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The Tampa Tribune (Florida)

Schlitterbahn Waterparks plans to turn a past field of dreams into rivers of fun.

More than twice the size of Rapids Water Park in Riviera Beach, the planned water park features an interconnected system of rivers and rides that visitors can enjoy without ever getting out of their inner tubes.

It's family friendly, with plenty of attractions for younger children, no parking fees and no rental charges for inner tubes, life jackets or the use of picnic tables.

Visitors can pack a cooler and bring their own lunch into the park.

Schlitterbahn is German for slippery road, and the company hopes to attract South Florida tourists to the onetime spring training site of the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.

Fort Lauderdale has so much to offer, said Gary Henry, whose family owns the business.

My goal is for that visitor to stay an extra day or come from a little bit further away.

The water park probably won't open until at least 2017.

The park's river system, called transportainment, blasts riders on conveyor belts through uphill watercoasters, allows them to float through lazy sections and rapids, and offers detours through thrilling chute rides.

There's more than water adventures at the park. Plans also include Treehaus luxury suites that will rise around the perimeter.

From the outside, the lodgings look like a treehouse some kids might have put together, but have deluxe interiors.

A three-bedroom suite with pull-out couch in the living room could accommodate as many as 12 people and run $1,000 a night during peak season, Henry said.

The cost of a one-day, full-price adult admission will be about $50.

The site covers about 64 acres a half-mile west of Interstate 95 between Commercial Boulevard and Cypress Creek Road, including the old Fort Lauderdale Stadium and Lockhart Stadium, the home of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers professional soccer team.

The $50 million first phase is construction of the water park at the northern end of the property.

Portions of Fort Lauderdale Stadium will be left standing to form a castle-like entrance to the water park. It will have restrooms, dining areas and shops.


May 25, 2014


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