BESSEMER, Alabama – One of the best-known names in the amusement park business has purchased Alabama’s Splash Adventure Waterpark.
The Koch family has purchased the amusement and waterpark and its 89 acres with plans to open in time for the 2014 summer season starting May 17.
Dan Koch, who led the acquisition, lives in Alabama and will now put his family’s seven decades of experience into operating the park.
“I am thrilled to be living and working in this community,” Koch said in a release. “Our family wants Alabama’s Splash Adventure Waterpark to be the number one choice for family fun and family memories for generations to come.”
The release announcing the deal said the Koch family puts an emphasis on customer service and will operate the park with a focus on safety and an atmosphere of family fun for all ages.
To that end, new attractions at the park this season will include new rides for kids such as a Wacky Worm Coaster, Rio Grande Train, Junior Bumper Boats, Mini Helicopters, and Vintage Boats. A new Laser Maze Challenge will also be added along with games to entertain the younger family members.
The new owners will also offer free parking, free sunscreen, free access to inner tubes and free in-park wifi.
Additional expansion plans are in development.
General Attractions LLC, which sold the park to Koch, has kept an additional 150 acres surrounding the park for future development. The owners have had plans to open a hotel with an indoor water park and other entertainment venues on the property.
“We feel very confident that because of their very high reputation and experience of over 75 years in the amusement park industry, that they will continue to take the park forward to new, high levels of achievement for the benefit of the entire area including those who visit the park and the surrounding communities and we wish them every success,” Kent Lemasters, president of General Attractions, said of the Koch family in a release.
A job fair will be held on March 22 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. to hire new workers to join the Koch Parks family.
Located off Interstate 20/59, Exit 110, the amusement park has a storied history.
General Attractions bought the park in January 2012 and is invested $1.5 million to add four new attractions. Lemasters’ former company, Southland Entertainment Group, bought what was the original VisionLand out of a bankruptcy transaction for $5.25 million and invested $5 million more the first year to create Alabama Adventure in 2003. Southland sold the company in 2008.
VisionLand was the “vision” of then-Fairfield Mayor Larry Langford. Langford, now serving a prison sentence on public corruption charges stemming from his time as a Jefferson County Commissioner, convinced 11 Jefferson County municipalities to join forces and spend $90 million to finance the creation of VisionLand in 1998. The park later went bankrupt.