A Day at the (Zoombezi) Bay article

Friday, August 15, 2008 8:49 PM
There was a great article in the Columbus Dispatch on Saturday August 9 about Zoombezi Bay, the Columbus Zoo's new waterpark. "First-season attendace has averaged about 4,000 on weekdays and 8,000 on weekends." On Saturday Aug 2nd the park hit 10,700 visitors. pretty amazing for a waterpark. The line for Cyclone (tornado slide) was 90 minutes long. Croctail creek was a 21 and over only lazy river but that was quickly dropped due to the size of the crowds. Also turns out that plans to rebuild the former Shark Attack slide and a FlowRider fell through for this season. This makes me question why they didn't buld the park with capacity in mind. Example: the Dolphin Dash racing slide has only 6 lanes when they should have built 8 or 10 or more.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008 9:42 AM
john peck's avatar Wyandot Lake used to be very popular as well, there was no doubt in my mind that ZB would be received well. The Park was designed with better capacity in mind, but it was a budgeting issue that allowed for them to cut out a few key attractions.

The wife and I both bought season passes and we have gone about 4 or 5 times already and we have come to find out that if we are not there very early in the day, we are stuck with terrible lines.

I hope we see some more rides put in. We were supposed to have a Ferris Wheel and Disco/Spinning Coaster but those got cut as well.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008 10:45 AM
Earlier in the season, while on the job, I did a quick tour of the park on a very busy day. While a nice enough place, I was dismayed over what were obvious shortcomings in style and capacity. The most noticible thing is the lack of trees and/or landscaping. Wyandot Lake grew out of the older Zoo Park, and while the water side was fairly open, the dry side at least had the older, larger trees to cover the midways, rides, and picnic areas. For ZB they switched the locations of the water and dry rides, built a new road, and completely leveled the place, eliminating all trees. You cross over a bridge to get from Jungle Jacks to the water park, and I was surprised to find that the new lazy river passed under the bridge. It looked so awful, like the riders were swimming down a drainage ditch- pitiful, tiny trees, if any, and no flowers or anything to make the area more attractive. The rides looked ok, but the design apparently changed from a cool jungle look to standard towers and stairs along the way.

The dry side had ok rides, but with the lack of atmosphere they looked so rag-tag, almost like a carnival midway.

On the upside (for them) the place was very busy, but the beautiful new entrance plaza seemed ill equipped to handle the huge crowds, and families were getting grouchy waiting in long lines just to get in. Busy is good, and a well attended season might provide the revenue to go ahead with planned expansion.

I guess I should keep in mind that ZB is an extention of the Columbus Zoo, and zoos are always watching their budget. (A friend who worked there in a top position clams they are downright tight.) So rather than expecting Busch Gardens, I guess I should be grateful that they spent any money at all to provide the central Ohio market with a much needed local attraction. And hopefully we'll live long enough to see ZB flourish into a well established amusement and water park, with the polished look that the Columbus Zoo is known for.

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