Friday, September 22, 2017

Ocean Lakes water park to wrap up season; sets 2018 schedule

Our water park will wrap up its 2017 season at the end of September, capping its second year of providing fun and thrills for Ocean Lakes guests.

The Sandy Harbor Water Park, which has become one of our most popular amenities since its debut in May 2016, will shut down at the end of operation Sunday, Oct. 1 until next spring.

“Our guests have had a blast at Sandy Harbor this year,” said Morgan Blackmon, our Aquatics Supervisor. “Guests would spend all day racing down the slides or relaxing while floating along the lazy river – then come back the next day for more.”

The water park scaled back hours after Labor Day, when other area water attractions shut down for the year. But the Ocean Lakes team worked to extend our water park season beyond the traditional last hurrah of summer.

This is the second fall for our water park, and we set a consistent schedule after learning a year ago what works best for this new amenity.

“Last year was a trial run for everything,” Blackmon said. “We learned a lot from last year.”

The post-Labor Day hours:

Adventure (lazy) River and Splash Zone | 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day through Oct. 1
Drop Zone Mat Racer and The Tube slides (including the tube slides in the Splash Zone) | 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 1; closed on the weekdays
Outdoor pool | 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. It will be open into the fall until it is too chilly to swim.
Indoor pool | 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Open year round.

We let guests know well in advance about the planned fall schedule, posting it on our website, blog and social media.

But some guests still have had questions. We’ve answered a few of the most common ones here:

Why aren’t the slides open during the week?

The slides require additional lifeguards – mandated by state regulations – and certified lifeguards are hard to find after Labor Day. This includes the Drop Zone Mat Racer, The Tube and the slides in the Splash Zone.

Many of our lifeguards are teachers or students in high school or college who return to class and are no longer available to work after the summer. Our team has worked hard to recruit certified lifeguards into the fall. About 70 lifeguards worked the water park during the summer.

We cannot operate the slides without the lifeguards required by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. And we aren’t going to put our guests at risk by operating the slides without those lifeguards.

“That’s my biggest thing – safety,” Blackmon said.

Will the water park be open during Halloweekends?

No. By mid-October, it’s getting a bit chilly to splash around in the water. And there’s also the staffing dilemma; most of our lifeguards are high school and college students who have returned to class.

But there’s still plenty to do during our Halloweekends, including costume contests, trick or treating and site decorating competitions.

When will the pools close?

Our indoor pool is open year round. Our outdoor pool stays open until it’s too chilly to swim, which is usually some time in October.

When will the water park open in 2018?

The water park will open for Easter weekend March 30-April 1, then will shut down until May.

The rest of the 2018 schedule:

May 1 | Weekends only (Saturday and Sunday) with “hours as posted”

Memorial Day weekend – Labor Day | Open every day with summer hours

Post Labor Day | Open “hours as posted” through Sept. 30. The lazy river and Splash Zone will be open every day; the slides will be open Saturdays and Sundays only