Cowabummer: The planned Memorial Day opening of Henderson’s Cowabunga Bay Water Park is delayed

Courtesy Rendering

A rendering of the Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas water park, which is scheduled to open in 2013.

Cowabunga Bay Groundbreaking

Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen is framed by a model of a water slide while speaking during the groundbreaking for the Cowabunga Bay water park Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, in Henderson. Launch slideshow »

Families looking forward to splashing around Henderson's Cowabunga Bay Water Park this summer will have to wait.

The water park won't open until Spring 2014.

“We’ve been pushing and pushing hard to get ready for summer,” said Shane Huish, the park’s general manager. “It became apparent we weren’t going to finish it in time.”

The park originally was set to open Memorial Day – the same day as Summerlin’s Wet ‘n’ Wild water park – but Huish said a series of setbacks threw off construction.

First, workers ran into Caliche, a concrete-like mix of hardened calcium carbonate, gravel, sand, clay and silt, 15 feet below the ground. Then, there was a hold up at the customs department in Europe, where Huish had ordered a custom-made water slide.

Both snags added several weeks to the construction schedule.

Huish said crews worked double shifts to try to get the park done. That increased costs because of overtime pay.

Cowabunga Bay is 50 percent complete, he said.

“It’s just a very big project to take on in a very little amount of time,” Huish said.

Crews broke ground on the $23-million Cowabunga Bay in December. The ‘60s beach-themed water park is slated for 23 acres at Galleria Drive and Gibson Road, near the Galleria at Sunset Mall. It is expected to include a 33,000-square-foot wave pool, several clusters of slides, a lazy river and a multi-lane racing slide that will send riders on a 55-foot head-first plunge into a pool.

Although competing water park Wet 'n' Wild will likely come online a year before Cowabunga Bay, Huish said there’s an upside to the delayed opening. Now, the park will open with a full season. Memorial Day marks the half-way point of a water park season, he said.

“It was like opening a Christmas tree lot on December 24,” Huish said. “It makes more sense to open a full park with a full season.”

Families who bought Cowabunga Bay season passes will receive a full refund within the next five business days, Huish said.

“I want to apologize to everyone who had been looking forward to the opening,” Huish said. “But rather than an apology, I’ll offer a delayed welcoming.”

Wet 'n' Wild officials said construction is in its final stages and the park is on track to open Memorial Day as planned.