Facility Profile - November 2006
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Rustic Waters

White Water Bay in Queensbury, N.Y., and Fort Rapids Water Park in Columbus, Ohio

By Donald A. Jaenicke

hey're surfing in New York and Ohio—many miles from the ocean. Two northern theme parks—Six Flags Great Escape in Queensbury, N.Y., and Fort Rapids in Columbus, Ohio—have added indoor water recreation facilities to create year-round attractions for their patrons.

Surfing the Adirondacks

Located near several upstate New York ski resorts, the 200-room Great Escape Lodge in Queensbury added a $30 million indoor waterpark, called White Water Bay. The 38,000-square-foot waterpark is said to be the only one of its kind in the state.

"We are becoming a four-season destination," said John Collins, general manager of the new facilities.

The waterpark features a number of water attractions, including a lazy river where guests can float around on inner tubes, shallow activity pool, warm-water spa, family raft ride and two tube waterslides with a 41-foot drop that take guests through loops, curls and tunnels.

The Tall Timbers Tree House is a 4,375-square-foot multi-level play structure with nearly 160 interactive water features and activities, designed with the appearance of an Adirondack lodge. The structure also features three more slides between 135 and 160 feet in length. The Boogie Bear Surf is a FlowRider, a continuous sheet wave that allows guests to surf and bodyboard.

The park also includes a spa, a food court, a locker room, an indoor arcade, an upstairs lounge and a 300-person banquet facility.

The exposed glued laminated roof framing helps achieve what the builders have called "the rustic Adirondack effect." The framing was specified because of its warm aesthetics and resistance to corrosion, which might affect exposed steel construction, said Bill Pearson, construction manager for Aquatic Development Group, the design and contracting firm on the project.

Guests of the hotel will be able to use the waterpark for free. A key part of the project was a $1.8 million access bridge over Highway 9. Held in place by glued laminated rafters and columns, the ridge beam that forms the backbone of the bridge design is 90 feet long and 6 feet deep, and weighs in at about 13,000 pounds.

The local newspaper, the Post Star, observed that "visitors to the new hotel and waterpark can trade in their snowboards for Boogie boards."