wet 'n wild closing

Wet ‘n Wild Orlando Closing: America’s First Water Park Turns Off The Faucets

Wet ‘n’ Wild Orlando is closing in 2016.

The Florida amusement park opened in 1977 and is regarded as one of the first water parks in the country. Universal Orlando Resort, which owns Wet ‘n Wild, is planning to build a new water park called Volcano Bay to fill the void. The new park will be situated on about 53 acres near the Cabana Bay Beach Resort on Universal Orlando property.

“After almost 40 years, Wet ‘n’ Wild Orlando will be permanently closing on December 31, 2016. Check out the Universal Orlando Resort blog for a thank you to our fans for all of the countless memories,” a post on the Wet ‘n Wild Facebook page said.

Wet ‘n Wild was the 10th busiest water park in the world with 1.3 million visitors a year, according to the Themed Entertainment Association. The Orlando water park reportedly became only the fourth busiest in the Orlando area, in recent years. Both Blizzard Beach and Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon reportedly boasted more than two million visitors last year. SeaWorld’s Aquatica, which attracted 1.6 million people.

“Wet ‘n Wild Orlando has been a place where guests have created wonderful memories,” Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Schroder said. “As America’s first water park, Wet ‘n Wild has been the birthplace of numerous innovations that are now considered a common part of the water park experience.”

Excerpt from a Volcano Bay water park announcement by Universal Orlando Resort:

“It will offer radically innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation and an inspired guest experience that will forever change the perception of water theme parks. It will be set in a highly themed, completely immersive environment inspired by postcard-perfect tropical islands. And it will be the kind of special place that only the Universal team — the same team that has changed the face of Universal Orlando Resort in recent years — can envision and create.”

A rendering of Volcano Bay highlights a massive “volcano ” structure with a landscaped with a walkway, water slides, rapids ride, lazy river, and a waterfall. Once plans were set in motion to build Volcano Bay, the fate of Wet ‘n Wild appeared gloomy, according to Orlando Weekly’s Seth Kubersky. “It makes sense that they wouldn’t want to compete with themselves by having two similar parks so close to each other, and Wet ‘n Wild has long had a reputation for marginal customer service.”

The space where Wet ‘n Wild is located could ultimately become new hotel space.

Have you ever been to Orlando Wet ‘n Wild water park?

[Image via: Facebook]