New Competition for Local Water Park

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

Six Flags Incorporated announces plans to build a new water park in Gurnee. It will be home to the largest interactive waterplay structure in the world, but what will this news mean for Rockford's Magic Waters?

It's a new wave of competition for Magic Waters. Six Flag's Hurricane Harbor will boast 25 waterslides, a 500,000 gallon wave pool and the world's largest interactive waterplay structure.

It's not slated to open until spring 2005, but some Rockford residents are already talking about making a trip.

"Yeah, I'd like to check that out," says Mike Tarara.

"Yeah, me and my friends would definitely make the trip," says Ashley Asprooth, who adds she’d probably rather go there than Magic Waters.

Six Flags spokeswoman Michelle Hoffman says, “Six Flag’s Hurricane Harbor water park will transport guests to a Caribbean paradise. Again, it’s close to home and it will take a full day to experience,” says Hoffman.

Hoffman says Six Flags is hoping to draw customers from Milwaukee and Chicago as well as the Rockford area, which could mean fewer customers and less revenue for Magic Waters.

“The Lake County area, which is where Gurnee is located, hasn’t been a huge draw for participation at Magic Waters, but certainly any sort of competition is a little bit challenging for us,” says Jodi Carroll of the Rockford Park District.

The organization owns Magic Waters. Carroll believes Hurricane Harbor may actually increase business for the Rockford water park.

“We’re hoping people who haven’t tried water parks have a great experience at great America and then realize Magic Waters is right in their backyard and say we’d like to do a little more of this and come three or four times a week.”

Revenue for Magic Waters was down this year. Park officials blame it on bad weather. While they can't control that, they'll certainly be keeping Hurricane Harbor in mind as they begin planning for 2005.

Six Flags has not yet released pricing scales for the new water park. Carroll says that's an area where Magic Waters may be able to stay competitive.


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