Activities now available at your local campgrounds:
floating down lazy rivers, rafting into unknown caverns,
jumping down tumbling falls, scrambling through grottos and
splashing away summer days by the riverbank.
A typical outing in the woods? Sure ? if you add
chlorine to your venue, a few water slides and a multilevel
play feature. That?s right, the waterpark, long a
staple of suburbia, is fast becoming the hottest new
attraction at family campgrounds across the United
?That?s a natural extension,?
said Jeff Coy, president of JLC Hospitality Consulting Inc.
in Cave Creek, Ariz. ?I can see an RV campground
owner adding a waterpark very easily because it?s
an extension of an outdoor pool.?
Many campgrounds already offer activities such as
tennis, batting cages, rock climbing, swimming, guided
hiking, minigolf and other kid-friendly outdoor activities.
?[They] extend their season and enhance their
service level to the clients,? said Duane Wepking,
aquatics project manager at Ramaker & Associates in
Sauk City, Wis.
Waterparks vary in size and equipment, of course, but
even adding a water slide and play feature makes the
aquatics area more family-friendly and kid-suitable,
Wepking said. His company has already added improvements to
approximately 30 projects in the past two years at
campgrounds, and continues to receive calls asking for
more. He said many take on a theme to mirror the
campground, usually with a woodsy or local historical
Ron Vitkun added a waterpark at his campground, Yogi
Bear?s Jellystone Park in Hagerstown, Md., with the
idea of expanding in mind. ?We bought extra power
as we built this. ? We planned there will be an
addition. Upsizing the power, the transformers, everything
is done in anticipation of phase two,? said the
president of RV Properties Inc. in Williamsport, Md.
Vitkun?s plans include a zero-entry splash area for
toddlers, water basketball and volleyball, rain curtains,
geysers and hydrotherapy in the pool for the parents.
Many camping areas already have full-fledged waterparks.
Cherry Hill Camping Resort in Kaysville, Utah, features
tube slides, pirates cove activity pool, an Olympic- size
pool and a lazy river at its waterpark. Outdoor World Corp.
has indoor waterparks at its locations from Maine to
Florida and Illinois. Some campsites offer luxury cabins,
making vacationing outdoors possible year ?round.
The Yogi Bear?s Jellystone Park in Warrens, Wis.,
operates an outdoor and new indoor waterpark, open all
year, with cabins and hotel lodging available.
Paramount?s Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C., renovated
its campground resort, offering about 200 campsites, 15
cabins and access to the waterpark via tram service.
?We?ve created a camping experience
unlike any other in the region,? said Bob White,
The campground waterpark segment does not compete with
hotel waterparks, thus avoiding industry cannibalization,
Coy said. ?Those are two distinctly different
markets,? he said. But the idea is the same: Draw
families into the property with water play. Mother Nature
has her ways.