Feature Article - October 2007
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Making Waves

Big Waterpark Trends Hit Smaller Facilities

By Emily Tipping

Make it universal

One central rule of success for any recreational facility is to know your users, and make sure you cater to them.

Many waterparks are features of destination resorts and hotels, and according to Kempfer, they're going to need to heed this advice.

"Somewhere in the future, in order to compete, hotels are going to have to have some sort of waterpark element backed up with an arcade and other things that are serving entire families—mom, dad, the little kids, and the teens and preteens," she explained. "What can we do to keep their attention? Things like speed slides, water coasters and some of the thrill-type rides will appeal to the preteens, the teens and even some young adults, but you still need a good balance of spray play and tot pools for the little kids."

In addition to thrilling rides that attract teens and young adults, Hawaiian Waters also provides family fun with a river ride, an interactive children's pool with waterfalls, mini-slides and water cannons; Hurricane Bay, a mega-wave pool; and Waterworld, a 20,000-square-foot multi-level activity pool with seven family slides, two shotgun slides that free-fall six feet into 10 feet of water, lily pad walks and other mini-attractions.

At the Wilderness Resort, the complex's newest outdoor waterpark—the Lost World Adventure Waterpark—features activities for all ages. The Lost World Adventure River is an interactive ride that goes from rapids to lazy river to uphill currents and beach runoffs. This park also features a play area for younger kids with a fun dinosaur theme.

But planning for all ages can go beyond the water-themed fun to include things like arcades for the older kids and teens, and dry playgrounds for the younger kids and tots. For kids and teens who get tired of the water, Wilderness Resort offers plenty of activities: an arcade, a 30,000-square-foot interactive play land, a toddler crawl zone, laser tag, a rock climbing wall and more.

Different types of events can also draw in different age groups, as Pupillo has discovered.

"We create individual packages for specific target markets, so we have things like birthday packages," he explained. "Also, we create evening packages in and around our Flowrider. It has a bar and our food-service area, so at nighttime, we'll open that up for parties and concerts. That gets us into the teenage and 20-somethings. We have non-alcohol events for the teenagers to promote a drug-free, alcohol-free environment for kids to hang out."