As Hawaiian Falls Waterpark gets ready to dive into its 10th summer in Mansfield, park and city officials are assessing the past decade and the next three to come.
The water park opened May 22, 2008, adjacent to Big League Dreams sports park and Mansfield National Golf Course off Texas 360. The $9.9 million park was built on 13 acres through a 40-year public-private partnership, with the city owning the park and Hawaiian Falls managing it. In 2004, voters approved $5.1 million for an aquatic center, then the Mansfield Parks Facilities Development Corporation contributed $2.8 million for half-cent sales tax revenue and Hawaiian Falls kicked in $2 million to pay for the Mansfield facility.
“We’re in absolutely the right location, the right city, absolutely the best,” said Clint Hill, president of Hawaiian Falls. “We’re really excited to go into our 10th summer. We love that partnership and the city of Mansfield.”
In the past decade, Hawaiian Falls has had a ride as wild as any in the Mansfield water park, most of them linked to the weather. There’s been years they have waded through weeks of pouring rain and steaming hot summers when people lined up to dive in.
“Last year was a strong summer,” Hill said. “Then we ran in to August, the wettest August in 15 years. When you have a 100-day business, it’s tough when you have 30 days that are wet. It makes for a rough finish.”
This summer the park is planning some special theme days and some special guests. Spider-Man is expected to cast his web this way, and pirates will also ship in for a treasure hunt. The park will celebrate National Flip Flop Day on June 16 with a discount for donating shoes or flip flops and National Ice Cream Day on July 16 with free ice cream.
“This summer is going to be the summer of awesome,” Hill said. “There will be a lot of fun things - fireworks, dive-in movies and going down the slides at night.”
Hawaiian Falls hopes to add some new attractions this fall, and it could be something really interesting.
“Our industry is pushing the boundaries of technology with virtual reality on water slides,” Hill said. “That’s what we’re targeting. There’s not currently anything like that in Dallas/Fort Worth.”
Matt Young, the city’s director of parks and recreation, says that virtual reality could make the water slides even more entertaining.
“At the top of the slide, you could choose whether you’re going to see dragons or a tunnel,” he said. “It’s one of the things happening in the water park industry.”
And adding new features has proven to make the popular water park an even bigger draw.
In 2012, Mansfield’s Hawaiian Falls became the first of the company’s five water parks to top 200,000 admissions in a single summer.
That’s also the year the park added $3 million in new features, including Splash Water Harbor, a zero-depth entry pool for younger visitors with things to climb on; a Boomerango, a half-pipe multi-person ride; and a Master Blaster, a two-person uphill water slide. The city paid for the improvements with Hawaiian Falls repaying its share over the next 30 years of the park’s lease. The park also added $1 million in improvements in 2010 with the addition of the Torpedo and shade areas. In 2013, the park re-engineered a slide to create the 400-foot-long, winding tube slide called The Rush.
The Mansfield park has 11 rides, including a lazy river and wave pool, plus a gift shop, concessions and cabanas.
“We want to continue to grow the facility, continue to put attractions in that park that fit our families,” Hill said. “We are extremely happy with the growth that is taking place. It is exactly what we thought it would be when we signed up 10 years ago.”
The city, which receives a percentage of the park’s gross income, is also satisfied with the partnership, Young said. Last year, the city’s share was $160,000, he said.
“We get a first-class water park in our own backyard and also attract people from other communities who go shopping and dining in other Mansfield businesses,” Young said.
This article contains information from News-Mirror archives.
Hawaiian Falls Waterpark
490 Heritage Parkway South
Open May 27-Sept. 5