Develop Your Waterfront

If you have a water source such as a lake, pond or old quarry, you can use that space to create a beautiful destination park that will generate revenues. Adding a range of amenities to your water, as well as providing complementary activities on land, will generate interest and attract people to the park, providing revenue that will enable you to expand your offerings at all of your facilities.

Q: We'd like to develop our park's existing water into a new attraction that will draw people from the community and beyond. Where should we begin?

A: First off, you need a plan. Start by determining your goals. Developing a successful waterfront park is about more than amenities. Do you want to generate more revenue? Do you want to expand programming? Establishing your goals up front will help you find the right solutions for your situation.

Next, look at the space that's available. How do you plan to use the area? To make the space work for you, you'll need to assess the overall area, water depth variations, surrounding terrain and sun angles. This information will help you determine the best amenities to fit your space.

Finally, establish a budget. You can make a small investment up front and get big returns. What's more, if you phase your project, you'll be able to deliver a great experience right off the bat, while continually adding to your park to grow your attraction and generate more business.

It's a complex process, and finding the right partner to help you plan and execute your goals is a sure path to success. Look for partners who are experienced in developing a range of waterfront and land-based attractions for the best results.

Q: What kinds of activities and amenities should we provide on the water?

A: To determine the best combination of activities and amenities, you need to know your audience. Waterfront parks attract a wide range of patrons, from families with kids, to seniors, teens and more. Once you know your goals, space, budget and audience, you can find the best combination of products, from water inflatables, water mats and climbing walls, to docks, stand-up paddleboards and more.

To appeal to the broadest audience, you'll need to create three zones: shallow, deep and passive. Younger kids and swimmers with limited ability will enjoy the shallow zone, while a deep zone with thrilling pieces for climbing, sliding and bouncing will attract adults and teens. A passive zone can feature platforms, floating mats and shade for people to get out of the sun and relax.

Q: What about the area around the water? What's the best way to complement our water-based activities with additional amenities?

A: Don't neglect the land around your lake or pond. Providing a range of activities here will keep guests in your park. Volleyball courts, miniature golf, playgrounds and splash play areas provide a way to get active away from the water. Shade structures and picnic areas will give people a home base off the water.

With a combination of exciting and relaxing land- and water-based activities, your waterfront park will appeal to everyone. By charging a small admission fee, you'll generate revenue all season to support your programs and facilities.



Commercial Recreation Specialists