The Splash City Family Waterpark is scheduled to open for its 16th season Saturday and hopes to have a new water feature up and running in July.
Last year, 57,549 people passed through the gates of Splash City Family Waterpark in Collinsville, compared with 66,859 who entered the park in 2011.
Attendance depends on the weather, and that can fluctuate as often as the heat and humidity in the reason fluctuates.
The water park at 10 Gateway Drive in Eastport Plaza in Collinsville is operated by the tax-supported Collinsville Area Recreation District. It has operated in the black for the past two years, according to C.A.R.D. spokeswoman Elizabeth Davis.
"We're hoping the weather will cooperate," said the waterpark's aquatic supervisor Karl Schmidt. "We're ready and we want to be able to kick this season off with a great crowd on opening weekend."
C.A.R.D. is Collinsville's municipal park district. The taxing district was created to acquire, maintain, and operate the parks and activities within the district and those within the district pay a separate tax to C.A.R.D. In April, voters passed three referendums that will reduce the percentage of taxes collected by the district and reduce C.A.R.D.'s annual budget by more than $250,000, beginning next year.
The district is governed by an unpaid board of five elected commissioners who serve six-year terms.
Last season the park's revenue was $621,303 and expenses were $619,080, so the park was self-supporting. It employs around 155 people every season, from lifeguards to front gate personnel to guest services and maintenance staff.
The new water feature, called the AquaClimb, is a 12-foot-tall climbing wall that will be installed at the deep end of the waterpark's lap pool. Swimmers will be able to climb the wall and jump off into the water from various heights.
"Those feeling adventurous can climb the wall and then fall into the water below," Davis said. "This new feature is great for kids or adults, and we're sure those who love the challenge of surfing on our FlowRider will enjoy AquaClimb just as much."
For the first time ever, the waterpark will participate in the World's Largest Swimming Lesson at 10 a.m. June 18. Public and private pools worldwide will conduct a swim lesson simultaneously and try to set a new Guinness World Record.
"Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14," Schmidt said. "This free event helps educate the public while making history."
The event is free with the purchase of a daily admission ticket. Attendees must pre-register for the swim lesson by calling 346-7529. General admission is $13 for children up to age 16, $16 for adults and $12 for seniors. Residents of the Collinsville Area Recreation District pay $8 for children, $11 for adults and $7 for seniors. Admission is $5 less after 4 p.m. daily.
Splash City is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, with Family Fun Nights until 9 p.m. on Tuesdays starting May 28.
For more information about Splash City, call 346-4571.