There are just days left for a final dip at America’s first water park.
Universal Studios is closing Wet ‘n Wild Dec. 31 and replacing it with a state-of-the-art water park, Volcano Bay, which is scheduled to open next summer.
There’s only three weeks left to slide down the Bomb Bay, float through the lazy river or let the kids play at Blastaway Beach. Florida residents can purchase a $39.99 ticket that will provide admission to Wet ‘n Wild every day through the end of the year.
The iconic water park was the brainchild of SeaWorld creator George Millay. It opened on a rainy March 13, 1977, and suffered a $600,000 loss during its first year of operation but Millay claimed it started making money the next year and never stopped. Its success spawned several other Wet ‘n Wild-branded parks across the Americas.
In 1998, SeaWorld sold the park to Universal Studios Recreation Group, which leased the land to Universal until 2013 when they purchased the 52 acres for $30.9 million.
During its heyday, Wet ‘n Wild was the prototype water park other theme parks copied. It was the 10th-busiest water park in the world with 1.3 million guests in 2014. But it was the fourth-busiest water park in the Orlando market, lagging behind Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, both of which topped the 2 million mark, and SeaWorld’s Aquatica, which attracted 1.6 million people, according to the Themed Entertainment Association.
Employees at Wet ‘n Wild will be offered jobs at Universal Orlando and its next generation water park, Volcano Bay.
Universal began selling tickets to Volcano Bay last month. The 30-acre water park will feature a combination roller coaster and aqua adventure called Krakatau Aqua Coaster. It will also have a multi-directional wave pool, a winding river, twisting raft rides and body slides that drop from the top of the centerpiece volcano.
Universal has not released plans on how the Wet ‘n Wild property will be used but some speculate that hotels will be built on the International Drive land. Universal officials have said they aim to triple the number of hotel rooms they have in Orlando.