Recently, I saw a story about Sun Splash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral and the possibility of the Florida establishment adding beer and wine smoothies to its list of concessions. The effort apparently is in response to requests by its patrons. However, the park is seeking feedback from the Cape Coral city's Chamber of Commerce before moving forward with a formal proposal to the city council.
To do so, Sun Splash manager Sandra Greiner sent an email with survey questions to the chamber members. Among the questions were the following:
- Would you continue to visit Sun Splash if beer and wine smoothies were served?
-If Sun Splash served beer and wine smoothies, how likely would you be to attend an adult only (21 & up) evening event at the park?
-Do you think a 2 drink limit is needed if Sun Splash begins serving beer and wine smoothies?
It is not highly unusual for a waterpark to serve alcohol, with both large and small facilities offering the service. For example, Splash Zone in Wildwood, N.J. received approval to apply for a liquor license in late 2013. And other establishments, such as Funtown Splashtown in Saco, Maine, and Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentwon, Pa. sell wine and beer. And there are several others.
However, the sale of alcohol at waterparks isn't widely accepted, with some attractions receiving push back after proposing the addition of the beverages to their menus.
Even in Las Vegas, where alcohol is a common theme, area residents were pushing back against a proposal to bring the adult beverages to Wet 'n' Wild Waterpark. The effort was in vain however. Clark County officials approved the permit request March 18 and the facility soon will be providing patrons with the option to purchase beer and wine.
Of course, we've all heard the infamous tales of waterpark employees under the influence while on the job. None are perhaps more widely known than that of the crew who managed the recently reopened Action Park in New Jersey. The park, which first operated from 1978 to 1996 and reportedly served alcohol during that time, became the talk to the town for its extreme rides, lawsuits, deaths, and drunken debauchery by its staff.
Not all establishments that serve alcohol will become a free-for-all though. And responsible parks are going to operate with safety as its leading concern.
Let's assume, then, that the parks serving adult beverages are following strict protocol. None of the employees are drinking on the job, especially the lifeguards. No one underage is presenting with success fake IDs to get served (to the best of the park's ability). And the park enforces harsh rules about drink minimums or, at the very least, limits beverages sold to those who appear drunk or under the influence.
So then what's the harm? For one, an argument can be made that the parents in attendance should also remain sober in the event of an accident. After all, many water safety advocates have suggested that the parents are the ones truly responsible for their children and even with trained experts on the job, moms and dads are supposed to be paying close attention to ensure their childrens' safety.
And what about adults attending the park without children. A two drink maximum doesn't ensure an adult won't get buzzed enough to cause their own injury or drowning.
In either instance, if a tragic accident should occur, it could lead to bad publicity, lawsuits, insurance claims and other headaches.
Facilities are constantly seeking ways to improve their service, offer more ammenities, and increase revenue. But is serving alcohol the best way to go abut this. I'm not certain either way. So I leave this debate up to you.
What is your take on selling alcohol at a waterpark? A good revenue generator? A major safety hazard? Does your facility serve liquor? Take our quick poll and then voice your opinion in the comments section below.