NRH20 Family Water Park will be transformed into more of a theme park beginning this summer, with colorful characters designed to help create a cohesive focus at one of Tarrant County’s oldest water parks.
Current characters Professor Frogstein and his nemesis, Dr. Unfun, will “retire.” New characters Bounder, twins Eb and Flo, and a cast of friends will take over the park’s promotion duties.
Attendance at NRH20 has remained steady in recent years at 240,000 to 245,000 visitors a year, park general manager Frank Perez said. To help create better visibility, NRH20 hired Toronto-based FORREC at a cost of $80,000 to help officials rebrand the water park as it enters its 22nd season.
When NRH20 opened in 1995, other area cities had swimming pools, if they had anything at all. Hurst opened the Chisholm and Central aquatic centers over the next two years, followed by Bedford Splash in Bedford a few years later. These centers also offer water slides and activities, though not to the extent of NRH20.
Commercial water parks and LEGOLAND Discovery Center, SEA LIFE aquarium and Main Event in Grapevine, Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, the Fort Worth Zoo and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History also compete for the family dollar.
“It’s important to stand out,” FORREC’s Chris Arnold told the City Council at a recent meeting. “Things that are cookie-cutter are not really accepted and recognized, and they’re not memorable. The consumer needs to be able to relate to it.”
NRH20 will follow through with FORREC’s recommendation to create a storyline that introduces a new generation of characters, which will be centered on Texas lakes and rivers.
Bounder — Dr. Frogstein’s son — will be the park’s new hero. He has a pal, Chipper, a beaver. They and other characters must contend with Dr. Unfun’s mischievous niece and nephew, Eb and Flo. Sharkey’s — the name for the concession area — will go away to make way for a new proprietor, Al Gator.
“We like to think Sharkey is now retired and sold his shop and gone back to the ocean,” Arnold said.
Visitors will likely see the rebranding evolve this summer and in future years with a redesigned entrance, new store signs and characters pointing the way to rides.
Perez said he does not know what the rebranding cost will total, or the timeline for the transformation. But NRH20 will pay the consulting fee and rebranding costs from its own funds. No city money will be spent, Perez said.
“NRH2O is self-sufficient and always pays for everything it does on its own,” he wrote in an email.
Other projects include a new $2.8 million slide complex that will be added to the park this summer.
The original body slide tower with the three body slides attached will be replaced with a new, taller, multilevel tower that initially will have four slides attached.
Two more slides will be added in a few years, Perez said. The initial four slides will include two body slides, a bowl slide and a flat-line loop slide that starts out as a launch capsule where the floor will drop outbefore participants start sliding.