The water park, Lake Winnie’s first expansion in more than 50 years, will be an “oasis of fun” upon completion May 3, said Lake Winnie public relations director Talley Green.
Despite some heavy rainfall and some freezing conditions over the past two months, the construction crews have hardly missed a step in preparing for the development.
On fair weather days, crews will work around the clock making up for any lost time, said project superintendent Thomas Lampron with Aquatic Development Group (ADG).
“The rain has impeded some things but we have gone ahead with other things so it has evened out,” Green said. “This is our biggest expansion in over 50 years and a very large undertaking. We have a very knowledgeable team in place making this happen.”
Each part of development has been subdivided to accommodate the simultaneous work being done. Working in 20-feet increments, crews dig out the adventure river, using the same earth to build up the foundation of body and tubing slides in the center. Asked if the ride was like a lazy river, Lampron said he does not build anything lazy. The river ride will have a wave machine and pumps pushing riders through a colorful and lush landscape.
“We are not going to theme it with sharks or pirates,” Green said. “It will have wonderful bright colors and a very inviting atmosphere.”
On one side of the river the beach lagoon has already been excavated. Approximately 840 feet long and 14 feet wide, three feet of water in the lagoon will have riders bumping and splashing as part of the five-acre water park attraction.
As construction of the river nears completion a bridge will be constructed to allow access to the slides in the center. Two body slides and two tubing slides will be constructed high above the river floor with the possibility for a fifth slide.
On May 24, when SoakYa opens for Memorial Day weekend, patrons will see another amazing transformation. The mud-covered excavation site will be a paradise of colorful rides and crystal clear waters.
For an additional $5 from the current admission price to the amusement park, adventure seekers will get both parks. Upon entering the park, one of the first observations will be a new train station on the west side of the park.
The train tracks are being rerouted to include a new stop at the SoakYa water park. To the left of the entrance will be a snack bar, gift shop, first-aid center and restrooms with lockers. The construction of these buildings has begun and in just a month will be about 80-percent complete, said Lampron.
“There will be a lot of finishing touches,” Lampron said.
To the right of the entrance is massive concrete decking with a lounging area, seating and more concession stands. Whether park-goers are taking a break from the action or watching their children splash in the pool, this will be a place of relaxation.
Directly in the center will be an array of water rides, slides and pools. Nearest to the lounging area will be a section for small children with a kid’s pool and smaller slides. The park will also feature two more distinct swimming pool areas.
The project is literally starting from the ground up. From the floor of the adventure river, rock is being laid for drainage prior to concrete being poured. New water and sewer pipes are being set in order to provide for the overwhelming water needs. And most importantly is the pumping station with wave generation and filtration system. These aspects are less glamorous but get the water clean and moving throughout all the rides.
“This is top-notch stuff,” Lampron said. “We (ADG) manufacture and install the water filtration system, which meets all health department codes.”
Lake Winnie, famous for its wooden cannonball roller coaster, will open in April as a dry park and begin training employees for the new water park in early May. The park will become both wet and dry fun for Memorial Day when both parks are available for $31.95 ($15.95 for children under two and seniors).