived the project.
The concept takes a cue from a trend whereby boutique retailers and restaurateurs start up limited-engagement businesses to generate a buzz. David believes the same approach will work for waterparks.
“There are a lot of industrial areas in cities that aren’t being used, where we can come in for a short period of time, reach the public and go,” David said.
A traveling waterpark helps operators overcome one of their biggest obstacles: Finding space. It’s long been the modus operandi of operators to snap up land, develop it and sell it for a handsome profit. The practice is called land banking and it’s been difficult to do lately, as available real estate dwindles amid rapid development.
The pop-up solution also is much cheaper. Because you don’t have to buy land, you’ve eliminated a substantial amount of upfront costs, David said.
Operators also are enticed by the prospect of bringing the waterpark to the people instead of having the people come to them. The park hasn’t yet been erected and David said he’s already fielding inquiries from North America, Europe and other prominent Australian cities.
“We’re talking to operators in Sydney at the moment. There’s a Wet ‘n Wild serving the southwestern corridor, but there’s nothing in the northern corridor, and that represents around a million people in that area,” David said. “We can take this product to a number of sites there.”
The park can be packed into a relatively small footprint -- approximately 2 acres. It takes about 1,800 man hours, or about four weeks, to set up.
For six months, a private company will operate the waterpark, which will be on a horse-race track leased from the Town of Victoria Park, a suburb of Perth. The water will be used for irrigation when the pop-up closes for the season, David said.
Though developed in Australia, the attraction is made possible with American engineering. Neptune Benson in Coventry, R.I. supplied the filtration equipment, and St. Petersburg, Fla.-based FreeStyle Slides designed and supplied custom slides, including the 7-story-high inflatable one that the manufacturer hopes the Guinness Book of World Records will declare the world's tallest of its kind.