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Roaring Springs | Meridian

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By David Whitworth

Roaring Springs water park is making a splash with an expansion plan that will increase the venue by more than 40% – making it one of the largest water parks in the United States. Based in Meridian, Idaho, Roaring Springs opened this past summer season debuting an expansion of attractions designed and built by Aquatic Development Group (ADG). Currently dubbed the largest water park in the northwest, the expansion consists of a multi-level play structure, an action river, an activity pool, Geyser Grill & Bar, along with other amenities, which completes Phase 1 of a seven-part phased expansion plan to be carried out over the next 10-15 years.

2023 Roaring Springs

Roaring Springs worked in partnership with ADG to design, build, and supply its wave generation system for the Class 5 Canyon. Idaho’s first action river features waves where guests can ride with kickboards. The area covers 14,250sqft and uses ADG’s Breakers river wave generation system and boosters to give guests a great rush of water-filled adrenaline.

Roaring Springs’ new expansion covers all bases, to cater for all ages. Children will benefit greatly from the new kids’ area Camp IdaH2O, an 8,000sqft interactive multi-level play structure including theming with iconic Idaho animals and birds, seven intermediate slides, 100 play features, and a novel potato head themed dump bucket for good measure. Another addition to the park is the Critter Crossing, an activity pool spanning 3,200ft featuring forest-themed decorations and water basketball. In addition to the new rides, Roaring Springs also added 16 luxury cabanas, upscale pool deck furniture, rest rooms, and additional parking.

A further 150 jobs will also be created thanks to the expansions, providing further opportunities for the local community. Going forward, Roaring Springs will add new elements in each of its seven-phase plan – phases 2-5 will include some of the newest and entertaining water rides in the world meanwhile phases 6-7 will provide additional parking.

Tiffany Quilici, Chief Marketing Officer Roaring Springs, Wahooz Family Fun Zone, & Galaxy Event Center and Julie Kline, Marketing Manager Aquatic Development Group, gave their thoughts on the expansion project.

How did the expansion project come about? 

“The multi-phased 10–15-year plan for the Roaring Springs’ expansion came about from years of planning and conversations about what would work for Roaring Springs as a marketable and successful expansion plan to support the guest base. Roaring Springs specifically identified the need for more attractions for guests 5ft and under. With the planned seven phases, Roaring Springs will increase its footprint by over 40%, making it one of the largest water parks in the United States. 2023 was our most exciting season that we have ever opened with the anticipation of our new expansion.”

What were the challenges with this project?

“A two-year project timeline, including careful pre-planning and 15 months of construction minimised the challenges, but hurdles always exist in any project. Roaring Springs ordered all supplies, from kitchen equipment to cabana furniture, as far as one year in advance to avoid still present supply chain issues. Roaring Springs broke ground on the project in March of 2022 in order to build through the summer, but that also meant building through the winter, and working around snow and cold temperatures. Operating the existing water park alongside a major construction zone posed challenges, including using the catering pavilions to store supplies (fortunately Roaring Springs has an adjoining indoor event centre called the Galaxy where they were able to serve groups their catered meals).”

What was the thought process behind this first phase?

“Originally, for this first phase Roaring Springs went into the design with the goal of adding capacity to the existing lazy river. After discussions on marketability and ways to differentiate the property, we at ADG had the opportunity to present the concept of a second river ride attraction to meet the capacity goals, deliver a more thrilling ride experience and bring a different experience with a wave-action swim river to Roaring Springs. ADG and Roaring Springs have collaborated on several exciting ideas and projects in the past including the latest expansion and we were excited to open the new area for the summer 2023 season.”

Which phase has been the most difficult so far? 

“The $22m (£18m) phase one was the most difficult, as it’s the largest, and includes infrastructure for each of the six phases to come in the next decade, including guest seating capacity, an oversized restaurant kitchen, underground pipes and power, and filtration capacity. Phases 2-5 feature some of the newest, most thrilling water rides in the world.  Phases 6-7 are additional parking. Exact ride selection will be made as new rides continue to be designed. The launch date of each phase will be announced as Roaring Springs attendance continues to grow.”

What is it like working on one of the largest water parks in the US?

“Beyond our pride in the size of the park, we are very proud of working on Roaring Springs because of the creative team of operators running the facility. Roaring Springs has done an amazing job over the many years of operation – penetrating the market, consistently keeping the park updated, and prioritising an outstanding guest experience year after year. As an operator, they are very aware of what sort of attractions and amenities resonate with their guests. For us, we were excited to go through the design process together because we were able to throw ideas back and forth, collaborate, build new concepts, and deliver an exciting, unique, and guest-centric first phase expansion at Roaring Springs. We’re also proud to announce that Roaring Springs’ expansion won a Leading Edge award at this year’s World Waterpark Association conference for one of the most innovative projects of the year.”

Image: ADG

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