Last updated: 01:33 PM ET, Wed June 17 2015

Wet 'n Wild Orlando Waterpark to Close Permanently in 2016

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | June 17, 2015

Wet 'n Wild Orlando Waterpark to Close Permanently in 2016

Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando Resort

After nearly four decades in operation, Universal Orlando announced on Wednesday that Wet 'n Wild Orlando waterpark will close at the conclusion of 2016.

In a statement on its official blog, the resort said the park will officially close on Dec. 31, 2016.

But given the timing of the announcement, the disappointment over the end of Wet 'n Wild Orlando is arguably equal to the excitement surrounding the 2017 arrival of Universal's next-generation waterpark Volcano Bay, which Universal unveiled plans for last month. 

"...the groundbreaking spirit that has defined Wet 'n Wild will continue in the development of Universal's Volcano Bay, a next-generation water theme park that reimagines what it means to be a water park," said Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Schroder in a statement. "We’re grateful to our countless fans and team members for making Wet 'n Wild such a special place for so very long."

Opened in March 1977, the 30-acre Wet 'n Wild Orlando is open year-round, boasting more than a dozen different attractions. 

Universal Parks & Resorts purchased the waterpark back in 1998 and just recently purchased 50 acres of land under and around the park for $30.9 million. "We are pleased with Wet 'n Wild as a component of our business, and this purchase was a natural step for us," said Schroder following the purchase in June 2013 via the Orlando Sentinel. "Beyond that, we don't discuss our business transactions."

Prior to the emergence of nearby Walt Disney World's Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, Wet 'n Wild was the U.S.'s premier waterpark, posting the nation's highest attendance figures for a majority of the 1990s. 

But Wet 'n Wild drew just over 1.2 million visitors in 2012, putting it behind it well behind Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, which combined to host four million visitors that year, according to consulting firm AECOM via the Sentinel. 

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