A new area water park is already a hit less than a month after it opened.
Surf Lagoon Water Park in Pooler officially opened May 23, and sales and marketing director Crystal Colson said that once school let out, the park started netting huge crowds.
“We start to peak out around noon,” she said of the daily crowds, which often are lined up by 10:30 a.m.
As soon as the gates opened on a recent day, the small trickle of 10-12 people started to grow. Children swam around Shore-break beach area and the splash zone called the Short-boarders. Families picked their lounge chairs and covered themselves with sunscreen, and the majority of the thrill-seekers headed to the back of the park, where the water slides stood ready for the crowd.
From Liberty County, the drive to the water park is 40 minutes, making it a quick and easy getaway.
“A good portion of our customers come from Hinesville and Fort Stewart,” Colson said, noting that military personnel and their children are offered discounted prices, as are senior citizens.
Colson said the park uses state-of-the-art technology, making it easier for visitors. A bracelet at admissions allows visitors to add money to it.
The visitors can use the bracelet to scan and open a locker and buy food at the park’s Gnarly Grill with just a scan of the wrist.
“There is no need to come to the locker and get your wallet,” Colson said. “Just add money to the bracelet and use it for purchases in the park.”
Shore-break Beach has plenty of lounge chairs for those looking to just catch a tan or dip their toes in the water. The Layback Lagoon lets visitors float away their cares along the 900-foot lazy river.
The Short-boarders splash zone is designated for children ages 2-7.
A playground surrounded by water, squirting fountains and slides will keep the younger kids busy for hours.
The slide at the back of the park has four separate tunnels. The Green Hurricane slide is for solo- or double-tube riders. The Slingshot shoots visitors through rushing water in complete darkness through the enclosed ride. The Fuchsia Fury is wide to allow body surfers to slide down furious water and waves. The Family Fun Tube Slide, the fourth slide offered at the park, allows for doubling up on the tubes.
All tubes and rafts are provided by the park; guests may not bring their own rafts or tubes, but may bring their own Coast Guard-approved floatation devices. These also provided by the park.
Colson advised that guests check the weather reports before coming to Surf Lagoon.
“When lightning strikes we have to get everyone out of the water and wait 30 minutes,” she said. “Each time we see lightning, we have to wait an additional 30 minutes … there are times when the weather forces us to close the park earlier than expected.”
Colson said safety is the first priority. Surf Lagoon has more than 20 specially trained lifeguards.
The park offers restrooms and dressing areas, lockers for rent, a gift store, cabanas for private rental and concessions. The picnic tables outside the main entrance can be used by guests who bring their own food and drink to the picnic area but not inside the park. Visitors can exit and re-enter the park the same day by getting their hand stamped prior to exiting the park.
“There is also a birthday-party room inside the gift store that can accommodate up to 20 children,” Colson said, adding that the park plans to add party-package opportunities for larger groups.
The birthday package currently offered is for parties of 10-20 children and includes park admission, 90 minutes in the party room, goody bags, locker rental, pizza slices, fountain drinks and paper goods. The birthday child receives a T-shirt, souvenir mug and a free return admission.
During the remainder of June and throughout July the park is open daily from 10:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.
From Aug. 1-5, the park will be open from 10:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. After Aug. 5, the park will be open only Saturdays and Sundays from
10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. On Sept. 5-7, the park will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. before closing for the season.