IN Millcreek Summer 2017 - Page 45

T wo summers ago Erie was swept away by the addition of the 467,200-gallon wave pool at Waldameer’s Water World. Last summer kids went crazy for the amazing slides in the newly created Kidz Zone. This summer, Waldameer visitors are in for another new wet and wild attraction— Battle of Lake Erie interactive play structure. The 40-feet-high, water-based jungle gym is part of Phase III of the park’s expansion of Water World and includes seven slides, 103 play features like paddle wheels, fountains and sprays, and a 400-gallon tipping bucket, all situated over a six-inch wading pool. It’s located between the Kidz Zone and wave pool in the water park and, unlike the Kidz Zone, there are no height restrictions or age limitations. The water play area is open to all ages. “There are similar water features at parks around the world and most are pirate ships. We decided to design ours after the Flagship Niagara and to theme it with the Battle of Lake Erie,” says Josh Gorman, President of Waldameer Park and Water World. He adds that the attraction is linked to local history and Erie’s role in the Battle of 1812. Throughout the Battle of Lake Erie Play Area are audio messages that tell the history of Erie’s participation in the war and encourage Waldameer guests to visit the real U.S. Brig Niagara at Maritime Museum. Phase I and Phase II of the expansion increased visitors at Water World and Gorman expects Phase III to cause another bump this summer if Erie has good weather. The wave pool alone gave the park a 30 percent increase two years ago. Last year, small kids and parents alike were delighted by the addition of seven mini water slides and expansive splash pad of the Kidz Zone for children under 4 feet in height. Also appearing on the Water World scene last year were 12 cabanas around the wave pool for rent. Gorman says that on most sunny days the cabanas sold out and this summer construction crews are adding a few more, along with additional lockers. On the non-water side, Waldameer Park added a laser maze challenge called “The Vault,” located on the midway, for the game-loving crowd. Waldameer has plans to advertise the new Water World attractions outside of Erie, especially in Cleveland and northeast Ohio, to entice more travelers to the area. Expansion and upgrade plans don’t stop with this year’s new blockbuster water addition, though. “We already have plans for summer 2018, and this is the first year we’ve made solid plans in advance. We put a down payment on a balloon ride that will be added to Kiddyland,” says Gorman. The amusement park also has invested in a new adult water slide, which is currently in the design process. The goal is to have all the plans finished this fall so construction can begin in the spring. Water World has undergone a water revival over the past few seasons, with new kids’ water slides and an epic wave pool. The coming Battle of Lake Erie Play Area should prove to round out the trifecta of the Water World makeover. n Millcreek | Summer 2017 | 43