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The $16.66 a day water park deal

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POSTED November 29, 2017 10:37 p.m.

There is no easy way to say this, so here goes: the Manteca Waterslides aren’t only long gone but they are passé to the nth degree.
It’s hard to admit it given Manteca had long been considered the birthplace of the modern waterslide produced after farmer Budge Brown vacationed in Hawaii decades before cell phones even were developed and came across some relatively primitive water slides.
Deciding he could do one better, he determined it was the perfect fit for the big hole he dug on his property to supply dirt needed to elevate the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 through Lathrop to serve as an emergency levee. That is how Oakwood Lake Resort and the Manteca Waterslides were born.
If Great Wolf opts to come to Manteca, they will be open for business roughly two decades after the Manteca Waterslides closed. A lot has changed in the waterpark world since then. The Browns were facing increased competition and rising costs — workmen’s comp was a killer.
And while there is a lot of nostalgia connected with Manteca Waterslides that’s about it save for the fact you can run into people in places like Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to this day and when they ask where you are from and you tell them Manteca in California there is still a chance they will say, “I know where that is. They have the Waterslides on the way to Yosemite.”
Today a run-of-the-mill waterpark like Splashland in Roseville charges $42.99 for an adult and $32.99 for a junior. A family of four pays $152.96 for a day’s worth of play. You can get a room today at the Great Wolf in Ground Mound in Washington and pay $199.99 and get a room for four to six people with two days of water park play. It would cost you $305.92 for two days at Splashland without a hotel room.
Put six people in that room and the per person cost drops to $33.33 or $16.66 per day for two days to use the water park.
So if you think it is unfair that you can’t access the water park except for twice a year on access days that would benefit Manteca non-profits without renting a room, you need to ask yourself several questions:
uDoes it really matter if there are 500 jobs created with an annual payroll of $18 million plus the fact guests primarily from the Bay Area will be paying taxes to help cover the cost of additional municipal services for Manteca residents such as expanded police and fire staffing?
uWhat’s wrong with renting a room?
I get that some people would like to spend $10 like they use to and drop the kids off for 10 hours as they could at Manteca Waterslides 20 years ago. But this is a destination resort, not Splashland or Raging Waters. If you’re looking for family fun you can grab four grandkids (or a combination of grandkids and their friends) to accompany you and your spouse for a stay at Great Wolf. For $33.33 a person — $9 less than an adult ticket to Splashland — you get two days of waterpark fun plus a hotel room.
Just like Manteca Waterslides was on the cutting edge back in the 1980s, Great Wolf’s second generation resort is in the cutting edge for the 21st century.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email

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