The Dothan City Commission on Tuesday unanimously approved increases for Water World ticket prices, rental fees and season passes for the first time since 2008.
Water World has always operated at a deficit, but the city is hoping to make it a profitable enterprise that will attract tourists.
“Like probably every park that we have, they don’t typically make money. Matter of fact, they (fees) don’t typically cover the expenses that it takes to run it as is in the case of Water World,” Mayor Mark Saliba said. “It costs us a lot more (to run the parks).”
Using 2018 season prices as a comparison since 2019 season prices were reduced because of the triple-flume slide being retired, adult prices went up over 33%, from $12 to $16, while children’s tickets went up almost 56%, from $9 to $14.
Patrons will now be charged based on height. Adults are now considered anyone above 50 inches tall, and children will be charged if they are between 37 and 50 inches tall.
Senior citizens and toddlers below 37 inches tall, who were formerly given free entry, will be charged $2.
Aquatics manager Kelly Carter recommended the revised fee schedule based on similar water parks and the added value people would be getting with the new triple flume and bowl slides expected to be completed before Memorial Day.
Carter believes the prices will help the city recoup most of its day-to-day operational costs and is a step toward making Water World profitable.
In addition to the new slide, the city is expected to approve funding for expanding the kiddie pool area soon.
“We feel very strongly that this new phase will increase the amount of people that will come into Water World, and we feel like it will provide another great venue for people to come and see in Dothan to come and take part in it,” Saliba said. “We’re very excited about those prospects.”
Also a part of the approved fees, the price of individual season passes decreased to $60, down from $85 in 2018, based on an individual market study. Carter noted that Water World does not sell many single-person passes.
Further pricing changes for immediate families are:
» Two-person, $115; $15 decrease.
» Three-person, $170; $10 increase.
» Four-person, $225; $45 increase.
» Five-person, $280; $80 increase.
» Six-person, $335; $115 increase.
Special citizens will be charged $10 for season passes, which are valid for 70 to 90 days depending on the season. A two-week preseason sale will discount tickets to $50 per person.
Pavilions can be rented in halves for $75 or as a whole for $150, a sharp increase from the $35 that was previously charged. Cabana rentals, which will be new to Water World, are suggested to cost $50 a day.
Fees for tube rentals are up to $3, with $1 being a refundable deposit for returning the float by the end of the day under the proposed plan.
The cost for private parties increased from $500 an hour to $750 an hour, with the provision that each person over 400 people would cost an additional $2.
The city also adopted a schedule for the 2020 season’s hours of operation, which will keep Water World closed Mondays.The park will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 1-5 p.m. Sundays.