New Owners Make Dramatic Point To End Parking Fees At Waterpark
April 16, 2014
From Michael Tomberlin, AL.com
BESSEMER, Alabama – Call it a “Crash!” adventure.
The new owners of Splash Adventure water and amusement park in Bessemer dramatically made the point that parking is now free by dropping a pay booth 50 feet to a thundering crash. Dan Koch, president of Splash Adventure, added the exclamation point by taking a sledgehammer to the rubble.
“I hate these things,” he yelled as he swung at the remains.
While there was plenty of showmanship and drama in the destruction, there was also an important point. “We want people to feel welcome,” Koch said in an interview. “Charging $8 to park doesn’t make people feel welcome.”
Past operators charged the separate fee for parking. They also charged for renting inner tubes for the rides.
The Koch family, which has operated other successful parks, did away with that when they bought Splash Adventure last month.“They don’t even charge for parking on a Monopoly board,” Koch said. “When you rent someone a motel room, you don’t charge them extra for the bed.” So dropping the parking pay booth from a large forklift and hitting it with a sledgehammer drove home the point.
The new Splash Adventure will offer free parking, free inner tubes, free wifi and even free sunscreen. Food and drink prices have also been lowered – some by as much as nearly 50 percent – all aimed at inviting families back this summer.
While the spotlight was on destruction in the park’s parking lot this morning, there is plenty of construction going on inside the park.
“Actually, we’re going to stop tearing things down and start putting stuff back up,” Koch said.
The Kochs are investing $7 million to purchase and improve the park in its opening season, part of a five-year plan to take the park to new heights. Koch said some of the new rides have arrived and are being installed. Others are on the way in. The popular Acapulco Drop water slide has been painted yellow, the Lazy River is being spruced up along with added landscaping throughout the park and new striping in the parking lot. Among the new attractions for 2014 are a new small rollercoaster for younger visitors, a new train for visitors to ride junior bumper boats, a mini helicopter ride, vintage boats, and a new laser maze challenge. Koch said nearly 300 young people have been hired to work at the park this summer. “What’s great about these kids in the South is they’re all so polite,” he said. “They say, ‘Yes, ma’am,’ ‘Yes, sir,’ ‘No ma’am,’ and ‘No, sir,’ without having to be taught.”
Koch said everything is on schedule for a May 17 opening.
For the full article and video of the parking booth destruction, CLICK HERE
Alabama Splash Adventure is Alabama’s premier destination for family fun. Located on the 20/59 at exit 110, just minutes from Birmingham and Hoover. Alabama Splash Adventure delivers wet and dry attractions including Castaway Island, Neptune’s Plunge, Wipeout Adventure Course, Wacky Worm Coaster and others. For more information on tickets, season passes and group outings, call 205-481-4750 or visit www.AlabamaSplash.com