Atlantic City's Showboat Resort Opens Waterpark; Will It Boost Family Travel?

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  • The property includes 11 water slides.
  • Wave simulators and a lazy river are also on-site.
  • Six bars are open for adults.

Having opened as a casino hotel in 1987, the Showboat Atlantic City was a popular destination for guests for many years. By 2014, the casino had closed and no longer offered gaming. Two years later, the venue was reopened in 2016 without gaming. Owner Bart Blatstein was determined to bring a different type of gaming to Atlantic City and has opened the world's largest beachfront indoor waterpark.

Will ISLAND Waterpark be successful? Can the Showboat bring in travelers without offering casino gaming?

New Waterpark Open for Business

Blatstein had plans to add a casino back to the Showboat but was shut down due to a deed restriction placed on the venue by Caesars Entertainment. The developer had to think outside the box and decided to bring a waterpark to the boardwalk town.

It was a smart idea since areas like Atlantic City and Las Vegas are trying to add family-friendly and non-gambling activities to the roster. With options for kids and a non-gambling focus, it opens up the areas to more types of travelers.

The beachfront property cost $100 million to create and covers just over 100,000 square feet of space. It offers a year-round experience for families and individuals traveling to Atlantic City. The property has a retractable glass roof to open in the summer and close in the winter.

WhiteWater created the park and it features several attractions. There are 11 water slides on site, plus two play structures for kids, pools, a lazy river, dining, bars, lounge areas, and more. The property was supposed to open at the end of June but was delayed until July 4.

The cost to enter the property is $89 for daily general admission. From 4-8 pm, guests can pay a lower $69 rate. There is also a VIP option for $119. It will be interesting to see if the higher rate pushes out potential guests or brings in enough visitors to keep the venue afloat.

Bringing New Entertainment to Atlantic City

The water park was partially financed based on a tax incentive with the state. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority approved the plan in 2020 as part of the entertainment retail district. Rebates were provided over the next two decades as part of the deal.

For many years, Atlantic City has been a gambling destination. Visitors come to enjoy the New Jersey casinos, play slots and table games, drink, and enjoy fine dining. As the years have progressed, the younger generation of travelers has shown less interest in traditional casino games. They want more types of entertainment, such as concert venues or water parks.

Casino operators are looking for new ways to entertain the younger crowd. In years gone by, visitors were more traditional and were happy to spin a standard slot. Today, visitors grew up with computers and cell phones, so they expect a more interactive way to enjoy entertainment.

Casinos have been spending more money on renovations and additions over the past few years to bring in new travelers. Outdoor concert venues, a Bass Pro Superstore, restaurants, and clubs are just a few additions to New Jersey gaming venues.

We don't expect Atlantic City to shy away from its casino roots, but adding new and exciting attractions is a great way to bring in families and other visitors. Many venues are currently working on updating hotels and the overall property to ensure that guests have an enjoyable experience while visiting.

It will be interesting to see if any new developments similar to the water park or other entertainment come to life in Atlantic City over the next few years as the area tries to create an overall destination experience.

Having started in 2005 as an online writer, Sadonna has focused on the online gambling industry, with a keen knowledge of various subjects. Sadonna has followed the growing US-based gambling industry for decades, covering all the legal changes in the nation as well as information on land-based and online casinos. She enjoys updating fellow gamblers on new games, casino bonuses, and additional information for premium gaming services. In her spare time, Sadonna loves spending time with her family and singing on Smule. Sadonna hopes to continue working in the online gambling industry and building quality articles for players to learn more about the US market.