KATY, Texas – The largest privately owned water park to be built in the United States in a decade opens its doors just 30 minutes outside Houston.
The slides are already up and beckoning drivers on I-10.
In late March, the owners of the park gave a behind-the-scenes tour to KPRC 2 News’ Owen Conflenti in the final phase of construction.
The park’s five slide complexes are already up, and the day Conflenti visited, the concrete was being poured to create the 25,000-gallon wave pool.
“I'd say in terms of parks and entertainment, this will be the largest thing to hit Houston since Astro-World, and I'm not bashful to say it,” said Keith Dalton, one of the owners of the park.
Dalton and Texas A&M classmate Terry Hlavinka decided to build the park after working together on other construction projects.
“We wanted to do something that was fun and that would make a difference,” said Hlavinka.
They decided a family-friendly entertainment complex was needed in the burgeoning west side of Houston, so the idea of a water park in Katy was born.
It’s been a family venture for the longtime friends as well. Hlavinka’s oldest daughter was their first employee, and Dalton’s son has been working alongside the construction crews.
The theme is truly Texan, with a huge Texas flag on one of the park's six-person raft rides and a lazy river shaded by plants and shrubs from the Texas Hill Country.
“Our Texas river is to make it symbolize like you are floating down a Texas river like we all did as kids growing up,” said Dalton, who has a set of slides for the most daring guests named for him.
The "Duelin’ Daltons" are a set of speed slides with a trap door. Riders stand on the floor and after a countdown, the floor drops out and they are propelled down a winding flume to a splash pool below.
At another slide complex, an interactive slide game will allow visitors to shoot lasers at a game as they slide down, and compete against everyone else in the park.
The most notably Texan thing about the Typhoon Lagoon area, according to the owners, will be the food: true Texas barbecue.
The owners consulted with a well-known spit master and purchased all the equipment needed to smoke brisket every day on site.
Typhoon Texas will be the first and only water park in Texas with brisket smoked on the property every day.
“We're expecting people to come to the front door and say, ‘I don't necessarily want to go to the water park but I want to get a barbecue sandwich,'” said Dalton.
Typhoon Texas is expected to open Memorial Day weekend. Season passes are already available for sale online for $99. Single-day admission prices range from $35 to $45.