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Splash Adventure's first full season ending with increased attendance, owner says
Thursday, August 30, 2012, 4:13 PM
After a busy summer, Alabama's Splash Adventure Waterpark is winding down its first full season of operation.
The closure of the amusement park and three new rides contributed to increased attendance at the water park, said the park's new owner.
When Kent Lemasters bought the park from Oklahoma-based Adrenaline Family Entertainment, he hoped to slash operating costs, increase attendance, and in turn, increase profits.
To accomplish that, Lemasters and his team decided to shut down the amusement park.
"The amusement park was not getting the visitation that the water park was," Lemasters said. "It did not make financial sense to continue to offer the amusement park because of the lack of visitation."
Those decisions have helped the privately-owned company turn a greater profit, said Lemasters, though he would not release exact figures.
To attract more visitors, the park concentrated on opening new rides over the course of its first summer in operation. Since its grand re-opening on May 11, guests have lined up to experience three new rides, including the Zip Line, Mist-ical Maze and the Wipeout Adventure Course.
The increased ride availability has helped create another attractive feature, said park guests: Shorter lines.
"I'm impressed that it's not overly-crowded," said Cindy Stanley, who attended the park Sunday with her children, Grant and Erin as well as her husband, Sam. "Everything is in working order; it's nice and clean."
So far, said Lemasters, the most popular ride has been the Wipeout Adventure Course. Advertised as the first of its kind, the attraction consists of a series of elevations, rope courses, and bridges that are all doused with water. Geysers, sprays and foot and hand-activated cannons create an interactive experience. Guests making their way through the Adventure Course are strapped in with a harness attached to an overhead rail for added protection, while those on the outskirts of the ride have the opportunity to participate as well: Water cannons and sprays help keep them entertained as they aim at those balancing atop the course.
Some guests, who had visited the original park, were able to make comparisons. Kim Tanner was one of those guests. The restructuring of the park and its new emphasis on the water park, said Tanner, is a positive change.
"I like it," said Tanner, who had just taken a ride on a recent Sunday down Neptune's Plunge, a series of four enclosed dark tubes that release into a pool. "It's nice not having to wait as long to get on another ride. I'm riding the blue one next," she said, as she pointed towards Splashdown, a 50-foot plunge through and enclosed tube and spiral.
The various areas within the water park, including Castaway Island -- which resembles a playground dripping with water -- and Salamander Bay, built for the little ones, helps ensure the park attracts families with children of all ages.
"It's been fun," said Kalli Waldrep, who was at the park Sunday with her children and a family friend, ranging in age from 6 to 12. "There are a couple of new rides the kids really seem to like," as she pointed to the various areas the children had run off to. Some were floating down the Warrior River, an inner-tube attraction that propels guests along a winding course, said Waldrep, while the rest went off to explore the newer rides.
Lemasters said the plan is to add even more rides. Over the fall and winter months, when the park is not in operation, his team will review the season and make any necessary adjustments and plan the course for next season. Eventually, Lemasters said he hopes to sell of the remaining amusement park rides, including the still-visible Rampage roller coaster.
In September, the park will host Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants as part of its Fun-tastic Labor Day Weekend celebration, Saturday-Monday. Sunday night, the water park is scheduled to light up with a planned Fireworks Splash-Tacular. Guests who purchase a general admission ticket for $27.99 during Labor Day weekend will be able to revisit the park for the rest of the season for free.
The park will continue to operate through Sept. 16, open on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. On its last weekend of operation, September 15-16, the park will be open from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.
General admission adult tickets are $27.99 and $19.99 for juniors under 42 inches tall. Children younger than three are always free.
For more information, go to splashadventurewaterpark.com or call 205-481-4750
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