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First wave of summer: Wet ‘n’ Wild ready to welcome crowds

Get your board shorts and bikinis ready, folks. Wet ’n’ Wild is about to open its floodgates.

But you should also get your comfortable flip-flops ready, and make sure the air conditioning in your car is working just fine because, if you’re going on opening weekend, it’s going to be crazy busy.

You’re going to experience heavy traffic and lines. There’s no way around that. The park opens to some pass holders this weekend, and to everyone June 3.

The park’s marketing director, Trevor Wilson, said during a tour of the park Wednesday that park officials have hired off-duty police officers to help with opening-weekend crowds.

He said the park’s capacity is about 6,000, but noted that officials would close the gates before it reached capacity if they had to. They are opening it to season pass holders first to help avoid that.

“We don’t want everybody standing in tremendously long lines,” he said.

He wouldn’t reveal how many season passes the park has sold, but said the response has been positive. Another water park, Cowabunga Bay, was supposed to open in Henderson this year, but it has been delayed until 2014.

Wet ’n’ Wild, which takes its name from a water park that was on the Strip in the 1990s, covers 41 acres on Fort Apache Road south of Russell Road.

Fort Apache has only one lane in each direction there, and there are no traffic lights. Residents say it is already a very busy road.

Dan Kulin, a spokesman for Clark County, said the county recently completed a traffic study nearby and will be installing a stop light at the intersection of Fort Apache and Warm Springs roads.

He said the county will be doing more studies in the park’s first few weeks of operation, specifically on Fort Apache where it intersects with Maule and Arby avenues, which essentially bracket the park’s property.

Area residents have also complained that because the park will charge for parking, people might leave their cars in nearby neighborhoods.

Wilson said police will ticket cars that are parked illegally, such as in nearby dirt lots.

“We want to be good neighbors,” he said.

The park will be operated by Village Roadshow Theme Parks, which operates similar parks in Phoenix, Hawaii and Australia.

The Phoenix park reached capacity during its opening weekend, Wilson said.

The Las Vegas park features 10 rides, or “attractions” in theme park jargon, ranging from water buckets and squirt guns for little kids to four-story tube slides for crazy people.

All the rides are ready to go, Wilson said.

People who bought season passes online were there on Wednesday to pick them up in person.

Christi Graham, 33, said she bought them for her family because she has three daughters but no pool.

She said she expects to bring the children, ages 1, 5 and 7, two or three times a week over the summer.

“Depending on how long the lines are,” she said.

Wilson recommended coming midweek. Lines will be shorter, he said.

On Wednesday, workers were still installing landscaping, putting patio furniture together, and testing the slides to ensure they are safe.

There’s the Rattler, a first-in-North America attraction that will take three people together down a 360-foot twisting tube of turns.

The Constrictor, right next door, turns corkscrews as sliders rocket at speeds up to 18 mph.

Then there’s the toilet bowl, officially called the Royal Flush Extreme, which shoots riders through a tube and into a huge basin shaped like a toilet bowl. They’ll slide around and around before splashing into a pool at the bottom.

On Wednesday, workers were testing the rides by sending bags of water resting in an inner tube down the Hoover Half Pipe to make sure it would be safe for people in the day’s windy conditions.

Wilson said the park may expand, noting that it owns the land to the west.

He said the park in Phoenix has expanded twice since its 2009 opening.

He said additional features may be added soon. Those include wrist bands that will help eliminate lines much like the Fastpass feature at Disney parks, and that they may begin selling beer and wine, though it would be restricted to a cordoned-off area.

Contact reporter Richard Lake at rlake@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0307.

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