Water park projects in Henderson, Summerlin remain on track, developers say

Courtesy Splash Canyon

A cartoon map depicting the Splash Canyon water park.

Click to enlarge photo

A view of the Wet 'n Wild water park during its last day of operation Sunday, September 26, 2004.

As summer approaches and temperatures rise, tourists and locals are starting to look for ways to cool off. Pools have begun to open, but what about two water parks that developers announced last year?

They aren’t in operation yet, but if all goes as planned, both should be open by next spring.

Shawn Hassett, developer of a 22-acre water park at Galleria Drive and Gibson Road in Henderson, said he has secured financing for the project, plans to close on the property in July and expects to break ground in August.

“We’ve been meeting with slide manufacturers, visiting other parks, talking with industry experts, jumping through all the hoops,” Hassett said. “Things are moving forward.”

Hassett declined to put a price tag on the project but said it would feature 20 water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, restaurants and cabanas.

Across town, plans for Splash Canyon in Summerlin also are moving along swimmingly. Construction is set to resume in May, and season passes for 2013 should go on sale in late summer or fall, said Nancy Katz, spokeswoman for the project.

The $20 million, 25-acre water park was supposed to open for Memorial Day 2012 but got pushed back a year so developers could add amenities to the project. The park will feature 20 slides, a wave pool, lazy river, water playground and toddler pool, as well as a seven-story speed slide and head-first mat racer. The venue is being built by Roger Bulloch and SPB Partners.

Locals and tourists have long bemoaned that Las Vegas has no full-scale water park. Wet ’n Wild shut down in 2004 after nearly 20 years in operation along the Strip near the now-defunct Sahara. Although developers have floated proposals for a replacement, no projects have come to fruition.

Most notably, in 2006, a former Disney and Universal Studios executive announced plans for Las Vegas Wet, a $10 billion combination indoor water park, ski slope, casino and hotel. It was supposed to open on Las Vegas Boulevard south of Interstate 215, but the idea burst along with the economy.

Now operators of the proposed Summerlin and Henderson water parks insist their projects will become realities and say they welcome the healthy competition two venues will bring.

“We have no doubt our economy can support two water parks, especially when they are on opposite sides of town,” Hassett said. “Other communities of our size have multiple water parks, and we are an extremely hot climate with limited things to do for families.”



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Discussion 7 comments

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  1. Both of these Parks look like Poor Country Cousins compared to Major Water Parks available in the rest of the U.S. These Developers either Need to Go Big or Go Home! After the novelty of these roadside stands wears off their business will wane. They can Travel to Orlando's Sea World Water Park, Disneys Two Water Parks (complete with chair lifts to save from walking up Ramps/Hills/Steps) or Wet and Wild to get an Idea. Also no Water Coaster in either Park is like building an Amusement Park with out a Roller Coaster. No surfing Wave Either - Even some Cruise Ships have those.
    It looks like if Las Vegans want a Top Rated Water Park they need to get out of town even after these mere imitations are built.

  2. Will the Center for Biological Diversity sign off that no endangered species i.e., snails, desert tortoise or Northern Nevadans are threatened before this project proceeds. . . ?

  3. I remember "Wet 'n Wild." It was a pretty good water park, and on manny days - attracted a capacity crowd of fun-seekers and sun-bathers. It also had a wave pool, and slides, etc. So I do not see the difference - other than MORE of the same - that the two current proposals will offer.

    As I recall, it was NOT the lack of desirable features that killed the Wet 'n Wild water playgound (on The Strip). It was the escalating cost of admission, combined with lagging attendance of visitors (among other things, which included maintenance costs, etc). that reduced the profitability - and perhaps popularity - of the Wet 'n Wild.

    So, in comparison, if the (unfortunate) rise in cost of operations begins to cause the "price of admission" to rise in the two new water parks - I would hazard a guess that this will, ultimately, affect their ability to operate at a profit - and then, it will be a slippery slope toward closure of the business.

    Thus, if past is prologue, history will repeat itself - and these two new water parks may not be able to handle the financial losses that would seem to be impending for such an operation in the Las Vegas desert. One must remember that Las Vegas is a different kind of entertainment town, and is designed for adults to play in - and that means casino gambling, shows, lavish restaurants, shopping, sports, spas, and night life; not a big focus on anything to do with water parks. For the (est.) 34 milion yearly visitors, private and hotel pools take care of the needs of people to get wet and sunbath.

    However, for its entertainment value as a water park, locating these two new water parks in RESIDENTIAL areas is probably a very good idea - because it is, no doubt,families who LIVE IN Las Vegas that will use them.

    But for how long and at what price?

    Further, I believe that the geographic environment has a lot to do with the success of ANY water or amusement park. Thus, the locations of both proposed water parts, along with the constant, hot desert sun - and dry climate of Las Vegas - would seem to be a big factor in determining whether these water parks can be successful.

    So, when the novelty and newness of the water parks wears off, operating costs rise - and the ability to sustain "bottom-line" profits becomes more of a concern - these two water parks may find it difficult to keep their doors open - just as Wet 'n Wild did.

    In any case, I wish them "good luck" for taking the risk, and success for their vision..

  4. I just hope the developers realize about 1/3 of the water park already exists just a few miles down Ft. Apache in Rhodes Ranch.

  5. As a Grampa with lots of young visitors, I've often thought that the LV valley should boast "the best water park in the world".

    The proposed location of the park in Henderson is only a few miles from my home. That'd be great.

    Yes, the cost of admission (and drinks, food, etc.) is pretty high at these parks; I've regularly spent $400-$800 for the day (varying number of kids---I usually say "However many can fit in the seatbelts in the car(s)". And our whole group really enjoyed the water park outings.

    I've spent more than that gambling, with just my wife and myself, in a day. It's all relative.

  6. Some interesting comments today.

    First off, Wet & Wild had their biggest year the last year they were open. Seems their pricing did not slow them done a bit. The closed because their lease on the property ran out and there were plans to build a Hotel/Casino project there that never came about.

    Both of the new Parks planned are bigger and have more to offer then Wet & Wild did. No, these parks are not like some of the world class parks around the country but I am betting they do just fine in Vegas. After reviewing web sites of some of those bigger parks the proposed pricing for these parks are also more affordable to the locals. Having two of them will make them more "neighborhood" then Wet & Wild was. They will be involved in the community.

    These are both good additions to the valley. No one is going to make anyone go there or pay for something they don't want to use. A few more jobs, something for the family to do. Don't see a down side here at this point.

  7. I think this story needs to run right next to the story about the Southern Nevada Water Authority reviewing the $5 surcharge for water meters. Somehow, I feel like I am missing something here.