inPRACTICE / INDOOR WATERPARK: Island Waterpark at Showboat in Atlantic City, N.J.


In July, 2023, one of the largest, beachfront indoor waterparks in the world opened in Atlantic City, N.J. The Island Waterpark at the Showboat Resort is a 120,000-square-foot oasis featuring 11 waterslides, six bars and a 6,500-foot lazy river—all in all holding more than 317,000 gallons of water. And at the entrance to it all, there is a cast concrete rock water feature to welcome all the waterpark visitors.

It started in January 2022, when RicoRock was exhibiting at the NESPA Pool and Spa Show and found themselves called into meetings with project managers of this new development. “We aren’t normally the builders on this type of project,” said Bruce Riley, owner of RicoRock. “But in this case, we ended up being very involved as a sort of joint venture with American Pond company in New Jersey, who has been a RicoRock dealer for more than 20 years.” Riley explained that RicoRock builders ended up taking the lead on the project because of the job’s complexity.

The water feature is 40 feet wide, 20 feet deep and 19 feet high. The design features sheets of broken water that cascade over the cast concrete artificial rock, creating a dramatic effect as these features are stylized into three parts flowing from separate, unique sections of the waterfall. There are 600 to 800 gallons of water per minute flowing in the water feature. Lighting is built into the feature both within basins and the waterfall ledges, to create an even more stunning look after dark. 

Off-Site Construction

Photo Courtesy of RicoRock

Rico Rock worked with general contractors in Atlantic City, delivering design ideas for the entire project. “We listened to what the contractor wanted to achieve and made suggestions based on their ideas while keeping the timing and budget in mind as well,” explained Zayvian Camacho, one of the lead designers at RicoRock. “After going over logistics, we determined it would be best to build the water feature offsite at the RicoRock facility in Texas, which resulted in considerable savings for the project, both in time and labor.” 

The water feature was built on 10 steel frames, most of them 8 feet wide by 8 feet tall and about 3 feet 8 inches deep. Once the water feature was built, it required three completely loaded trucks to move the water feature to Atlantic City. By contrast, if the contractor had used traditional shotcrete rock, the water feature would have been much more costly to build and would have taken far more time to construct. Additionally, the weight of a shotcrete water feature of this size might have caused additional structural design issues that were avoided by using cast concrete artificial rock.

Rock Walls

In addition to the impressive water feature at the entrance of the waterpark resort, RicoRock was also asked to create several rock walls that flanked the lazy river and other parks of the resort’s interior. The waterpark is housed within a structure with a retractable roof that opens when the sun is shining and closes on rainy days or when the weather is cooler. “The RicoRock cast concrete artificial rock is a proven solution for aquatic facilities around the world, both large and small, that are exposed to UV and chemicals and are built to last and look terrific for many years,” explained Riley.

The $100 million Island Waterpark at the Showboat Resort along the Atlantic City Boardwalk opened on July 4, 2023.       RM

Island Waterpark at Showboat: 

Alycia Oppenheim | Author