Last week's news that Wet 'n Wild finally is returning to Las Vegas felt like standing at the entrance of one of its massive water parks: With so much to like, where do you start?
- The $50 million park, located in the southwest valley near the Las Vegas Beltway and Sunset Road, will create an estimated 200 to 300 construction jobs. Site preparation is already under way. And when it opens in May, the 41-acre park will employ between 300 and 500 people. With so many Nevadans out of work, and so many young people shut out of the depressed job market, the park represents opportunity.
- The park will feature more than 25 slides and attractions, including North America's first Rattler slide, and Canyon Cliffs, which the owners tout as a "gut-wrenching 60-foot free fall at speeds up to 33 feet per second." Fun.
- Australian entertainment conglomerate Village Roadshow Limited will have majority ownership of the Las Vegas park, but locals including Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf, Dr. Steven and Karen Thomas and Roger and Scott Bulloch have invested as well. It's always good when committed local owners get regular feedback from their neighbors.
Wet 'n Wild was a Strip attraction for 20 years before it closed in 2004 to make way for the casino building boom. The new park will be a more convenient, welcome respite for locals who want some relief from our brutal heat, but it's close enough to the Strip to be a summer tourist draw as well.
Hard-core conservationists already are complaining that Wet 'n Wild is a terrible waste of water. Please. Water is a commodity. The park will pay through the snorkel for its water, and hundreds of thousands of visitors will gladly cover those costs and then some. Wet 'n Wild will have every financial incentive to conserve as much water as possible.
It was awful that a city as large and as hot as Las Vegas had to go without a major water park for so long when cooler states from Minnesota to Maine have such attractions. So, welcome back to Las Vegas, Wet 'n Wild. You've been missed, and we can't wait to play in your newest, coolest park.