Despite the fate of Tucson water parks like Justin’s Water World and Sports Park, Breakers Water Park has continued to push through a tough economy to stay afloat in Tucson since 1985.
Steve Miklosi, general manager and partner of Breakers since 2001, said the park has survived by embracing change.
“Each and every year we try to change and update things and make improvements,” said Miklosi. “In today’s market, it’s necessary to be ever-changing to stay up with the trends and new things coming out. We are of course a local water park, so sometimes its difficult when the new trends come with a price tag of two or three million dollars, but we look at patterns and trends of what individuals want to participate in when they go to a water park.”
This year, the 20-acre water park saw the introduction of its Rock Slide, an enclosed tube slide with various lighting and rock and roll sound effects.
“It’s a completely different experience that the guests encounters going down that slide as opposed to other slides,” said Miklosi. “Each time we choose an attraction, it’s with some thought in mind and some specifics of what market we are going after to fill a niche there.”
Miklosi said the Rock Slide has seen good results with both teenagers and adults. For children under the age of 12, Breakers said the Safari Bubbles, and attraction added last year, is a popular solution.
The attraction features a clear, seven-foot tall sphere that the individual gets inside and floats atop the water.
“The popularity of that attraction is phenomenal,” said Miklosi “Children have been known to wait to get that three or four minute experience for an hour.”
For guests seeking more of a thrill, the Riptide Slide, added in 2010 will certainly suffice. The park’s highest thrill ride, the slide stands 35-feet tall, capable of accelerating guests to 25 or 30 miles per hour.
“You literally go straight down on the sled,” said Miklosi. “The final aspect of that experience is when you get to the bottom, to the landing strip, you go about 120 feet on the sled, skipping like a stone across the top of the water. There are a multitude of expressions as guests go off the slide.”
Fifteen-year-old Stephan Correlia said the ride is the best in the park.
“There really isn’t another one like this one,” he said. “I go on it over and over again.”
Stephan’s mother, Theresa, said the water park is a family ritual.
“We come here all the time,” she said. “It’s a great way to stay cool during the summer, but for us, it’s also about being together as a family.”
Miklosi said seeing families come together is one of the best parts of his job.
“When you see a child asleep on a father’s shoulder, or when you see families spending an afternoon together, that’s rewarding,” he said. “It’s also nice getting compliments from families on how friendly our staff is.”
Much of Miklosi’s staff, made up of about 110 to 120 employees, is seasoned veterans of the park, as they return each summer, if asked.
The park has its own lifeguard certification program as well, making the park not only enjoyable, but also safe.
Looking forward, Miklosi said Breakers is currently working to bring “new entertainment” to the water park, but was unable to disclose further details as of yet.
Miklosi said Breakers would also be looking into much larger attractions and slides at future dates, as they aim to continue growing.
“We’ve seen more business grow at the corporate level and with the general public,” said Miklosi. “Hopefully, as Marana continues to grow, we will also continue to grow.”
Breakers caters to several corporate groups as well, including Raytheon, Comcast, and Circle K, among others. Coca-Cola recently signed a five-year sponsorship deal with the park as well.
Breakers is generally open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The park is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and closed Mondays.
For more information on Breakers Water Park, visit www.breakerswaterpark.com.