Sailfish Splash Water Park in Stuart partners with local hotels, brings in more than $1 million

STUART, Fla. -- "You want a jelly sandwich?" Menette Colón asks her 21-month-old son, Gavin.

The pair visits Sailfish Splash Water Park in Stuart about once a week.

"No fear of the water. Loves all of the slides," Colón smiles, as she talks about Gavin.

The stay-at-home mom from Port St. Lucie says it's great to see her son enjoy the water but even better to watch him grow.

"Every single time he comes here, he just discovers something new, and that's priceless," says Colón.

The Colóns are two of the nearly 13,000 season pass holders. The park, run by Martin County, reached $1 million in revenue last weekend.

The park's marketing director, Craig Anderson, says he's drawing from his private sector background to draw in the crowds.

"We're going to run it like a business, a for-profit business, and at the same time, the tax payers get the benefit because now we have an additional attraction," said Anderson.

It's an attraction actual businesses want in on.

Stuart's Courtyard by Marriott is one of four local hotels that has signed on to sell Sailfish Splash tickets.

Hotel customers can buy a night's stay, bundled with two park tickets. 

"We hope that this will be just the stepping stone for more packages and more exposure to the things to do in Martin County," said Jacque Lewis, general manager of Courtyard by Marriott, Stuart.

The park is also negotiating with nonprofits, in an effort to promote each other. And 21 Walgreens stores from north Palm Beach County to St. Lucie County are marketing and selling tickets.

"This water park, both the splash playground as well as the competitive area, has satisfied a long, unmet need," said Anderson. Aside from the water park, there is a 50-meter, Olympic-sized pool on site.

Anderson says satisfying that unmet need is a big part of the park's success. He says young families just needed a place nearby to play. 

"I think that this was the right idea and the right thing to do for the community," said Colón.

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