Two new rides are opening this year at The Beach, which will be the waterpark’s second season under new ownership.
One ride is a two-person zipline featuring a 600-foot drop over the wave pool, said Ralph Vilardo Jr., The Beach’s general manager.
The second is a more than 400-foot long, four-lane mat racer ride. Riders will float headfirst on a foam rubber mat with two handles through a series of twists and turns.
Park operator Adventure Landing is investing approximately $1.5 million in the new attractions and to open a new in-park restaurant in remodeled space. Beachcomber Café also opens this season, selling sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas and other fare, the manager said.
The Beach, known for its heated wave pool with ocean-like crashing waves and sand beach, opens for the 2014 season on May 17.
“We want to reassure our customers, both new and old, that The Beach is back, it’s bigger and better than ever. It still has real sand, real surf, real palm trees and it’s going to have real new rides,” Vilardo said.
Jacksonville Beach, Fla.-based Adventure Holdings LLC, which operates 18 entertainment facilities in multiple states, bought the Warren County waterpark, located at 2590 Waterpark Drive in Mason, in 2012.
The Beach was abruptly closed before that, shuttered during the 2012 season. At the time, the former owners cited low attendance, the poor economy and competition as the reasons to shutdown.
Adventure Holdings spent $5 million on improvements to re-open the park in 2013.
The new owners have a three-year plan for making park enhancements, Vilardo said. The first year under the new owner, 2013, suffered from an unseasonably cool summer. Forty-two days in the 109-day operating season were cooler than normal or it rained. Attendance averaged 2,500 visitors a day.
“We opened with big fanfare, lots of new rides, lots of new excitement and Mother Nature was not the kindest to me,” Vilardo said.
However, “we knew that it wasn’t going to be an overnight thing,” he said. “Also because of the improvements we wanted to do, we knew we couldn’t do it all in one year. We continue to add two new rides and basically to reassure our customers we’re going to be here for the long run.”
Visitors this year will notice a growing hill at the park not there before; future plans are to open an 8- to 10-lane snow tubing hill in November 2014.
The Beach Waterpark first opened in 1985 on 35 acres in Mason.
Mason is also home to amusement park Kings Island, which has the waterpark Soak City. Kings Island, visible from The Beach property, invested $10 million to expand Soak City in 2012.
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