Forget having to load up the car to head to the beach.
Carowinds, the thrill park on the North Carolina-South Carolina state line, unveiled plans Thursday for a major expansion to its waterpark, and yes, a massive pool for catching some gnarly waves will be included as one of the additions.
The existing Boomerang Bay waterpark will also be renamed Carowinds Carolina Harbor Waterpark in 2016. It will have four new attractions, new amenities – including shower and restroom areas — and a 3,000-square-foot Starbucks. The improvements are part of Carowinds’ more than $50 million multiyear expansion that included the opening of the Fury 325 roller coaster five months ago.
The waterpark will have about twice as many waterslides as Boomerang Bay.
“Next year, Carowinds is bringing a bit of the Carolina Coast to this region,” Mike Fehnel, Carowinds vice president and general manager, said during the unveiling ceremony in the park’s Harmony Hall.
The name is being changed to reflect the extensive additions and the fact that Carowinds is where the Carolinas meet, he added.
Work on the waterpark started earlier this month and it is expected to open in May 2016.
The new features include Black Beard’s Revenge, a six-story waterslide complex with three attractions. Park guests will be able to plummet down Pirate’s Plank, an almost vertical free fall in which the floor drops out from under riders. A water slide ride called Cannonball Drop will have four 360-degree turns in an enclosed chute. Captain’s Curse will include heart-pounding drops and turns, according to Carowinds.
Visitors will be able to catch some waves at the new Surf Club Harbor – a 27,000-square-foot pool with waves up to 6 feet high. There will also be an outdoor stage for live entertainment.
Seaside Splashworks will be part of a new 2-acre family area and include more than 80 different play toys for children, ranging from water guns to slides. There will also be a 423-gallon bucket that fills with water that tips over to drench people frolicking below.
A play area for toddlers called Myrtle Turtle Beach will be another new attraction, with water jets and shaded areas for parents to keep an eye on their little ones. Kiddy Hawk Cove is another play area that will be built for children.
Park officials highlighted some of the park’s planned new amenities by showing slides with people lounging around in a beach-like environment. There will also be a 2,400-square-feet restaurant called Harbor House serving up seafood and barbecue; a full-service bar named Schooners; a new entrance for only the waterpark; and sand volleyball courts.
Charlotte-based Southside Constructors is doing the contracting work for the revamped park. Beaver Dam, Wisconsin-based Neuman Pools Inc. is building Surf Club Harbor, which will require eight wave generators.
Fehnel declined to say how many more visitors he thinks the waterpark will attract, but he said more than 1.5 million people have ridden Fury 325, and that is one reason to be optimistic about new attractions’ drawing power.
“It’s going to round out our (park) experience … we are excited,” he said.
Carowinds officials said the new additions mean the park will offer more for people of all ages. And they are also adding some entertainment to Carowinds, including Cirque Imagine, a live act with a bicyclist and other performers.
“It definitely will be the place to be next summer, and every summer after that,” said John Taylor, Carowinds vice president of marketing.