Pools find new ways to extend summer business

May 30, 2019

By Lauren Franken, for SiouxFalls.Business

As the city’s pools and Wild Water West begin another season, both have found small twists to their offerings to help bring in more summer visitors.

The outdoor swim season is fairly short – the city estimates 101 days – so finding other unique attractions can help offset that.

At Wild Water West, the staff has spent a majority of the off-season developing a plan for a campground, with the hope of extending the park’s revenue-generating season.

The campground will be south of the park’s paintball and volleyball areas. Land is being cleared for 30 spaces to hook up to electricity and water. If the weather cooperates for construction, the hope is to be fully functional in the next couple of years.

“The water in the park is only going from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but if we have campers that maybe start coming in April or May, then hopefully they’ll want to camp and come to the park,” said Brian Rehnke, director of operations.

“And when we drain pools after Labor Day, there’s still plenty of camping weather left.”

Long term, he said the goal is to offer more than 100 camping spaces with amenities such as bathrooms, showers, a convenience store and easy access to the park.

While the city of Sioux Falls didn’t add any attractions to its parks, it has found a fairly new addition creating demand during the summer.

The Midco Aquatic Center’s busiest months have turned out to be June and July, recreation coordinator Jean Pearson said. That’s when the city would have expected swimmers to opt for outdoor pools instead.

The city is bringing back its popular dive-in movies feature at the Laurel Oak Family Aquatic Center in southeast Sioux Falls, which Pearson said was a long-time draw.

“They’re a lot of fun because you get to be outside,” she said. “We do them here at the indoor pool too, but getting to be outside in the dark is a little different atmosphere.”

As Sioux Falls boasts an ever-increasing population, both entities are finding new ways to accommodate the growing needs of the community.

Rehnke said Wild Water West averages almost 7,500 season-pass sales per summer, and the land the water park owns is ripe for renovation to ensure the water park grows as the community does.

Along with the upcoming campground addition, there’s talk of an eventual new slide attraction, he said.

The city is in the process of drafting a master plan so parks, pools and community centers continue to accommodate Sioux Falls’ booming population.

As part of the plan, community members are being survey for what offerings they would like to see.

“It’s important for us to know what the community wants,” Pearson said. “Are we serving them the way that they deserve to be served?”

Pools find new ways to extend summer business

As the city’s pools and Wild Water West begin another season, both have found small twists to their offerings to help bring in more summer visitors.

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