Saturday, May 21, 2016

Waterpark expansion expected to double guest traffic

With the addition of two 300-foot water slides and expansions that include the addition of new beach, a new cantina, and 40 new inflatable giant water toys, officials at West Virginia's largest outdoor-adventure resort predict traffic will double at its five-acre water park in 2016 .

More than 80,000 guests are expected to visit ACE Adventure Resort in Oak Hill this summer, and many of those visitors will be coming specifically to enjoy Wonderland Waterpark, according to Heidi Prior, marketing director for the resort on the rim of the New River Gorge.

In its second year as an independent development, the water park has become a gateway attraction, she said, introducing new guests to rafting, zip-lining and other adventure amenities accommodated at the 1,500-acre resort on the New River Gorge.

"Last year we decided to market the water park as a stand-alone product rather than as an add-on to our adventure packages, and Boom! -- we watched our numbers explode, literally," Prior said.

"Suddenly we saw more than 3,000 walk-ins on Saturdays, and many of these were West Virginia residents who had never rafted or zip-lined or even knew there was a resort here with cabins and trails and restaurants."

In addition to the new slides and water toys, the expansion includes the addition of new bathrooms and changing rooms, an arcade with a retail store and ice-cream freezers, an expanded bar with an overlook of the park, new patio areas, and extensive green-scaping that includes the extension of beaches.

Established in 1980 as a basecamp for American-Canadian Expeditions, the resort is among the leading outfitters for whitewater rafting in West Virginia, guiding more than 50,000 rafters annually on the New and Gauley rivers.

The Travel Channel ranked it top among extreme outdoor-adventure resorts in North America as a result of its size, the number of guests it hosts, and the number of outdoor recreation activities it offers.

For more information on the resort, its outdoor-adventure programs, or the water park, visit www.aceraft.com.

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