Wichita's new water park is 9th biggest in U.S.

Written by Amy Palser

Wichita’s newest water park is part American Ninja Warrior, part day-at-the-lake — and all refreshing summertime fun. Since opening in May, Splash! Aqua Park has been cooling off folks of all ages with its exciting inflatable obstacle course featuring slides, runways, jumping pillows, catapults, ramps, ladders and more.

“It’s a really fun, healthy and high-energy summer activity,” said owner Cole Kalkbrenner. “You’re definitely going to have a smile on your face.”

The obstacle course is the perfect adventure for thrill-seeking teens and adults, but it’s also kid friendly for children 5 and up. There’s a sandy beach with chairs, tables and umbrellas where parents can watch their kids on the obstacle course, and younger children can build sand castles and play in the zero-depth entry water. They also have paddleboards to rent for use around the lake, as well as paddleboard yoga. Keep an eye out for pop-up fitness classes and yoga coming soon!

Cole said inflatable water courses have been popping up around the country. “There were 27 aqua parks in the U.S. when we started this season, and there are 33 now,” he said. “We are considered the ninth largest in the country, and we’re the best value in the world for our size.”

Participants pay by the hour and get a wristband and life jacket before making their way out to the obstacle course. With around 30 different obstacles, guests can do everything from launch their friends into the water on a Blast Bag, scramble up the giant Escalade Summit, or swing into the water from the 35-foot Skyrocket swing.

“It’s like American Ninja Warrior on the water,” said Cole, referring to the popular NBC show in which competitors tackle a challenging obstacle course. “You can take it as seriously as you want or just enjoy the lake life. You can master the obstacles or just walk around them. We have something for everyone.”

Cole and wife Erin, who are both professional water skiers, have firsthand experience with inflatable water parks. They managed a similar park, Stoney Aqua Park, while living in New South Wales, Australia, and said it was a popular attraction and a blast to be part of.

The couple was in Wichita in June 2018 to coach, promote, plan and execute the Goode Water Ski National Championships and the America’s Cup Invitational, both of which took place in August 2018 at Mystic Lakes in Maize. During that time, the Kalkbrenners fell in love with Wichita, bought a house in College Hill and started dreaming about bringing an aqua park to ICT.

“One reason we love Wichita is there’s so much to do here,” said Cole, who hails from St. Louis. Erin grew up in Kansas City. The couple also loves the water skiing opportunities in Wichita. “The topography of all these little sandpits is just great. We can water ski on perfect man-made lakes.”

A sandpit in south Wichita turned out to be the perfect place for the aqua park. The Kalkbrenners prepped the sandpit by lowering the water level, using professional divers to inspect it and cleaning out the lake bottom. They also trucked in 100 tons of fine sand for the beach. Cole said the sandpit has a sandy bottom, not a mud bottom like a lot of lakes.

“It’s a crystal clear sandpit with great visibility. Bring your energy and come play!”

Splash! Aqua Park
860 W. Steeple Bay Parkway
Wichita, KS 67217

Instagram and Facebook: @splashict

Open daily through Labor Day

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