Famous Dave's founder opens indoor water park resort in Gurnee

Posted Monday, February 25, 2008 9:59 AM | Contributed by Jeff

"Famous Dave" Anderson hopes for big crowds at his $135 million KeyLime Cove, a 400-room water park resort that opens Friday. KeyLime Cove is just off I-94 in Gurnee, Ill., about halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago, and will likely pull residents from both areas who would otherwise drive to the Dells. The resort will offer a different product from Great Wolf, Kalahari resort and other major water park resorts in the Dells.

Read more from The Journal Sentinel.

Monday, February 25, 2008 10:22 AM
Diversifying his investments?
Monday, February 25, 2008 12:51 PM
The only differences I can see is that it's smaller than the big Dell's resorts and that it's closer to Chicago.
Monday, February 25, 2008 1:35 PM
Jeff's avatar Between this and the recent addition of a water park at SFGAm, I wonder what the overall impact on the Dells is in terms of attracting Chicago traffic.
Monday, February 25, 2008 2:41 PM
WildStangAlex's avatar I'm relatively sure there is no impact at all. In my opinion the two destinations are entirely different. SFGAm has a great park and water park, but other than SFGAm, Key Lime and Gurnee Mills, there is nothing at all to do in Gurnee. The Wisconsin Dells offer natural Beauty, endless mini golf, museums, river boats, extensive souvenir shopping, a bit of nightlife, a plethora of golfing opportunities, many high-class vacation resorts, including Ho-Chunk which features a large Casino. Other than Key Lime, there are no Resorts in Gurnee, and the nearest would be Marriott's Lincolnshire about 20 miles away. All they have are bargain hotels similar to Days Inn, Baymont, Motel 6, Comfort Inn, etc. Additionally, The Dells offers I do not see Gurnee drawing the type of crowds that enjoy the Dells.
*** This post was edited by WildStangAlex 2/25/2008 2:43:24 PM ***
Monday, February 25, 2008 3:16 PM
Talk about an attendance booster for SFGAm.. :) I really see this as an good thing for Gurnee. SFGAm being my home park, I do not plan on spending the night at KeyLime Cove. EKE! Did anyone else check out the prices? I understand that the dells charges a lot but, they have more slides, water activities as for KeyLime, nothing really caught my eye.
Monday, February 25, 2008 4:08 PM
Jeff's avatar More to do doesn't mean people are willing to drive past a location that has "enough" to do for a day though. With the working demographic vacationing less, plus all the expected competition involving video games, movies and whatever, I just can't imagine this (and the SFAm park) doesn't have some impact on people from Chicago visiting Dells.

I was thinking more rhetorically, wishing there were some hard numbers to look at.

Monday, February 25, 2008 5:17 PM
An interesting side note. Key Lime Cove's PR person, Michelle Hoffman worked in PR for SFGAm a few years ago.
Monday, February 25, 2008 6:07 PM
I would imagine it's a similar situation as the one between SFOG and DW/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area.
Monday, February 25, 2008 8:44 PM
WildStangAlex's avatar ^
I totally agree with the fact that it will affect some families wanting to go to a closer destination. Especially for families that have not been to the Dells because of the distance, who now will go to Key Lime. However, I think in the "Grand Scheme of Things" that the Dells won't be impacted negatively by this development. And to what Superflyri03 said: Totally! The prices reflect the quality of the rooms and service, and, of course, Location, Location, Location!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008 9:43 AM
Sheesh! I didn't realize Famous Dave was that involved with Rainforest Cafe, too.

Famous Dave = guy who tends to know what he's doing. Once his namesake restaurants went public and overboard with expansion, he ran into trouble. But then again, BBQ is a very 'tricky' product versus, say, burgers and fries. Regional tastes vary quite broadly

But an indoor, upscale waterpark geared toward adults, near a major metropolis, next to Gurnee Mills? Yeah. I'd bet on it.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008 1:40 PM
I wonder how successful it will be. Other than the summer months when SFGAM is opne, there is nothing happening nor anything to do in Gurnee other than hit the outlet mall nearby. The area needs more to offer IMHO to make this resort a success year-round, unless it is priced cheaply.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008 2:13 PM
More to offer?

40 million plus hit my local mall a year (I live near the Mall of America) and 18 million hit Gurnee Mills. When my folks from Michigan come to visit, they'll hit Gurnee Mills on the way here if not the way home, too.

Amusement parks only dream of reaching mall numbers...


Tuesday, February 26, 2008 6:05 PM
40 million + visits a year?! Never really understood why people get off on going to malls, but I guess that's just me.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008 8:51 PM
What does the lack of things to do in Gurnee have to do with the success of this new property?

It's quite simple why it was constructed there along with SFGAm and Gurnee Mills. It is located halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee.

If you are going to complain about the lack of things to do in Gurnee, how come Great Wolf and Kalahari set up shop in Sandusky? Besides CP, I don't see that much to do in that town.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 9:22 PM
WildStangAlex's avatar Who said the lack of things to do in Gurnee has to do with the success of the new property? I was just saying that the two locations (Gurnee and Wisconsin Dells) are very different and may attract a different group of people. That's all. There are no complaints here, I live in the NW Suburbs, there is plenty to do, just not in a "Vacation" sense.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008 11:36 PM
I think the Dells is large enough and established enough that these new parks in Chicago won't make much of a dent in their attendance. At all.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008 11:18 AM
The Dells also draw a lot from Minnesota.

This may not be a great comparison, but I think of this kind of like Grand Geneva building the water park on their property in Lake Geneva. Not a 1:1 comparison, sure. But, Lake Geneva will draw a whole bunch of people (I've heard of 20,000 on a weekend). I know that a large majority of that traffic is from Illinois. Lake Geneva, though it draws about 1.2 million visitors a year hasn't put a dent in the Dells traffic. I would think that the only thing to put a dent in Dells traffic would be another Dells type development somewhere on the state line...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 11:29 AM
I don't think any single major waterpark can 'threaten' the Dells (roughly halfway between Chicago and Minneapolis). The two that opened in the Twin Cities sure haven't scared anybody...



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