IF YOU GO
What: SoakYa grand opening
When: 1-6 p.m. Monday, May 27
Where: Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park, 1730 Lakeview Drive, Rossville
Admission: $31.95 (admission good for wet and dry rides throughout park)
Days and hours at SoakYa will vary from Lake Winnepesaukah's. For the rest of this month, SoakYa will be open 1-6 p.m. Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Friday, May 30-31. Both the water park and amusement park will be on a six-day schedule in June and July (with the exception of Friday, June 7, when both will be closed). SoakYa's last day this season will be Labor Day. For the complete schedule, visit www.lakewinnie.com.
So you're planning to visit SoakYa, the new five-acre water park that opens Memorial Day at Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park.
What should you expect? And what should you bring?
Basically, a swimsuit, towel and sunscreen are all you need.
Float tubes and life jackets are provided free for those who plan to float down what Lake Winnie has dubbed the Crazy River, an 868-foot-long channel that surrounds the eight kids' and adults' water slides.
Or you can forgo the floatation device and just swim in the river, which is 3.5 feet deep.
"The water park can be as relaxing or as adventurous as you want it to be," says Lake Winnepesaukah spokeswoman Talley Green.
Highlights include the Coke Float Crossing, a cove off the river on which swimmers will try to walk across lily-pad-like floats that look like Coke, Fanta and Dr Pepper bottle tops.
The river flows at 3 to 5 miles per hour, says SoakYa supervisor Rick Doucett. A wave machine will stir the water up every 10 minutes.
Three waterfalls will douse floaters who choose to go into them at Lagoon Beach, the zero-entry beach (marked by a gradual slope into the water).
Various other jets of water will spray swimmers along the river's length.
Visitors may want to keep the following in mind.
• Swimsuits only: No street clothes will be allowed, especially blue jean shorts with metal rivets or other metal that could damage the slides. Wear a lined swimsuit.
• Weight restrictions:: You must weigh less than 250 pounds to go down a water slide alone. Two people sharing a tube will have a combined weight limit of 350 pounds. SoakYa's slides will be equipped with scales that won't give a visitor's weight but will show a green or red light depending on whether the weight limit's met.
"It's not the funnest part of the job," says SoakYa's general manager, Robin Doucett. But she says water parks around the country have weight limits for safety reasons.
• Bare feet only. SoakYa visitors must have bare feet. Swim shoes are prohibited because the traction might get a person's foot stuck on a slide, potentially causing injury.
The Crazy River, part of Lake Winnepesaukah's new water park, SoakYa, has a "lazy river" feel, but squirt stations along the way assure you’ll get wet. The 3.5-foot deep, 868-foot-long channel surrounds the eight kids’ and adults’ water slides.
• Kiddie Splash rules: Children must be at least 1 year old to play in the Kiddie Splash area, which has a pool 1 foot deep and four gently sloping water slides about 30 feet long on which parents can slide with their children. Kids need to be wearing swim diapers. The kiddie splash park has a separate water filtration system from the rest of SoakYa.
• Stowing swimsuits: Lockers will be available for $5, so visitors don't have to carry their swimsuits and towels on rides in the "dry" side of the park.
• Capacity crowd: If the weather's good, SoakYa's opening day should be busy. The water park can hold a maximum of 1,500. If it's full, though, visitors' entrance fee will still let them enjoy the "dry" side of the park.
Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at email@example.com or 423-757-6651.
Tim Omarzu covers Catoosa and Walker counties for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California. Stories he's covered include crime in blighted parts of metro Detroit and Reno, Nev.; environmental activists tree-sitting in California's Sierra Nevada foothills; attempts by the Michigan Militia to take over a township¹s government in northern Michigan. A native of Michigan, ...