Ah, December. It's finally cold enough to pass as a subtropical cryotherapy session and the rain is coming down in frigid sheets. But despite the seasonal wonders of Houston, the Texas waterpark industry has not gone dormant while the lifeguards have been shipped back to college.
Instead, by the time summer heats up enough to melt the plastic off your steering wheel and leaves you screaming take me to the (lazy) river while assessing the burn wounds on your palms, there will be two new realities concerning aquatic amusement.
The first is that a new waterpark is heading to New Caney. It's called Big River Waterpark and it's expected to open in summer 2018, with groundbreaking at the Highway 59 and 242 intersection happening next week, December 14. Big River is the newest phase of a 62-acre amusement park and sports complex called Grand Texas that will also include four hotels, an RV resort, and some retail development, though all that will take another two years to complete, according to ABC13. The park's Speedsportz Racing Track go-kart facility already debuted in 2016.
Big River is reportedly inspired by—you got it—Texas rivers and indeed will have a long lazy river, which sounds very relaxing until you factor in the probability of middle schoolers with access to nachos, Snapchat and intertubes.
Meanwhile, the future of Texas waterpark favorite Schlitterbahn seems rather up in the air, with a location on North Padre Island attempting to stave off foreclosure. As the Houston Chronicle reports, the developers Upper Padre Partners are being forced by U.S Bankruptcy Court in San Antonio to sell the Corpus Christi property by the end of January, or it will head to a foreclosure auction in February—much like 270 acres of land surrounding the resort that just went to the chopping block on December 5 as collateral.
Whether new owners are operating the waterpark by summer or it's on the way to being America's next great abandoned tourist attraction, this cannot be good for the Galveston location, seeing as the bankrupt partners consist of Schlitterbahn owners, Gary and Jeff Henry, who have been infighting with partner and Padre Island landowner Paul Schexnailder, while a bankruptcy court judge describes them as "bleeding cash."