By Lorelei Stevens, Cape Cod Times, August 2, 2016
HYANNIS — What’s the best thing about the new Cape Codder Water Park?
“The water slide,” said 12-year-old Craig MacDonald. “It was a lot of fun. It’s fast.”
Visiting Monday on a day trip from their Marshfield home, Matt and Leakkanyka MacDonald and their two sons were among the first to enjoy the expanded water park, which opened quietly Friday afternoon.
Sitting in a large sunny space under the open retractable glass roof, they were having a poolside lunch at the Gazebo Café while other visitors floated by on clear inflated tubes or flew down three stories on the double water slides.
Five-year-old Mikkel said his favorite part was dunking his head in the lazy river, while his mom appreciated gliding under the river’s warm waterfalls.
“We were here while they were building it,” Matt MacDonald said. “I highly recommend it. There’s a lot more to do.”
The water park is the culmination of 10 years of planning, nearly a year of construction and an investment of around $6 million by the Catania family, which owns the Cape Codder Resort & Spa on Iyannough Road where the park is located.
“The goal is to keep the hotel full year-round and to bring a year-round attraction to the Cape,” said Bill Catania, president of the Catania Hospitality Group.
See video from the new water park here.
The latest construction is a 20,000-square-foot addition to the resort’s inner courtyard that connects to its existing 10,000-square-foot wave pool, water slide and whirlpool area.
The new space houses two, 160-foot high-speed water slides. Adventurists climb 26 feet on a wide enclosed staircase inside a lighthouse-like structure, grab the launch bar and fly down the twisting slide tubes into the splash pool below.
The 300-foot-long river circulates around the lighthouse, lazy in parts and stormy in others. The adjacent Pirate’s Bay Kiddie Area is an enclosed play space, 5 inches deep with geysers and water cannons, especially for young children.
All activities take place under the watchful eyes of eight to 15 lifeguards depending on how busy it is, Catania said. The expanded water park is creating more than 50 additional jobs, most of them year-round, he added.
Rather than hiring a theme park company, Catania designed the park himself and worked with pool and lighting vendors to build the facility. The waterworks are “super clean,” he said, with an ultra-efficient filtration and ultraviolet light system that produces hardly any chlorine odor.
The area is bordered by Cape-inspired motifs — gingerbread cottages representing Martha’s Vineyard, a dune photo mural evoking the Outer Cape, a fish monger and a surf shop storefronts.
“I wanted to make something unique for Cape Cod and our property,” Catania said.
Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce CEO Wendy Northcross said water parks are popular amenities in other parts of the country and predicted this one would be an all-ages, all-season draw for the area.
“We think it is a great addition to the Cape’s accommodations offerings,” she said. “It really appeals to a family market.”
The resort also has created four family suites with separate sleeping areas and bathrooms for parents and children, kitchenettes, Murphy beds and convertible couches. Company vice president Debra Catania worked with local artist Cris Reverdy to decorate the units with a distinctive beach theme.
Water park admission is included in the room rate for resort guests. Day passes are available for $40 per person and $30 per child under 48 inches tall. And the resort plans to offer discounted memberships to locals starting in the fall.
The entire facility, which also features several observation decks, is big enough for several hundred people to lounge, swim and play in at any one time. The café offers a full bar and, Catania added, the dynamic and colorful lighting system transforms the place once the sun goes down.
“It’s a different park at night,” he said.