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Fun on the Water

Water-Based Entertainment Adds Revenue, Builds Community

Saltwater Works, Too

The WBFEC concept also works well in open saltwater. Trade Winds Island Resort is the largest resort on Florida's west coast and is located on the island of St. Pete Beach in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We have a lot of the same guests coming back every year, and we're always trying to come up with new and exciting things," said Travis Johnson, senior vice president of Trade Winds. "Our thought was, 'We don't have the real estate to develop a full-scale waterpark, but what if we float one right on the water?' Now we have the area's first floating waterpark."

Trade Winds offers its inflatable waterpark seasonally, from March through October, during which time it brings added interest to the resort's other attractions, which include fitness, golf and water sport activities.

"About 30 percent of our market is corporate group meetings, and they use the inflatables for team building activities, such as beach Olympics," Johnson said. "However, most of our rentals are for family activities like birthday parties. Different pieces appeal to different folks. We'll see mom, dad and the kids leisurely floating on an Airport Floating Lounger, and then we'll see more adventurous groups rocking and rolling on the Aquaglide Rockit."

Charitable Moves

When it comes to splashin' good times, Dutch Springs in Bethlehem, Pa., puts on a wipeout of an event—a WipeOUT Cancer event, that is.

Each year, this 100-acre resort hosts a competitive fun day. The event has become a huge success, daring "thrill seeking, cancer hating" individuals or groups to conquer its side-by-side Wibit inflatable challenge courses in the aqua park.

"The LIVESTRONG Foundation sponsors the event," said Stuart Schooley, president of Dutch Springs. "By hosting it, we get a lot of coverage, both TV and newspaper. It's a huge promotional benefit for us in all areas of our park."

That makes it a win-win, supporting a good cause and boosting the parks revenues through the season.

Summertime Fun

Quarry Beach in Sheboygan, Wis., is a beautiful natural quarry with picturesque rock formations that was popular with the locals, but too expensive for the community to maintain and staff. After an 18-month hiatus, a group of community members worked with CRS to reopen the facility as a WBFEC, emphasizing adventure and water sports. The location now offers inflatable challenge courses, boat and water sport rentals, beachfront seating, concessions, party rental facilities, wireless internet and more.

What makes Quarry Beach's first summer most notable, though, is how it thrived in the midst of challenge.

According to on-site manager Monica Garbisch, the city of Sheboygan issued requirements that necessitated a late start. "On top of that, it was a cool summer," she added, which made the conditions less than ideal for measuring the location's true potential.

All things considered, Romens of CRS was thrilled with the location's initial success.

"Families came from communities throughout the state—Milwaukee, Manitowoc, Green Bay," he said. "They even came from out of state. Most encouraging, Quarry Beach paid for itself in its first summer."

"Quarry Beach has had a long history as a place to come swimming, but adding fun activities for the whole family has generated so much more excitement," Garbisch said. "CRS' development of the adventure park has certainly benefited the entire community."

For More Information: www.crs4rec.com