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Friday marked Hawaiian Falls’ opening day for its summer season and its first full summer offering a bar, with a two-drink maximum, along with its other concessions.
Since the park closed last year for the off-season, it has made improvements to its pools and added amenities including extra cabanas, televisions and a stage for live music.
“From the time the park closes to the time it reopens, we focus on adding and improving things, painting, repairing, upgrading the slides, things of that nature,” said spokesman Ron McKenzie. “So our goal is for the park to look better than it did last year. That’s what our team has focused on in the park.”
The food pavilion has also been renamed and given a new theme. As for the new stage, McKenzie said the plan is to have live entertainment periodically throughout the summer.
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Waco Parks and Recreation Director Jonathan Cook said the city is excited to see the Hawaiian Falls open for the summer.
“ProParks management continues to invest in that park to make it a premier attraction for Waco, and we are excited to open them and see the improvements,” Cook said. “They’ve done a lot of maintenance updates this year to really make the facility shine, so they’re committed to making it a success.”
ProParks has operated the city-owned water park property since 2018 and has been under the Hawaiian Falls brand since 2012.
Hawaiian Falls also obtained a liquor license in August of last year.
“It’s something that we’ve been partnering and working with the city on for quite some time, something that our guests have been asking for,” McKenzie said. “So we worked very closely with the city and we were actually able to get the liquor license at the end of last season.”
The park is also implementing a two-drink maximum in an effort to maintain its family-friendly atmosphere.
“We want to offer liquor as another way that people can enjoy the park,” McKenzie said. “But we also want to make sure we keep our hearts on safety and family fun.”
McKenzie said the park is “fully staffed and ready to go” for the summer, though with 300 to 400 hires in the peak season, it’s always hiring, McKenzie said.
“When school ends, our personnel situation really improves. … Many times we are people’s first job, the first opportunity to work,” she said. “We’re excited to be that for the community as well.”
Hawaiian Falls also hosts community-oriented events and specials, such as school supply drives, Polar Plunge fundraisers for Special Olympics, and swimming lessons throughout the summer.
“We continue to look for other ways to work and support the city when we really are community water parks. That is in our hearts,” McKenzie said. “So, in all the communities that we’re in, we try to work with area charities, the chamber of commerce, cities and school districts and find ways that we can partner to better the community.”
The park at 900 Lake Shore Drive will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, closing later on Friday and Saturday, most weeks through mid-August, and then on weekends through mid-August. of September.