Award Winner - May/June 2006
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Something to Discover

Discovery Island Waterpark
Greenville, S.C.

S U B M I T T E D    B Y:

Water Technology, Inc. in Beaver Dam, Wis.

Project cost: : $2.7 million

Quick tour:

  • 4,036-square-foot leisure pool with zero-depth entry
  • Splash play structure with pools and falls
  • Floor geysers
  • 2,282-square-foot activity/plunge area
  • 277-linear-foot lazy river
  • 4,884-square-foot river/plunge area
  • Enclosed body slide and open tube slide
  • Shade, grass turf and concessions

When it came to meeting community aquatic needs, the Greenville County Recreation District decided to make a big splash.

The local pool was in need of major repair and did not support the explosive growth in the area. Officials planned to renovate the facility to include recreational swimming, swimming lessons, water aerobics, lap swimming and swim team meets.After a facility evaluation, the original proposal evolved into the Discovery Island Waterpark, an aquatic center unlike anything else in a 100-mile radius.

"They were looking for something very family-oriented within the budget," says Bill Bornick of Water Technology, Inc. in Beaver Dam, Wis. "They wanted to utilize their facilities and amenities but add excitement, too."

When guests enter Discovery Island, they are greeted with a blaze of primary colors. The designers chose the bright hues for the umbrellas, play structures and slides because studies show children react best to red, yellow and blue.

All of the signage throughout the park is consistent and has the park's wave logo. Its mascot, Clyde the Dolphin, appears on each sign that informs guests about the park's rules, including height restrictions and admonishments about running on the pool deck.

The facility boasts all the must-have pool features, with the local paper referring to the park as "organized chaos that makes kids shriek with happiness," a description that couldn't be more accurate.

The design keeps swimmers flowing from one element to the next, which helps alleviate congestion in certain areas. For example, when guests come down the enclosed tube slide, they land in a splashdown pool connected to the lazy river and immediately are transported to a new attraction.

Discovery Island has proven so popular, it reaches its 800-person capacity on a daily basis with daily averages at 1,200 guests. It enjoyed more than 118,000 visitors in its first season, shattering initial expectations of 65,000 people. The impressive attendance has been bolstered, in part, by a reasonable admission price. It costs about $5 or $6 to enter the park, cheaper than taking the family to a movie—and a lot more fun.

"That daily facility attendance never declined," says Greenville Recreation Facilities Director Ray Dunham. "It was more than we expected, and we were initially overwhelmed but made operational adjustments to accommodate the demands."

Given the high demand, there is a constant clamoring for prime seating. Park officials turned this need into a revenue-generator by renting out three large shade structures located along the deck pathways and turf. The structures—called the coconut huts—can be rented in two-hour time blocks and are booked constantly throughout the day.

Greenville recreation officials knew the park would prove popular and encouraged a design that would allow for further expansion. Water Technology designed the deck areas, renovated the concession building, turf and support buildings to provide for future growth.

"We pack a lot into a small area," he says. "It has a little something for the entire family."


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