OLD FORGE — The Empire State Development Corporation will provide $500,000 to help fund an expansion at the Enchanted Forest Water Safari Resort on Route 28.
The funding, state officials said, will help expand and enhance the globally recognized theme park as the resort adds three new water slides and replacing two older slides, Killermanjaro and Serengeti Surf Hill, among other improvements.
Enchanted Forest Water Safari attracts over 200,000 visitors annually from all over the United States and Canada, as well as other countries, officials said, adding that according to the travel website TripAdvisor the water park is ranked the 4th best in the U.S. and 17th worldwide. The funding, from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, is expected to increase traffic significantly in the region, officials added.
“Tourism stimulates economic growth and job creation, and the expansion of Enchanted Forest Water Safari will help boost tourism at attractions throughout the Mohawk Valley,” said Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development president, CEO and commissioner.
“We are thrilled to have the support of New York’s Empire State Development for this exciting new expansion project. It’s a win-win for everyone, most of all for our guests and for the region,” said Katie Wojdyla, Enchanted Forest Water Safari vice president and director of marketing.
Construction is slated to begin in September and to be completed for the start of the 2020 summer season next June.
The three new state-of-the-art water slides will include:
A new four-lane, 300-foot mat slide with loops to replace the current mat slide;
A 200-foot speed slide, with a drop launch pad to replace the current Killermanjaro; and
A new 295-foot speed slide with loops and a drop launchpad.
The expansion project includes demolition of the current slides, re-engineering and construction of the new slides, as well as the re-engineering of the water pumps and filtration equipment, officials said.
Enchanted Forest Water Safari is also inviting guests to visit before the end of the summer for a last chance to ride Killermanjaro and Serengeti Surf Hill.
“Killermanjaro and Serengeti Surf Hill have provided millions of rides and memories to guests since 1988, and we look forward to continuing that tradition with our new rides,” Wojdyla said, adding the popular attractions will remain in service until the park closes for the season on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2.
Enchanted Forest Water Safari is New York’s largest water theme park with more than 50 rides and attractions, including 32 water rides, officials said. The park also features classic amusement rides, games and a scenic walking trail featuring legendary storybook characters.
“Enchanted Forest Water Safari is a regional draw that enhances the economy of the area and the state. I am proud to support this project that provides jobs and tourism dollars to the Town of Webb in Herkimer County and I look forward to the park’s completion,” said Assemblyman Robert J. Smullen.
“Enchanted Forest Water Safari is a true gem in the 49th Senate District and throughout the region and I am glad that the state could support their expansion and continued positive growth for generations to come,” said state Sen. James Tedisco.
“We are thrilled to have such a world-renowned tourist destination right in our back yard and are equally thrilled by their success. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for supporting the attractions that truly make Herkimer County unique and great,” said Bernard Peplinski Sr., chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature.