Remember skipping across the water like a tossed rock after riding your toboggan down Banzai Banzai, grabbing your raft-mate's foot and scaring them shit out of them in the Black Hole slide, and staring up for the very first time at the towering Der Stuka freefall with trunks-crapping fear?
Whether you were a local with a season pass, or a frequent visitor (like myself) whose favorite part of driving on the Strip was being the first to spot the water slides, Wet 'n' Wild was the ultimate symbol of Vegas summers and a training ground for young thrillseekers. Though its end was nigh at the time, we all lost a little bit of our childhood when the water park was closed and torn down for good in 2004.
The 2011 announcement of the $50-million Splash Canyon water park near Sunset Road and the I-215 did little to live up to the prevailing nostalgia for Wet 'n' Wild, especially since plans for the former revealed about half the amenties of the latter. Nonetheless, Splash Canyon will likely feel more pressure to live up to the legacy of its Vegas predecessor thanks to today's news: It's taking the Wet 'n' Wild name.
Smart move. Not only does this stir some excitement for the delayed project -- to Australian entertainment group Village Roadshow's credit, the postponed Memorial Day weekend opening enabled it to plan for additional attractions -- but it creates more goodwill among longtime residents for whom the association to their adolescence may mean season passes for their families. After all, as Red Rock Resort can attest, it's not easy getting Strip-stomping tourists to pay $50 for a cab ride to Summerlin.
Today's news also included plans to tip the attraction tally over 25 with the first North American Rattler, a "megatube" raft/slide. Which we'll happily queue up for in May 2013, the scheduled opening for Wet 'n' Wild 2.0