Despite delay, work continues on Southern Nevada’s second water park

Cowabunga Bay developer Shane Huish speaks during the groundbreaking for the Cowabunga Bay water park Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 in Henderson. The 23-acre water park, located at Gibson Rd. and Galleria Dr., is slated to open in the summer of 2013.

Cowabunga Bay Groundbreaking

Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen is framed by a model of a water slide while speaking during the groundbreaking for the Cowabunga Bay water park Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 in Henderson. The 23-acre water park, located at Gibson Rd. and Galleria Dr., is slated to open in the summer of 2013. Launch slideshow »

The developers of Southern Nevada’s “other” water park — Henderson’s Cowabunga Bay near the Galleria at Sunset mall — say most of their slides have arrived, and they still plan a spring 2014 opening.

Shawn Hassett, developer of the 22-acre park at Galleria Drive and Gibson Road, said the company has had a skeleton crew on site for the past three weeks to receive about 85 percent of the tubes and chutes for the park, which originally was scheduled to open this Memorial Day weekend.

In April, the company announced the opening would be delayed after workers confronted caliche 15 feet underground. Caliche is a concrete-like mix of hardened calcium carbonate, gravel, sand, clay and silt that makes digging difficult.

The park was half complete at the time, general manager Shane Huish said.

“Originally, I was really disappointed, but now I view it as a blessing in disguise,” Hassett said. “We’ve had the opportunity to see what Wet ‘n’ Wild is doing and learn from them.”

Wet ‘n’ Wild opened in southwest Las Vegas in late May. It has been extremely successful so far — so much so that large crowds created parking problems and long lines. To help alleviate the issues, the park expanded its hours.

Wet ‘n’ Wild’s early success bolsters Hassett’s belief that there’s room for more than one water park in Southern Nevada.

“It has done nothing but reinforce what we already suspected: that the market here is as strong, if not stronger, than we thought,” he said.

Also delaying Cowabunga Bay's opening was a slide delivery delay.

But in the past few weeks, several slides, including a first-of-its-kind "Wild Surf" ride, arrived in bubble wrap and plastic foam. Hassett said construction will crank up in September, giving the company plenty of time to prepare for a full 2014 season. He said the water park likely will open around spring break and be open only on weekends until school lets out. Then, it will open daily.

Construction began on the $23 million, '60s beach-themed park in December. Plans call for a 33,000-square-foot wave pool, several clusters of slides, a lazy river and a multi-lane racing slide that will send riders on a 55-foot headfirst plunge into a pool.

Wild Surf is expected to be Cowabunga’s signature attraction. Four riders will cling to a tube and be thrust from 50 feet in the air into the world’s largest manmade wave.

Hassett said there’s room to expand, and the company is considering adding another attraction to the mix.

“I thought that after the delay, my summer would be more relaxed,” Hassett said. “But as it turned out, it’s still super busy.”

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