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Water park hopes to flood with more visitors

By Jeffrey Alcorta
On April 19, 2014

Since opening in 2005, Zehnder’s Splash Village in Frankenmuth has hosted tourists from across the state, country and around the world. The park currently features 25,000 square feet of indoor aquatic fun.

Zehnder's Splash Village water park in Michigan's little Bavaria hopes expanding their current facilities will not only bring more people, but an older age demographic. According to John Shelton, Vice President of Marketing and Sales for Zehnder's, age means everything.

“When we originally opened, the water park it was mainly geared towards toddlers and kids 12 to 13,” Shelton said. “This expansion is for teenagers and above seeking thrill and adventure, and we believe the consumer won't outgrow it.”

Zehnder's Splash Village is currently adding 30,000 square feet to the existing structure. A 58 foot tower being built inside the expansion site will be host to The Tantrum, a four person raft ride, and the Super Loop, a freefall water slide where the individual is released from a capsule and dropped 58 ft down and sends the rider around the toilet bowl shaped run-up.

Since the entire project is based around a higher age group, even the simplistic attractions of the expansion promise action. An action river being constructed will have water basketball, volleyball and water geysers.

According to an article published in the Detroit News, the state’s tourism industry is spending $4 million to market itself in Canada, China, Germany and the United Kingdom. Michigan is expecting its tourism industry to increase this summer.

Frankenmuth is Michigan's top tourist destination. An estimated three million people visit the town each year including over 2,000 motor coach tours. There are many annual events that attract visitors each year including the popular Snowfest which showcases international snow and ice sculptors competing for cash prizes.

News of the water park expansion is creating a buzz in the Tri-Cities.

“I haven't been to Splash Village in at least five years. Mainly because I've outgrown most of the fun parts of the water,” said park visitor Alana Sly. “If everything is true about what is being added to the water park, I will definitely be one of the first in attendance once the park is completed.”

The total cost of the project is $20 million. Zehnder's of Frankenmuth received loans to help pay for the expansion through their partnership with First Merit Bank and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“There is no free money, and we are very lucky and very blessed that we have a lending team that believes in our vision of success,” Shelton said.12

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