22 Aug 2019 Attractions Management Handbook
 

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Attractions Management Handbook - On Reflection

Features

On Reflection


2018 heralded some awesome new waterparks Helen Patenall looks back at some of the best new kids on the block

Helen Patenall, Leisure Media

Epic Waters, Texas, US

In Grand Prairies, the average January temperature is -13°C (9°F), but that didn’t stop a new waterpark opening its doors at the beginning of 2018. Even in July it’s hardly sweltering at 16°C (61°F), so it’s a good job that this US$88m attraction is fully covered and insulated – making it the largest indoor waterpark under a custom-curved retractable roof in the US.

Designed by OpenAire, the retractable polycarbonate roof saves energy on warm days when it can be opened, reducing the need for air conditioning and dehumidification, and cutting Epic Waters’ energy use by an estimated 27 per cent a year compared with traditional structures. As the roof can be closed, the waterpark operates when it’s cold and wet outside.

Appropriately named Epic Waters, the 7,400sq m (80,000sq ft) indoor/outdoor attraction is operated by hospitality management firm American Resort Management. It’s the first step in the 696,000sq m (7,491,700sq ft) Epic Grand Central recreation development. The city parks department pushed forward the project and is receiving praise for developing one of the most important community water facilities in the US in many years.

“Grand Prairie is generating a lot of interest in our industry,” says Steve Brinkel, president of the parks and recreation division at WhiteWater West, who supplied the rides at Epic Waters.

“A lot of other cities and recreation departments are looking at this project with admiration. This development will set a new standard of what a community development can be, with the right plan, team, and vision for community.”

Epic Waters was designed by Wisconsin-based architecture and engineering firm Ramaker and Associates, with attractions supplied by WhiteWater. Alongside the regular flumes, WhiteWater custom-designed the first indoor innertube Boomerango ride plus the Constrictor fusion ride – dubbed Yellow Jacket Drop – and the country’s tallest AquaLoop, called Lassoloop.

Epic’s Aquanaut is also the first indoor innertube AquaSphere, with riders taking high-speed twists down an enclosed serpentine flume before zooming into giant spheres. There’s also a FlowRider Double surf simulator and the longest lazy river in Texas to boot.

WhiteWater custom-designed a selection of the water slides
Wet’n’Wild Haikou, Hainan, China
Village Roadshow aims to operate under the highest standards of safety and water quality

In Grand Prairies, the average January temperature is -13°C (9°F), but that didn’t stop a new waterpark opening its doors at the beginning of 2018. Even in July it’s hardly sweltering at 16°C (61°F), so it’s a good job that this US$88m attraction is fully covered and insulated – making it the largest indoor waterpark under a custom-curved retractable roof in the US.

Designed by OpenAire, the retractable polycarbonate roof saves energy on warm days when it can be opened, reducing the need for air conditioning and dehumidification, and cutting Epic Waters’ energy use by an estimated 27 per cent a year compared with traditional structures. As the roof can be closed, the waterpark operates when it’s cold and wet outside.

Appropriately named Epic Waters, the 7,400sq m (80,000sq ft) indoor/outdoor attraction is operated by hospitality management firm American Resort Management. It’s the first step in the 696,000sq m (7,491,700sq ft) Epic Grand Central recreation development. The city parks department pushed forward the project and is receiving praise for developing one of the most important community water facilities in the US in many years.

“Grand Prairie is generating a lot of interest in our industry,” says Steve Brinkel, president of the parks and recreation division at WhiteWater West, who supplied the rides at Epic Waters.

“A lot of other cities and recreation departments are looking at this project with admiration. This development will set a new standard of what a community development can be, with the right plan, team, and vision for community.”

Epic Waters was designed by Wisconsin-based architecture and engineering firm Ramaker and Associates, with attractions supplied by WhiteWater. Alongside the regular flumes, WhiteWater custom-designed the first indoor innertube Boomerango ride plus the Constrictor fusion ride – dubbed Yellow Jacket Drop – and the country’s tallest AquaLoop, called Lassoloop.

“The mission is to provide a world-class waterpark generating enjoyment and repeat visitation”

Epic’s Aquanaut is also the first indoor innertube AquaSphere, with riders taking high-speed twists down an enclosed serpentine flume before zooming into giant spheres. There’s also a FlowRider Double surf simulator and the longest lazy river in Texas to boot.

Great Wolf Illinios, Illinios, US

North America’s largest family of indoor waterpark resorts opened its Great Wolf Lodge Illinois last June in the family-friendly resort of Gurnee.

Reflecting the next generation of Great Wolf Lodge resorts, the 80,000sq ft (7,430sq m) indoor waterpark is heated to 84°F (29°C) and offers the Slap Tail Pond wavepool, Crooked Creek lazy river and Chinook Cove activity pool.

Its selection of rides include the Coyote Canyon, where a 40-ft drop plunges riders into a double vortex, the Double Whirlwind raft slide with its two back-to-back vortexes, and the 476ft-long River Canyon Run. For families, there’s the multi-level Fort Mackenzie with a tipping bucket.

That’s not all. There’s also the Great Wolf Adventure Park and a 40,000sq ft (3,720sq m) family entertainment center with a ropes course, a climbing wall and an arcade, as well as eight eateries including a farm-to-fork restaurant.

To limit queues in the waterpark, admission is exclusive to guests staying at the Great Wolf Lodge Illinois resort.

Greg Waldron, corporate director of Aquatics at Great Wolf Resorts, told Attractions Management Handbook: “With Great Wolf Lodge continuing to expand at a rapid pace, it’s exciting to work with our partners on new, innovative water features for our parks that today’s family is looking for. At our Illinois resort we debuted some first-of-their-kind slides and, as we continue to grow, I can’t wait to see what’s next for our resorts.”

Next in line, we can look forward to Great Wolf Resorts Scottsdale in Arizona, scheduled to open later this year.

To limit queues at the waterpark, admission is exclusive to resort guests
Six Flags, Illinois, US
Tsunami Bay is the largest wave pool in Illinois

Six Flags has added Magic Waters Waterpark in Cherry Valley, Illinois, to its growing portfolio, agreeing a lease deal with former operator Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners.

Rebranded as a Six Flags waterpark, the move is part of the company’s expansion drive to acquire existing North American properties, allowing the operator to expand capacity and attendance with minimal investment to provide a quick payback and high return on invested capital.

“This is a fantastic property that complements our theme and waterpark in Gurnee, Illinois, and provides tremendous added value for our season pass holders and members,” said Six Flags Great America park president Hank Salemi.

“We look forward to sharing the thrill of Six Flags with guests of all ages.”

"The rebranded waterpark is part of an expansion drive with minimal investment "

Jay Sandine, Rockford Park District executive director, added: “By having the Six Flags brand in this market, we expect a major increase in tourism, which will have a significant economic impact for our community.

“Six Flags will continue to make capital investments in the waterpark, which frees up district resources to invest in our communities’ priorities such as parks, playgrounds and youth.”

The 43-acre (17.4-hectare) waterpark features a wide array of tube slides and body slides, an expansive children’s play area, a 1,200-ft lazy river and Tsunami Bay, Illinois’s largest wave pool.

The 43-acre waterpark features a wide array of tube and body slides
LetoLeto, Tyumen, Russia

LetoLeto Waterpark, a sprawling indoor attraction in Tyumen, promised to keep its guests warm when it opened its doors last June, no matter how extreme the Siberian weather outside.

Developed by local investment group Sibentel Holding in partnership with Polin, LetoLeto is the country’s largest waterpark at 10,000sq m (107,000 sq ft). The massive facility features more than a kilometre’s worth of thrilling slides, including a 21-metre tall slide, a 750sq m (8,000sq ft) wave pool and a half-a-kilometre lazy river ride. Polin installed the Turbolance, Windigo and Magic Hole slides. Families can also enjoy a 1,300sq m (14,000sq ft) children’s aquaplay area and dining zones. All within a temperature of around 28ºC (82°F).

With a capacity for 2,500 guests, and equipped for those with disabilities, the wider complex offers a four-star hotel.

“I am sure that LetoLeto will become one of the favourite places for family recreation for Tyumen citizens and will turn into a point of attraction for tourists from other regions of the country,” said Tyumen acting governor Alexander Moore.

“The government of the Tyumen region creates comfortable conditions for investors in all areas of our economy. The aqua park is another confirmation of the correctness of such a strategy.”

LetoLeto is Russia’s largest waterpark with a capacity for 2,500 guests
Helen Patenall

Helen Patenall is editor of Attractions Management Handbook.

Email: [email protected]


Originally published in Attractions Handbook 2018 edition

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