Friday, May 24, 2013 | 11:40 p.m.
Moments before the Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas water park opened on Friday, investor Roger Bulloch faced the crowd from a podium and realized his time was limited.
Kids in candy-colored swimsuits squirmed underneath the hot sun, while parents struggled to keep them still just a little bit longer. Behind Bulloch, water sprayed from the kid park and lifeguards in bright yellow shirts were settling into their posts at the top of the slides.
Bulloch knew what the kids were thinking; he had experienced the same thing as a kid, but he had a ribbon-cutting ceremony to do first.
“I know I’m standing between you and the water slides, so I’ll be quick,” Bulloch said.
After a brief speech from Bulloch, a word from Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager, as well as the ceremonial cutting of a swimwear-lined ribbon, the 41-acre park located on Fort Apache Road near the 215 Beltway was opened.
Children grabbed their friends and took off on a mad dash toward the tubes so they could be first in line for one of the 25 slides at the park, while lifeguards whistled and yelled at them to walk.
The moment, more than the ribbon cutting, marked the official arrival of a long-awaited water park in Las Vegas. The original Wet ‘n' Wild closed in 2004 after 20 years of operation, when developers planned to build a casino resort that was never finished.
Las Vegans were teased with other water parks to replace it like Disney and Universal Studios Las Vegas Wet, but the idea burst during the recession and nothing ever took Wet ‘n' Wild’s place. It wasn’t until October that the Australian entertainment giant Village Roadshow Ltd. announced plans to resurrect the Wet ‘n' Wild brand on Fort Apache.
The new park named “Wet ‘n’ Wild” includes towering slides, a 1,000-foot lazy river and a giant wave pool, while also offering similar features to the old park.
“The response and support for Wet ‘n’ Wild Las Vegas from the community, local government and business has been tremendous, and bodes well for an exceptional inaugural season,” said Village Roadshow Theme Parks CEO Tim Fisher in a press release.
Within 20 minutes after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the park was in full swing.
Every attraction — from the towering slides with such names as the Constrictor and Zip, Zap, Zoom — was filled with lines. Girls let out high-pitch screams as they went down the slides, while boys let out yelps of joy.
One kid soaked from head-to-toe running with his friends to another attraction shouted: “Awesome! Awesome!”
Wet ‘n’ Wild has returned to Las Vegas, just in time for summer.