Carowinds announces $50 million expansion

dworthington@heraldonline.com September 8, 2013 

The first phase of a $50 million expansion at Carowinds will bring two new water slides to Boomerang Bay and improvements to dining throughout the park.

Surfer’s Swell will be 45 feet high with a 263-foot slide. Riders will encounter an angled wall that mimics the sensation of catching an ocean wave, park officials said.

Dorsal Fin Drop will be four stories high with a 351-foot slide. Riders will gain speed through a curved tunnel that sends them into a bowl.

“It’s the spin of a lifetime,” Chris Kirby, the park’s marketing manager, said Saturday. “Like a shark circling its prey, guests spin and swirl before sliding into a corkscrew exit.”

This is the first set of improvements the park has made to Boomerang Bay since the Wave Pool was added in 2008, said Bart Kinzel, vice president and general manager for Carowinds.

Kinzel hopes the slides will increase the popularity of the park and expand its capacity, with more people buying two-day passes. Park officials did not estimate how many more visitors the rides will generate.

New dining in the park includes more healthy choices, such as gluten-free offerings, Carowinds officials said Saturday. More air-conditioned seating also will be added.

These improvements will cost about $10 million and be in place when the park opens for the 2014 season, said Bart Kinzel, vice president and general manager for Carowinds.

Saturday’s announcement was made to beach music with the park’s Peanuts characters dancing with children from the University City YMCA in Charlotte. About 15 children ages 6 to 10 will be enrolled in swimming lessons. The park is partnering with the Y, and if the kids pass their swim test, they will be the first to slide down the new rides.

Kinzel said the rides and new food options were in response to guests’ requests.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066

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