, 2022-07-10 01:18:56,
FORT SMITH — Summer activities such as swimming are becoming extremely popular to stay cool with area temperatures expected to be in the high-90s and low 100s throughout the rest of the month.
Parrot Island Waterpark in Fort Smith opened for the 2022 season May 14, with operators expecting record attendance this year.
“It’s going great,” said Lauren Mathis, the water park’s director of sales and advertising. “This has been one of our best seasons yet. All the guests are loving the new additions to the season calendar, the live entertainment, the mermaids on the weekends, the fire shows at the dark waters.”
Parrot Island is jointly owned by the City of Fort Smith and Sebastian County, and operated by American Resort Management Inc. of Erie, Pa, who takes 5% of the gross income as compensation. The park cost roughly $9.8 million to build, and opened in 2015.
County Judge David Hudson told the county Quorum Court in a February meeting that the park saw a net gain of $285,070 in 2021. This was the result of the park taking in more than $1.8 million in revenue against more than $1.5 million in expenses. Parrot Island ended 2021 with a balance of $429,253.
Mathis said Thursday the park hasn’t seen a rise in attendance due to the weather yet, but employees are taking measures to ensure everyone is hydrated, wearing sunscreen and staying cool.
“I feel like it’s really a destination that we have here in Fort Smith,” Mathis said. “We have our concession stand, we have ice cream, we have entertainment, we have a Flow Rider that’s the only one in the region, we have something for everyone, essentially. So it’s an all around fun place to be during the summer.”
The outdoor water park features the region’s only two-person tube slide; a wave pool and lazy river; along with four twisting and turning water slides; an activity pool; and a themed children’s aquatic play area. It also has a variety of amenities including party pavilions, cabana rentals, food and beverage concessions, 800 deck and lounge chairs, over 250 water tubes and expansive grass lawns for relaxing.
This year will also be the first full season for the O’Hana Highway Tube Slide. At nearly 40 feet tall, the open flume slide sends riders sloshing high up the sides while being swung through three 360-degree turns. It can be ridden by individuals or pairs.
“It’s been very popular,” Mathis said.
The water park’s location at Ben Geren Park means visitors are also close to miniature golf, go-karts, playground…
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