Ocean Lakes Family Campground on Tuesday afternoon became the latest Grand Strand tourist resort to announce a major expansion of its water park offerings.
Ocean Lakes will triple the size of its park from one acre to three and add two slides, a 705-foot Adventure River, a 61,000-square-foot pool deck and 28,110 square feet of water featuring a semi-covered kiddie pool.
“The bar keeps getting raised,” Barb Krumm, Ocean Lakes director of marketing and public relations, said of water-related features at resorts. “We really want to exceed the guests’ expectations.”
Lakewood Camping Resort and Crown Reef Resort each completed $2 million expansions of their water parks in 2014.
Krumm wouldn’t say how much Ocean Lakes is paying for its water park expansion, on which it expects to begin construction after Labor Day and have completed in time for the 2016 tourist season.
“Resort owners with water parks are locked into an arms race,” Jeff Coy, president of JLC Hospitality Consulting, which has produced reports on hotel water park resorts, said last year. “Bigger is better and more thrilling is the name of the game.”
Krumm said the two acres Ocean Lakes will add to its park now have 34 campsites which will be closed after the tourist season this year.
The two slides Ocean Lakes will include in its expansion will be accessed by a single, 35-foot tower. Once they reach the top, sliders will be able to choose between a twisting tube slide and a four-lane racing slide.
The hybrid lazy river will include a speed lane called “the rapids,” according to information from the resort. Krumm said it will be easy for people to choose the calmer-water route and avoid the faster water, if they wish.
Ocean Lakes built its current water features, a kiddie pool and a separate L-shaped pool in 2002, Krumm said. Both will remain, as will the Sandy Harbor Mini Golf.
“Our guests have been requesting a lazy river,” Krumm said, “but we decided to deliver something bigger, better and more fun.”