Ocala Wild Waters park could reopen by June 6

Park faced demolition, now has new life


SILVER SPRINGS, Fla. – After being shuttered for what some thought was for good last year, crews are working hard to finish repairs on Wild Waters water park, hoping to reopen the first phase of it by June 6.

The park, which was built in 1978, sits at the corner of State Road 40 and Baseline Road, just outside of Ocala.

Many called it "the" place to go to in the hot summer months.

But time has not been kind to the park. Wooden slide supports are weather worn and the outside gates are tarnished, which prompted some members of the community to call for it to be demolished.

The Department of Environmental Protection, the current owner of the park, had considered clearing the site to make room for nature trails and an expansion of Silver Springs Park, which shares a parking lot with Wild Waters.

They changed their mind, though, when an online petition drive looking to keep the water park open, gathered nearly 3,000 signatures.

The agency decided to invest a lot of money in bringing the park up to not only modern appeal but modern safety standards.

Arden Tilghman, president and CEO of Silver Springs Management, says she hopes the park will open in three phases.

First phase will unveil the renovated wave pool, the "Cool Kids Cove" and the "Tad Pool," all of which will appeal to young children.

"The goal is to get them open as soon as possible," she said.

The second phase will see the opening of the larger water slides: the Hurricane, Silver River Rides and the Silver Bullet, which runs alongside Baseline Road.

Tilghman says the goal for opening those rides is sometime in July.

For updates on Wild Waters schedule, visit their website.

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