Wilderness Resorts – ownership group of Soaky Mountain Waterpark, wanted to build a $90m state-of-the-art, 50-acre outdoor ‘modern-mountain’ waterpark featuring the most cutting-edge attractions in the industry.
The Soaky Mountain team originally considered a Summer 2021 opening date, but the ADG team knew that we had the capability to get them open a season earlier. To do this, ADG took on the role of design/builder and construction manager of the project, seeing the project through from concept through construction, meeting their budget, and beating their original timeframe.
There were several challenges that were faced and overcame throughout this project:
- The Site/Geology: From the entry point to the furthest part of the waterpark, there was 100 ft of elevation change and the site was composed primarily of shale rock. ADG’s construction team had to blast and move 750,000 yards of earth before work on the water park could even begin. A key objective in ADG’s design was to preserve and showcase the unique elevation grade as much as possible, creating a unique “modern-mountain” landscape that allowed them to creatively design the amenities and attractions into the elevation versus just flattening it out.
- Weather: Throughout construction there were 60-days of complete washout days, meaning construction crews were unable to use heavy machinery for two full months of project construction.
- Pandemic: Overcoming unknown/unprecedented obstacles of constructing a waterpark during a worldwide pandemic.
The water rides and attractions at Soaky Mountain feature the very latest in ride innovation across all ride categories. At 50-acres, it is the largest waterpark opening in the US in 2020.
“The exciting thing about the attractions in this park is that most of the rides have innovative combinations of features or are hybrid dual-functioning rides, creating a truly unique and unexpected ride experience,” says Jim Dunn, President of Aquatic Development Group.
A surprise around every turn, Soaky Mountain waterpark takes all the classic waterpark rides you think you know – and makes them better.
Beyond the ride mix, the park also features a “mountain modern” design which truly sets this waterpark apart from all others in the industry. From the design and architecture and buildings to the multitude of unique F&B outlets located throughout the park, this modern flair, combined with a natural mountain vibe, was the perfect showcase for a water park situated only a few miles from the Smoky Mountains.
Aquatic Development Group was the designer and builder of all water features in the park. Some of the main highlighted attractions include a 35,000 square foot wave pool capable of generating waves up to 6 feet high, and ADG’s Tidal River Ride spanning over 24,000 square feet with 3’ “Tidal Wave” roller waves. Both attractions were designed by ADG and are powered by ADG’s WaveTek® wave systems.
ADG also designed/supplied a dual-Wibit® inflatable water obstacle course, an adult cabana pool, and a double FlowRider®.
ProSlide developed an innovative slide package for Soaky Mountain waterpark that featured several industry-first slides that were suitable to be constructed into the topography of the property.
The biggest asset of this project was the ability to get the project open a year earlier than the ownership group was aiming for.
“Designing and building a full outdoor waterpark in one year is definitely a challenge,” says Dunn, “but with our InDepth planning and design, and our in-house project management, manufacturing, and construction team, we can start a project by hitting the ground running, making the necessary on-the-spot decisions that will lead to achieving the owner’s goals, meeting the budget, and getting the park open on time. Getting a waterpark open a season earlier than anticipated results in a significant financial return for the developer and ownership group of the property”.
Regardless of the environmental conditions, site complications, or unprecedented circumstances, ADG completed Soaky Mountain with a build time of 8 months, a feat that we are incredibly proud of, and one that is simply not doable by any other company in the industry.