SplashDown Waterpark Celebrates 25 Years with A Look Back

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SplashDown Waterpark, located 25 miles southwest of the nation’s capital in historic Manassas, Virginia, marks its 25th Anniversary this year.   It all began in 1994, when the Prince William County Park Authority (now the Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism) evaluated the possibility of developing a waterpark at the existing site of Ben Lomond Park. 

The park had a 50-meter outdoor pool, a contracted bumper boat and “hydrotube” slide attraction, a bathhouse, along with soccer and softball fields, racquetball courts and several pavilion areas.  A planning team was formed with one directive - develop a waterpark on the existing Ben Lomond Park site, utilizing the existing 50-meter pool.  

As a publicly funded county agency, the Park Authority needed support from the  residents to approve a county referendum to sell revenue bonds to fund this new and exciting waterpark project.  Fortunately, the residents responded with enthusiastic support. The bond sale was a success and the project funded at $4.3 million. Construction started in May 1995 and the waterpark facility opened in May 1996 to record crowds.

The Park Authority ran a contest for the employees to name the waterpark and several of the themed areas within the facility.  The employees chose “SplashDown Waterpark” as the name of the new park, along with the “Banana Cabana” pavilion and “Big Kahuna Beach” as the name for the picnic/volleyball area.  

SplashDown Waterpark sits on 13-acres of land and is the largest waterpark in northern Virginia. The plunge pool at the bottom of the Pipe Line Tower slides holds 28,000 gallons of water.  The Lazy River holds 233,000 gallons of water and moves at about 5 miles per hour.  Floating 6.86 times around the Lazy River is equal to 1 mile. The filters for the Lazy River circulate 1600 gallons of water per minute. The Activity and Leisure Pools are connected and hold 324,000 gallons of water. The Sandcastle Kids Cove area holds 10,000 gallons of water.

A lot has happened over those 25 years.  There have been a variety of upgrades to the mechanics of the facility, along with fresh coats of paint and décor, food and beverage concessions and a fresh face for the waterpark’s beloved mascot Digger. 

SplashDown Waterpark has trained thousands of our local youth throughout these 25 years, many as their first employer. Thousands of highly trained aquatics safety specialists – skilled professionals who vigilantly maintain aquatic safety standards and community health regulations. 

Quite a legacy for just "A Day at the Beach without the Drive."

SplashDown Waterpark is one of the Prince William County’s top tourist attractions hosting visitors from Maryland, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, and all point’s south.  Learn more

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