Hawaiian Falls ready for rush

Posted Monday, May. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information HAWAIIAN FALLS WATER PARK MANSFIELD Location: 490 Heritage Parkway South, at Texas 360 Opening Date: May 25 at 10:30 a.m. Regular hours: 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday through Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday Daily adult admission: $26.99 for guests at least 48 inches tall. ($21.99 when purchased online) Daily child admission: $19.99 for guests less than 48 inches tall Season passes: $74.99, or $69.99 each when purchasing four or more Other ticket pricing and details are at www.hfalls.com/mansfield. Phone: (817) 853-0050

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After a record-setting season last year that including the debuts of three new rides, Mansfield’s Hawaiian Falls doesn’t appear to be resting on its laurels.

For its sixth season, which kicks off Saturday during the Memorial Day weekend, the water park will feature a new, 400-foot-long, winding tube slide called The Rush, like the one unveiled to much acclaim at the Garland Hawaiian Falls last year.

The ride at Mansfield was re-engineered from the existing purple slide on the main slide tower. It’s designed for two people on an inflatable raft and is enclosed and dark except for interior strobe lighting synced to the rhythm of music. Riders can choose from about 50 available songs, mostly contemporary with a few oldies included, officials said.

The music starts when the riding pair enters the tube, 60 feet above the ground, and a series of lights and speakers along the entire length of the tube keeps the beat, while a series of programmable water misters provide surprise sprays.

“It literally was the most popular ride at Garland last year,” said David Alvey, spokesman for the five-park Hawaiian Falls chain. “You could just walk up to the other slides and ride them, because everyone was in line to ride The Rush.”

The Garland Park credited the ride – it, too, was retrofitted from an existing slide, at a cost of $150,000 – for much of an 18 percent spike in attendance last summer. The number of patrons increased by 30,000, to a total of 196,000, compared with the 2011 season.

It wasn’t a complete surprise because of how well the ride tested with students during several preseason events for schools. Officials basked in the warm afterglow of social media chatter as students rated the experience on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

“It was a huge success,” said Clinton Hill, regional operations manager for the chain and manager of the Garland park.

The ride is a Hawaiian Falls creation, first conceived in November 2011, Hill said.

“We saw the different components – the lights and sound – at a trade show we go to every year,” he said. “We didn’t invent the lights or the sounds or the misters. However, putting all three of those components together – Hawaiian Falls did come up with that.”

The Mansfield park had its own boom season last year, when it became the first in the Hawaiian Falls chain to surpass 200,000 in admissions. It also opened two new rides and a $10,000-square-foot water playground with a $3 million investment.

The park counted 208,182 visitors last year, a 12 percent increase over the 2011 season. It also sold a record 12,638 season passes, a 15 percent increase.

But those records could be short-lived, Alvey said.

“Already we’ve had a 5 percent increase in season passes sales compared with the same period last year, and 15 percent more group bookings,” he said.

And according to an economic impact study commissioned by Hawaiian Falls for the Mansfield site, the benefits of the park extended well beyond its gates last year. The study conducted by Catalyst Commercial, a Texas retail consultant and marketing research firm, indicated:

34 percent of park guests came from outside a 15-mile radius.

Guests spent about $2.1 million on hotels in Mansfield and surrounding areas.

The park created 151 jobs outside the park, in addition to the 200 park employees.

“The Catalyst study confirms that investing in our community not only improves the quality of life for our residents,” Alvey said, “but it pays financial dividends for the city. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641 Twitter: @Kaddmann

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