New Indoor Waterpark Resort @ Columbus

Sunday, January 29, 2006 10:07 PM
I did a search and saw nothing about this, so here goes. On our way home tonight passing through the east side of Columbus (OH) I saw a tall brown building with waterslides poking out the side of the building.

Well, what I saw was Holiday Inn's "First indoor waterpark resort for Central Ohio" it's called "Fort Rapids" and opens this spring. And from the photos on their site they have a royal flush-type slide. Click HERE to see for yourself.

Sunday, January 29, 2006 11:20 PM
End of Wyandot? Perhaps...
Monday, January 30, 2006 5:22 AM
Looks pretty cool! As far as Wyandot, I guess Six Flags better sell that one as well before it goes under, or maybe the Zoo could buy it. ;-)


Monday, January 30, 2006 8:26 AM
...actually, the Columbus Zoo already owns it (well, the land, anyway). SF operates Wyandot under a land lease.

As part of the huge expansion of the Zoo over the next several years, the Zoo's desire is to increase the size of the waterpark to 35 acres (from its current 18). However, SF had no interest in an expansion.

Maybe the zoo should just take over operation themselves. Or, even better, work out something with Cedar Fair... (It might make a interesting expansion of the "Soak City" or "Wildwater Kingdom" brands...)

Monday, January 30, 2006 8:39 AM
There was a thread about this over the summer when construction on Fort Rapids first started.

Columbus is a huge city, landwise. Wyandot Lake is in the extreme northwest corner; Fort Rapids is in the extreme southeast corner. They are a good 45 minutes apart, even on the interstates. They are not competitors.

I don't live anywhere near Fort Rapids, but I do pass it on my way to the one decent DDR machine in town, and I will say, it looks pretty sweet. That part of town is not exactly a tourist destination though, so I wonder how it will do.

Monday, January 30, 2006 9:05 AM
Yeah, I wondered the same thing. It's not the first location you'd think of for such a development, huh?

I think Easton would have been an ideal location, but I'm sure the land costs would have been through the roof!

Monday, January 30, 2006 1:33 PM
Yeah, we'd just come from Easton when we saw FR, and I can't believe how much has been added to that place in a years time...but that would be an ideal spot.

Being that it is billed as an indoor waterpark resort you'd think they'd build it closer to family attractions like COSI, Nationwide Arena (Hockey/Arena F-ball), Triangle Park, Santa Maria, & North Market.

Then they'd be somewhat competitive with SFWL/Columbus Zoo, but still far enough away to be their own entity. And it would put them in better geographical distance to the Ohio State Fair/Columbus Crew (Soccer).

But then again, maybe FR is the first piece in a puzzle to make S.E. Columbus a tourist-friendly section for the city?

Monday, January 30, 2006 4:01 PM
I live about 10 minutes (less than that when traffic is down) from the I-70/Hamilton Road Interchange where Fort Rapids is located. I pass it traveling from home to Ohio State and back each day; the place has really gotten big.

I personally think the location of the resort is a good one. Eastland Mall (approximately 1 ½ miles south of the site) just underwent a major renovation, updating many parts of the mall and adding an anchor to its already 3 anchors. About 2 miles east of FR is Brice Road which is lined with restaurants and shopping centers (Columbus has to be the shopping center capital of the US).

Just east of Brice Road are the suburbs Reynoldsburg and Pickerington which are quite large and booming, especially the latter. Finally, it’s a fairly quick and easy accessible from downtown as well as the OSU area and airport/Gahanna/Easton corridor, that is, not including rush hour which is horrible out there.

Easton, though it has the space for such a place, is a traffic nightmare (in my opinion) no matter the time of day. I haven’t been to Easton for a good year, maybe longer, because I hate dealing with the narrow streets and teenagers that just got their license. Like I said, the Eastland area has traffic issues as well, but I don’t think it is any where near as bad as Easton.

All in all, that side of the city has more than enough population to support it. The question is will they come. Is this being marketed outside Greater Columbus/Central Ohio? Has anyone outside the region heard anything on it? I must say that until fairly recently, I haven’t heard much about it on television. *** Edited 1/30/2006 9:05:27 PM UTC by OHIcOaster***

Monday, January 30, 2006 5:06 PM
It does seem like kind of an odd place, but are the owners of the hotel the ones building it? Maybe they just realized it could be a huge success, but didn't want to invest in an entirely new hotel. I think it will do well. If 4 indoor waterparks can survive in Sandusky (granted an area people think about when they think about amusement parks), then at least one can thrive in Columbus.
Monday, January 30, 2006 7:34 PM
I like the idea of expanding the Knott's Soak City brand to "take over" Wyandot Lake. I honestly think they should do away with the ride section of the park and focus all their efforts on the water park (keep the woodie though).

Monday, January 30, 2006 8:20 PM
I think that would be a great idea. A few months ago I read about the new configuration of the parking lot and gates the Zoo plans to carry out. Moving between the two areas should be much easier. I should say that can't speak of if the configuration is actually going to be carried out or if they are awaiting funding but I remember seeing renderings of a grand "mall" with a common gate (one side of the gate for the Zoo and the other for Wyandot Lake). *** Edited 1/31/2006 1:21:27 AM UTC by OHIcOaster***
Monday, January 30, 2006 9:43 PM
That would make a lot more sense considering right now the parking lot gate is right between the two making it a little dangerous when both parks are busy.
Monday, January 30, 2006 10:13 PM
Nothing is worse at CZ/WL than a nice sunny day in the low to mid eighties! It is a traffic nightmare up there right now. Here's to hoping they get those changes made soon.

As far as the waterpark resort, as far as I could tell from their page Cedar Creek Holiday Inn is building an entirely new hotel anyway. But I'm just going on the sites photo gallery...can anyone shed any further light on this?

By the way, thanks Alton for the info. on the area, didn't know it was booming around there like that. The whole seems to fit a lot better now.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 8:11 AM
Yes, the area is growing, but if I remember correctly, only hotel guests will be allowed into the waterpark. Who stays in a hotel that's 10 minutes from their house? Especially if the cheapest room is $250 a night like it is at Great Bear Lodge.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006 9:00 AM
Oh, I should have thought of that. Yeah, that's very true. Perhaps they can find a way to funnel visitors to that area who would normally stay else where? Maybe this would be a place that would see increased business during events like the Ohio State Fair. Or, and this might be a stretch, even Buckeye Football?

The reason I say the latter is because I frequent two Buckeye fan message boards and during football season, there are always out of town fans looking for places to stay and activities for their children outside gameday. This might not be feasible for people who go to more than one game a season (tickets are expensive, etc.) but perhaps, for the alumni or other fans with family that save up for one game a year this could be a great choice.

It'll be interesting to see what type of pull this place will be able to create. *** Edited 1/31/2006 2:08:47 PM UTC by OHIcOaster***

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:25 AM

OHIcOaster said:
I should say that can't speak of if the configuration is actually going to be carried out or if they are awaiting funding but I remember seeing renderings of a grand "mall" with a common gate (one side of the gate for the Zoo and the other for Wyandot Lake). *** Edited 1/31/2006 1:21:27 AM UTC by OHIcOaster***

I think the funding (or at least the biggest part of it) was accomplished with the tax levy the zoo got approved in the 2004 elections. I looked on their web site but could no longer find the "master plan" map... But, in a nutshell, my understanding of the plan is to reroute rt. 750 (Powell Road) so that it cuts in behind the Zoo's property and swings around to the north of the golf course where it will connect with Riverside Dr. The whole parking area will be "pushed back" further (to the east), and entrance to the lots will be off the new Powell road. The current parking entrance will become a green space/grand mall type space that will connect the entraces to the Zoo and WL around a central plaza.

This will also create additional space for WL to expand into the former parking area. According to an article I read in the Dispatch last year, the waterpark (whoever operates it <g> ) could expand to 35 acres (from its current 18).

The space where Powell Rd. currently is located will allow the zoo to spill over into land it already owns on the other side. This area will eventually become a 50 acre (if I recall correctly) African Savannah.

The Columbus Zoo has done amazing things in the last 30 years. It's hard to believe it's the same little mediocre zoo I went to in Cub Scouts! Jack Hanna obviously has a lot to do with its success, but Jerry Boren and his staff have certainly kept the vision moving forward. *** Edited 1/31/2006 3:26:22 PM UTC by JZarley***

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 10:54 AM
That's great! I love the Zoo, having taken many field and family trips there. I fondly remember the 1992 panda exhibit which, as you probably remember, was huge in Columbus.

Your post reminds me of that 2004 levy. I use to volunteer and eventually work at COSI (over 10 years total) and I remember now that our levy was on the ballot at the same time. It was sad when ours went down but I remember everyone including myself being very happy that the Zoo's passed.

Seems like bright times are ahead for that area. It would be nice to see WL expand.


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