One of Orlando’s oldest water parks will be closing its doors next year on Dec. 31, 2016, park officials announced Wednesday.
Wet ‘n Wild Orlando has been in business on International Drive for 38 years, opening its doors in March 1977, and is home to about 300 employees.
The park had opened the Aqua Drag Racer™, just a year ago.
The park wrote in a Facebook post, “Thank you to our fans for all of the countless memories.”
“It’s just sad. I’ve been to a lot of water parks and this is by far the best one I’ve ever been to,” tourist Jake Caldwell said. “Forty years, that’s a lot of history to just close it down. I say they leave it open.”
A blog posted on the company’s Facebook called Wet ‘n Wild Orlando “America’s first water park,” and “The birthplace of numerous innovations.”
The post also pushes to the development of Universal’s new Volcano Bay Water Park.
The park is owned by NBCUniversal.
Universal spokesperson Tom Schroder would not talk about future plans for the 50-acre property.
Wet ’n Wild opened in 1977 and has been owned by Universal since 1998. The company was leasing the land until 2013, when it purchased Wet ‘n Wild’s 50-plus acres for $30.9 million. Schroder said it was too soon to discuss what would happen next with that land.
Wet ‘n Wild was the 10th-busiest water park in the world in 2014, according to estimates in a global report from the Themed Entertainment Association. It attracted about 1.3 million guests last year, according to the report.
There will job opportunites for Wet ‘n Wild employees at Volcano Bay and across Universal Orlando, Schoder said.
•”Last time I went Wet ‘n Wild, it was pretty tame in comparison to other water parks. I’m not surprised it’s closing, but glad I have experienced it.” — Nicholas Douglas Morgan
•”Love Wet ‘n Wild. So sad it’s closing many birthday parties there.” — Cynthia Radcliffe
•”Our boys are just getting old enough to go, and they’ve been begging to … and now it’s closing.” — Angela B Ivanovskiy
•”Aww I loved going there as a kid when I lived there.” — Sharon Ellis Shaffer