What are the costs involved in opening a waterpark?
Costs associated with taking on such an endeavor will depend largely on your short and long-term goals for the park. Your first, and most important investment, will be in land. When choosing your location, carefully research the areas you’re considering. Choose a well-populated areas, centrally located for easy customer access. If your vision is to operate a large tourist attraction, choose a city with an airport. Visitors arriving from other states, cities, and countries will be ready to start their experience. If they have to travel several additional hours to get to their final destination, they may decide to make other plans. Experienced waterpark owners recommend purchasing between 8 and 15 acres of land, depending upon what type of waterpark you plan to build:
Indoor parks average approximately 8-10 acres, with an average building size of almost 25,000 square feet.
Outdoor parks require 13-15 acres
An indoor-outdoor facility would need 9-12 acres, with an average building size of 23,000 square feet.
Once you’ve purchased the land, meet with an experienced consultant and contractor to begin the planning process.
Construction costs will vary depending upon how large of a facility you wish to build and where in the country you’re building, but average between $250 and $600 per square foot. Reports indicate an indoor park with 2720 square feet would set you back almost $690,000. Included in these costs are: building, HVAC, pools, mechanical, snack bar, supporting areas, theming, and waterslides and recreation equipment. For the same construction services, a 9450 square foot indoor park would run close to $2.5 million, averaging $273 per square foot. Owners of exclusively outdoor park report startup costs of approximately $1.5 million.
Do not let these numbers discourage you. To save on costs, many park owners purchase enough land to fulfill their vision, but start out with the essentials that fit into their budget. As business picks up, they invest a portion of their profit back into the business, adding attractions over time. In addition to saving your startup budget, this also helps retain customers. Families are excited to return, as they're anxious to see what’s new. They start to feel as though they’re part of the process and will develop a loyalty that is unmatchable.