Want a peek at Manteca’s future?
Take a gander at Dells in Wisconsin.
It’s not simply the indoor waterpark Mecca of the free world with seven water parks, but it’s the ultimate family entertainment zone.
And while Great Wolf is still in the running to locate in Manteca there’s other players from the Dells doing some serious knocking on the doors of McWhinney Development to partner with the Colorado-based firm as the operator of a future resort built around an indoor water park on City of Manteca land between McKinley Avenue, Big League Dreams and the 120 Bypass.
Several of the operators of water parks in the Dells region have stepped up after Great Wolf in October got a new CEO that wanted to do some due diligence regarding possible Bay area locations just as the nearly three years of hurdles to clear environmental impact passage on a 500-room hotel with indoor and outdoor water parks along with a 20,000-square-foot conference center were completed. Some of their neighbors in Dells are now piggybacking on the exhaustive marketing research Great Wolf conducted on not only one of the nation’s highest income regions but the largest without a major indoor water park resort within easy driving distance.
Among the seven water park operators, one has gotten extremely serious with McWhinney in seeking the Manteca site.
There’s the Wilderness Hotel & Golf Resort on 600 acres. There are four indoor waterparks — one over 70,000 square feet, one that’s 70,000 square feet, one that’s 65,000 square feet and a slightly smaller one. That’s more water play space than the square footage of the Manteca Costco and Target stores combine. Altogether there are eight indoor and outdoor water parks including an adult’s only Margarita’s indoor/outdoor swim-up bar with 1,400 square feet of pool space. A number of the hotel rooms include two-person whirlpools in the bathrooms. There’s also mini-golf, laser tag, indoor go karts, rope course, and arcade.
There’s the Mt. Olympus. It has a 10-story water slide at Medusa’s Indoor Water Park complete with whirlpool and massive hot tub. There’s an indoor theme park with bumper cars, tea cups, roller coaster, rock climbing wall, laser tag, other amusement ride, and arcade games.
It also includes more than 1,500 rooms and camping sites including condo-style housing, cabins and tree houses. There are also nine restaurants.
Another resort — Noah’s Ark — is billed as America’s largest water park. It’s got several Wave maker pools that lets you surf as well as more water slides and pools than you can imagine.
One resort — the Kalahari Indoor Theme Park — is an all-inclusive family entertainment zone. It’s got an indoor waterpark, an outdoor waterpark, a cinema, 24 lanes of bowling, climbing wall, 6-story Ferris wheel inside a glass enclosure, laser tag, mini-golf, golf simulator, NASCAR simulator, carousel, go karts, kiddie bumper boats, ropes course, XD Dark Ride, Atomic Ruse, Revolution 360, hundreds of arcade games and more.
It also has a fitness center that puts some membership clubs to shame.
Then there’s the Metropolis Resort & Conference Center in Eu Claire that features the indoor Chaos Water Park as well as the Action City Family Fun Center. It feature’s the Midwest’s largest indoor go kart track, batting cages, laser tag, climbing walls, bumper cars, an 8,000-square-foot outdoor adventure maze, outdoor sprint cars, and six lanes of mini-bowling.
And let’s not forget Great Wolf that’s in the mix. In comparison, however, Great Wolf looks downright tame.
Although Manteca officials are tight-lipped, Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum said he’s pleased the operator that is now at the table with McWhinney has a business model that allows access to the water park and other attractions by paying non-hotel guests.
DeBrum said he was never pleased with Great Wolf only planning to have 24 days a year that you didn’t have to book a room to access the water park given the project involved the use of 30 acres of city-owned land. That also didn’t fly to well with a lot of Manteca residents.
But that’s not the only difference between Great Wolf and the new player.
They are interested in a significantly larger conference center — as much as 100,000 square feet or five times the size of the Great Wolf proposal. That’s more than three times larger than the vacant Best Buy store at Orchard Valley and would be the largest conference center between Sacramento and Fresno.
The new player also wants more than double the land — 67 acres. That means they’ve got more in mind than just an indoor and outdoor water park for family entertainment offerings.
DeBrum noted there’s a lot of work to do before a final deal is sealed.
Meanwhile the city is gearing up to start work in the coming months on placing sewer and water main lines, addressing storm system issues and extending roads such as Milo Candini Drive to serve the site and the rest of the family entertainment zone in the coming months.