Showboat Hotel’s Island Waterpark is a $100 million indoor family friendly destination opening this summer in Atlantic City and a few weeks ago I was very fortunate to get a full tour of the construction progress… and I get to share that with 42Freeway readers!
My prior two articles on the exterior were very well received by readers, and I soon found myself in contact with the amazing team at Showboat and Tower Development. “Mark we’d love for you to share with your readers an inside look at the construction progress”
It was awesome to be able to literally walk through the entire project, walk up the giant steps of the water slide towers (yes it took a little out of my breath!), hear about the full vision of the project, and all guided by the Director of the Island Water Park.
My goal here is to give you a better idea of what the family friendly destination is all about. I overview many of the main exciting details, but there will still be tons to explore when you visit.
Honestly… no matter how well I write this article, it will pale in comparison to that first time you visit this summer! Each time you visit the same “first time” smile will be back again and again!
During my visit I even got to tour one of the upgraded Showboat Hotel Rooms, which you can make a reservation for as part of your upcoming trip to visit the waterpark.
And don’t forget about Showboat’s Lucky Snake Arcade area, indoor electric go-karts and the rest of Atlantic City’s exciting and fun adventures!
And Thank You to the Showboat, Island Waterpark, and Tower team for inviting me to check the place out and being amazing to me during my tour.
Showboat Atlantic City’s Island Waterpark
You’ll sin the images that when I visited a few weeks ago the core aspects of the facility and water park are in place. Waterslides are installed, the FlowRider surf simulator is in place, and the concrete for the pools, lazy river and swim-up bar have all been poured!
The project will feature significant landscaping, tropical plants, and flowers… so consider that when looking at the photos because when those aspects are added in over the next few weeks, they will instantly give this fun, food and beverage attraction it’s fully finished look!
As a recap for those who may not be familiar, the Island Waterpark at Showboat Atlantic City is being developed within a 100,000 sq ft “glass” insulated polycarbonate pane curved roof. The waterpark is part of the Showboat family and is adjacent (and connected) to the Hotel.
The Island waterpark is 100% family friendly, and will offer slides, pools, water activities, retail stores and restaurants… plus adult beverages will be available in the facility. There will also be a dedicated adults-only area.
The waterpark aspects will offer 11 water slides, the largest custom Aqua forms in the world, and a 10,000 square foot splash pad.
Restaurants, gift shops and adult-beverage areas will all be throughout the facility, in themed areas such as a boardwalk recreation and the Treehouse lounge area!
And while you’ve likely seen the twists and turns of colorful waterslides on the outside of the building (more on that in a minute!), all aspects of the guest experience are inside the massive curved structure.
Which makes the Island waterpark a year round destination.
That being said, in just a matter of minutes the staff can open up a large portion of the roof to let the beautiful Atlantic City summertime beach weather come in, with all of the aromas of the fresh salty jersey beach air permeating through the Island Waterpark tropical oasis!
It’s not an exaggeration to say its a huge facility. Like “Two American Football Fields could fit inside” huge!
And to make sure that space was not wasted, the designers of the waterpark smartly laid out the interior so that every inch of the new building is focused on exciting and relaxing guest experiences.
Showboat did two very smart things to achieve this.
First, well I mentioned several slides actually run outside of the building. If you consider that a fun and thrilling waterslide requires twists, turns and drops… well that takes up a lot of space. So having several signature slides on the outside of the clear paneled building saves considerable space inside which can be used for guest experiences. (You enter and leave the slides from inside. More on that later)
As a side note, the colorful exterior slides also serve as awesome advertising platform for the waterpark. Whether looking at the building from the boardwalk and street, or simply seeing images online… you can’t help but notice those slides!
Secondly, there are “administrative” guest aspects to any large entertainment destination like this. And being an all-year facility in the Northeast you have to consider the need for significant indoor areas to support ticketing, restrooms, gift shops and more… so the designers have put those aspects inside the main Showboat Hotel space, but directly connected to the waterpark!
Honestly the changes inside the hotel’s main floor that they are making are significant; creating new areas in support of the waterpark including additional dedicated bar and restaurant areas, game rooms, locker rooms and more. I was able to walk through those areas to see what’s coming… but I’ll leave that experience for you to discover when you visit!
Anyway, I didn’t do all of the math but it feels like the Island Waterpark folks were able to leave 99% of the massive clear curved structure dedicated to fun guest experiences. Genius!
After you’ve paid for your tickets inside the hotel, maybe picked up some sunscreen or other items at one of the gift shops… you walk down a wide hallway where you were greeted by a waterfall feature and then you get the view of the expansive interior space. Filled with colorful slides, amazing smells, and the sounds of people having one heck of a time!
It had me thinking of the Willy Wonka movie when Charlie Bucket and the other kids spend time walking through some cool aspects of the Chocolate Factory, but when they entered into the glass roofed magical land of beautiful plants, bright colors and exciting adventures… their faces truly lit up!
I know you’ll experience that same feeling of “Wow, I can’t believe what I am seeing” as you walk into the cavernous glass enclosed space of Showboat’s Island Waterpark!
It’s very important to note early on here that the entire team at the Island Waterpark takes guest safety very seriously. Lifeguards and other staff will be fully trained in proper emergency procedures!
Island Waterpark – Guest Attraction Features
The layout for the water park building is smartly broken up into sections.
I guess I’ll stick with writing this in the style of my walking tour, so I’ll start with the main entrance which brings you into the waterpark about 2/3 of the way to the back of the building.
When you enter the waterpark area you’ll be looking at a waterfall feature. To your immediate right you’ll see a recreated boardwalk experience of small shops featuring food, drinks, stores and games! I’ll have a lot more on this aspect when I visit after the waterpark is open!
For the attractions we’ll start to the left of the entrance, at the back of the waterpark building.
At the far right back corner is a large green tower of steps which leads you to the top of the curved glass building. Before you reach the top you’ll realize you’re going higher than the steel support structures holding up the roof!
But you’re not done yet… you’ll continue walking up the steps, and enter a glass room like space where you’re now actually up above the curved roof, looking down on it!
It’s an amazing view to see the whole facility as you walk up the steps, but it’s real purpose is it leads you to the guest platform for the three rear slides.
So just to really clarify this aspect; you enter into the slides from inside the building. You twist and turn and scream and have an awesome time riding through the tubes, and then the slide brings you back into the building at the bottom, where you land into one of the many slide pools.
While the tube slides are outside, at no time are you exposed to the outdoor air. Yes you’ll be able to comfortably ride the slides in colder months like January!
In the opposite (left) corner of this back wall portion is the FlowRider. It is a surf simulator machine which recreates true surfing and wakeboard experiences!
The FlowRider model at Island Waterpark can support two surfers at a time, with a removable center divider.
In this back area there will also be a small beverage area. To add another level of clarity to questions you may have… Yes you will be allowed to walk the entire water park with a delicious Margarita or Frozen Daiquiri!
To bring home the Island feel, the entire space will feature beautiful landscaping, plants, flowers and trees.
The entire complex under the glass will make you feel like you’re in an island oasis, separated from the rest of civilization in a beautiful land that’s full of excitement and fun.
But the Showboat team and designers went even further and created an “island within the oasis” by installing a lazy river which creates a separate island space, accessible by foot bridges over the river.
A lazy river is where guests get to quietly float on tubes around a gently moving river, which while not a circle… does connect in a loop after meandering through a portion of the park. You can quietly go around again and again!
As mentioned, in the center of the lazy river is a separate island.
Within the island are smaller water slides, which stay fully within the facility. A splash pad area is located here also. The island space also includes fun elevated catwalks and platform areas, with little bubble windows for young visitors to look through and wave at Mom and Dad below.
I even saw a water cannon on at least one of the perches, which guests can use to spray water down onto friends and unsuspecting guests!
This island area created by the lazy river also includes a signature feature of the island water park… the Treehouse.
The Treehouse is positioned somewhat in the center of the facility, and it’s higher platform will allow guests to get a view of the fun and excitement around them while they sit in a more relaxed space. The area will offer bars, lounges and more “slides” fun!
Up closer to the front of the building (towards the boardwalk), that space features additional slides where you also start your wet and wild ride at the top of a tall tower platform room. From inside the building, you slide outside of the building, and after swirling around they bring you back inside at the bottom..
The slides at the front seem to offer a different experience than the ones at the back.
The slides at the back of the facility offer more of a twisty-turny experience while it appears the the ones at the front are built for a little more speed!
As mentioned. the front slides also require taking steps up a tower and going up higher than the roof!
The front slides start off in a straight clear tube to build up some speed, before entering a darkened light blue section which is a corkscrew that goes around a few times… before reaching another long straight segment of slide which brings you back into the building!
This front section of the building will also include the dedicated adults hangout area which will have several beverage options including a swim up bar!
It was cool to see the concrete for that bar pool fully poured, with the concrete permanent barstools already in place! Immediately in front of them is the pool wall, and then there is the bartender’s dry “pit” where Island Waterpark bar employees will mix you a delicious Pina Colada, Mango Margarita, ice cold beer… well whatever you want!
With the the tall roof creating significant headspace the water park will also include a zip line running from front to back, and a gravity coaster. I don’t have a lot of details on those at the moment so I can’t wait to be surprised also when they open!
In another part of the facility a Twitch streaming game zone is being created!
The folks at Showboat are confident on their Memorial Weekend opening, and providing a full experience of fun and excitement for you and your family! Some smaller aspects though may still be in the final stages of completion at that time.
You may have also noticed that they chose to build the huge structure to the back of the deep property leaving a very large undeveloped space between the water park and the boardwalk.
Contractors are fixing that front area up and I believe there will be some outdoor elements associated with the beverage aspects of the facility, but it also appears to be a mostly blank canvas for additional awesome features to come in the future.
Pricing for the Island Waterpark is still being determined. Some features my require additional costs.
Lucky Snake Arcade and Showboat Remodeled Rooms
In my October article I shared the fun details of the Lucky Snake Arcade at Showboat, which is directly next to the waterpark.
The large Lucky Snake offers arcade and sports bar, with indoor go karts.
It seems nothing about the Showboat is small! They offer an amazing array of the latest arcade games including one of the best modern Pinball machine areas I’ve ever seen.
They even have a small bowling alley area of several lanes!
At the back of the large open room, and right before the Waterpark ticketing areas.. is the Raceway Indoor electric go-karts!
And i’ll close with in my recent tour I got to view one of the recently upgraded hotel rooms.
The rooms are effectively brand new. Very spacious with all of the accommodations you would expect. My visit was so soon after the construction process that they hadn’t finished all of the decor touches… which of course will all be completed when you stay.
Links and Location
Also check out my earlier updates
Showboat Hotel Atlantic City and Island Waterpark
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
- Island Waterpark Website
- Showboat Hotel Website
- Showboat Hotel Facebook
- Lucky Snake Arcade at Showboat Facebook