Not one to let new the new kid get all the attention this summer, Summerlin water park Wet ‘n’ Wild announced today that it will open new water slide Tornado during the Memorial Day holiday, also the target opening weekend for emerging competitor, Cowabunga Bay in Henderson.
The storm-themed thriller—to be built by Proslide Technology, which patented the award-winning ride's signature funnel—is the first of its kind in Nevada, though a staple at other international water parks. Riders will board a four-person raft nearly four-stories in the air, coast down a 110-foot enclosed tunnel and drop into the 45-foot-wide funnel. Hurtling at 20 miles per hour, the raft will then oscillate between the vertical walls of the cone, riders attaining weightlessness at the crest of each ascension and then falling almost straight down—similar to the money-shot element on Wet ‘n’ Wild's existing attraction, Hoover Half Pipe—until the raft levels out at the opening of the bottom tube and ventures into the exit pool.
“The Tornado is an exciting addition to Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas for our guests who will have a new shared extreme slide experience, and for our park in adding a ‘must-have’ slide that’s become a favorite among water park attendees,” said Tim Fisher, CEO of Village Roadshow Theme Parks, majority owner and operator of the west Valley park, in a release.
Proslide CEO and president Rick Hunter emphasizes the appeal and uniqueness of the ride's cone. "The ProSlide Tornado is the only ride anywhere with a true funnel shape," he said. "With its perfectly round opening and curved walls, this shape actually generates an unbeatable excitement level with a big drop into the massive funnel and zero-g sensations. It’s the physics of the funnel shape that create the unparalleled experience for riders."
Wet ‘n’ Wild also announced new additions and improvements for its second season, which runs April 12-September 28. Operating hours and days will increase, including a 10 p.m. closing time on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer; additional shade, lounge chairs and parking spots will be available; and Gold and VIP passholders will now be able to enter the 41-acre park before the gates open to the general public.
The children's play pool will also now be heated, though it's a shame Village Roadshow didn't address our biggest gripe regarding its park: the bone-chilling water temperatures everywhere else in the park that make enjoying the attractions difficult when the sun sets and/or winds from the nearby mountains blow through.
Wet ‘n’ Wild is currently selling season passes ($75-$135) at its website—they sold out last year—and hiring for more than 450 available positions.
The 23-acre Cowabunga Bay—to be situated north of Galleria Drive and east of I-515—is also hawking its season passes ($60-$126) and accepting applications for some 320 positions. Like its established competitor, the new park, which opens on May 24, will feature more than 25 attractions.