- Developer GT Operating Company broke ground on a 40-acre, Houston-area water park, the first phase of the $2 billion Grand Texas theme park, according to Community Impact Newspaper.
- The Big Rivers Waterpark in New Caney, TX, will include slides, raft rides, a wave pool a splash pad and a lazy river, all of which should open by Memorial Day. Construction on the next phases of the 632-acre amusement park is scheduled to begin after Big Rivers' first successful season.
- The estimated construction timeline for the entire park is two years, and the company has completed $9 million of infrastructure work around the site. The park was originally supposed to open this past summer, but GT officials said the original lender pulled out and a down oil-and-gas market made it harder to find investors.
Water-based amusements and features are popping up around the country as a way to draw family entertainment dollars, even when the businesses are not traditionally family-oriented.
For example, in April, Wynn Resorts announced it would move forward with the $1.5 billion Paradise Park, a resort that the company will build next to its casino in Las Vegas. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn said the company wanted to attract families and not just gamblers with the new development, which will include a 20-acre lagoon and white-sand beachfront, a boardwalk and cabanas.
The First Light Resort & Casino, which is trying to secure the final authorizations necessary for it to start construction on its $600 million to $1 billion project, according to the Cape Cod Times, will feature a 25,000-square-foot water park as part of its effort to appeal to families, thereby drawing in the adults to its other gaming and entertainment venues.
R&R Development Group of Ventnor, NJ, was willing to forego the gaming aspect of its project when it tried to buy the former Atlantic Club casino and turn it into a family-friendly indoor water park and resort. According to The Press of Atlantic City, however, the deal fell through when R&R could not secure the necessary financing.