FOLEY - Driving on the Foley Beach Express, you’ll notice the large structure coming along next to The Park at OWA. The building sits next to the Mystic Mansion ride. Glass panels of various shades …
FOLEY - Driving on the Foley Beach Express, you’ll notice the large structure coming along next to The Park at OWA. The building sits next to the Mystic Mansion ride. Glass panels of various shades of blue glitter in the sun. Passersby may wonder what the project is, and when they can expect to see it open.
That building is the future home of OWA’s indoor water park, expected to open spring 2022. The wall facing an outdoor wave pool will be on a sliding track, allowing it to open and let the breeze in. The roof of the building will be 90 percent retractable, allowing guests to enjoy the coastal sunshine and blue skies on clear days. On those days when the sun is unbearably hot or storm clouds threaten to invade summer fun, the roof can be closed. Gazing at the blue glass above, guests can get the feel of an outdoor adventure while being safe inside, continuing their fun.
“In addition to the indoor waterpark, we’ll have the outdoor wave pool that will have the surf simulator within it, there will be an outdoor tiki bar and a large stage where we can hold concerts and dive-in movies as well as a lot of other interactive entertainment,” said Kristin Hellmich, director of marketing/public relations at OWA. “Within the indoor water park we will have multiple slides that will come off the slide tower, and one of those slides is actually going to drop down through our basement. We’ll have a food and beverage location, tiki bars, the full experience.”
The entire expansion is approximately $70 million. The shell of the indoor water park alone is roughly $10 million.
“This is extremely unique for our area, the next closest structure like this is in Texas, so along Coastal Alabama, nothing like it, along the Gulf Coast, nothing like it,” Hellmich said. “This will definitely bring a new element of indoor attractions to the area for guests to experience. Be it a weather situation or cold, they can come in and be able to experience this. Or if they want to get out of the sun a little bit during the summer, this gives them another option as well.”
Ticket prices for the water park at OWA have not yet been released. Hellmich said the team is working on package deals and ticket prices, which will be announced at a later date. As construction continues, the exact opening date will be narrowed down, she says.
When asked how well-equipped the mainly glass structure is to withstand bad weather, Hellmich said the designers had taken safety measures into consideration when designing the building.
“It was evaluated the same as it was with the construction of the whole property,” she said. “All of this is built to standards with the local and state levels, and we follow those, we work closely with those partners to ensure that we are on-point with the safety standards and that we’re prepared to be able to take on any kind of storm that may come our way. This building actually went through Hurricane Sally and didn’t have any issues with it, so we don’t anticipate any problems.”
Those who want to make a splash at OWA this summer don’t have to wait for the water park to open in 2022. If you head towards the island located in the middle of OWA lake, you’ll find the brand-new Aqua Play open and ready for action. The Aqua Play, by Union AquaParks, offers two inflatable obstacle courses on the lake. One is designed for younger guests and the other for teenage and adult guests. You’re able to test your versatility as you try to race across the slippery obstacles.
Also opening soon will be the new Wake Park, offering guests the opportunity to wakeboard, wakeskate, kneeboard, water ski, or go tubing across the lake at OWA. The system uses an overhead cable that spans over 700 feet with a carrier to pull riders across the lake by rope and handle. The new attraction is operated by local professional wakeboarder T.J. Allen and his wife Caitlin. The new experience will be open soon.
“I think that the concept here is always expanding and growing, and I think that ultimately our goal is to build a complete resort destination,” Hellmich said. “We have over 520 acres here, so these are amenities that we’re going to continue to add as we get feedback from our guests. They’re constantly sharing what they like, they’re sharing their interests … We’re definitely working to get [the water park] completed, but I think we’ll see more exciting things in the future for OWA as well.”
To learn about current and future attractions, hours, and pricing, check out https://visitowa.com.