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Carnival & Fair News
Carnival & Fair News
Wild Island Family Adventure Park: New Attractions and a Focus on VIP Customer Service
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
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With new attractions recently just added and a commitment to customer service, Wild Island Family Adventure Park in Sparks, Nev., is continuing to expand. Scott Carothers, the park’s general manager, gives his insight into recent and upcoming changes.

“We are in the midst of expanding the park. It’s our biggest capital improvement in the 30 years we’ve been in existence,” Carothers says.

And indeed, it is a large expansion. The park is adding 60,000-square-feet indoors, where Wild Island is adding a large laser tag arena, private party rooms, an arcade, new redemption games and center, and indoor go-karts to its line-up. Outside in the waterpark, a new family raft ride is in the making, which will be ready for guests to enjoy in 2019.

“We are also adding square footage to our kiddie pool area,” he notes. But perhaps more important, he adds, “We’re also greatly expanding something that is very relevant to how the industry is currently rolling in the waterpark arena.”

And that expansion is in luxury elements. Carothers notes “We have already been offering cabanas, but now we are adding luxury cabanas, which include televisions, refrigerators, and in the outdoor area around them, additions such as outdoor Foosball, and a large deck area with private space for relaxing.” According to Carothers, this is upscale additions are definitely a trend for the waterpark industry.

“People are absolutely looking for that VIP experience. 10 to 15 years ago, people were looking for a ride experience more than anything else. Now, they’re still looking for the rides, but they are also often looking for that VIP location where you can sit all day and have a cabana or an upgraded location to enjoy upscale food.”

And speaking of food, Wild Island uses tablet ordering systems. “That type of thing really enhances the day throughout the park.We have been working with a company called TRAY. All of our cabanas have the TRAY system in place.”

Using this system, cabana customers can order and have food delivered to them that somewhat differs from the standard public menu. “Its designed to be a little bit different to fit cabanas that typically hold 12 people. We have things like fruit platters for the whole family. Technology allows us to play with our cabana menu quite a bit,” Carothers attests.

The park, which has been operating since 1989, has a bevy of popular attractions. “We are geared to have two sides to our park. There are both the waterpark side and the indoor family entertainment center side. At the waterpark, we just put in the G-Force launch system last year, and that is an enormously popular attraction,” Carothers notes. “The G-Force ride has a guest come in and stand on a platform. There is the countdown, and then the floor drops, and you shoot through the ride. Over on the indoor side of the park, we have sixty lanes of bowling and a high velocity structure playhouse for young kids that are both tremendously popular. We also have an exciting X-D theater. It is a movie, but it is interactive, and viewing a film, you sit in chairs from which you can do things like shoot zombies in one or bad guys in another. The chairs move and vibrate, for example.”

To reach their family audience, Wild Island uses a PR team as well as conventional media buyers that purchase outdoor and print ads. “It helps with the organics of it, and the team is in our charge of our digital media buys. These are very complicated now days, you have to be on it. We also have a social media team. We look at social media as if you want to market to people who are already fans of yours and you also want to go after new people. Really, there are two different strategies on social media; we have quite the team, we work very hard on our marketing. It is ever-changing,” Carothers adds. “Traditional buys are still there, radio is still a great reach; outdoor billboards have changed with digital billboards and the ability to even change your message depending on what time of day people are viewing the board. But finding what people are looking at and what their patterns are -- that is always a challenge. We want to send our message out and not be intrusive as well,” he insists.

Asked what makes Wild Island unique, Carothers says “A few years ago, all the managers got together, and we made a decision that you have to look at the park in two ways. In one way look at it as ride-based, where people are coming to your park and they are going to increase their length of stay by the number of rides you have. You look also at what rides they are going to stay with, and constantly look at putting in the latest and greatest rides. But you also need to look at the aspect of making a more resort-based park,” he attests.

Carothers explains that while guests still want great rides, they are also more and more seeking a VIP, resort-style feeling. “They would be just as comfortable sitting in a nice cabana here as enjoying the rides. They want nice furniture, and being able to enjoy the park by having lunch with their family, staying in a relaxed place all day that is really comfortable. You have to decide as an entertainment complex what direction you want to go, and you do, don’t get me wrong, want to have both good rides as well as a great, resort-style atmosphere. But you have to lean more toward one or the other.”

According to Carothers, Wild Island has gone more strongly toward that resort aspect. “It’s important to gear your park toward whichever side you want to go on. We have been really very successful with looking at resort-style dynamics lately.”

Wild Island

Wild Island


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