May 27--Perhaps it is the beach, the speed slides or the lazy river. Then again it could be the wave pool, children's area or platform diving boards that secured Point Mallard a spot on the "14 of the Greatest Water Parks in America" list.
Built on the Tennessee River, the water park, a vision of then Decatur Mayor J. Gilmer Blackburn, opened in 1970 with America's first wave pool.
"We lived on Stratford Road and would drive our station wagon to a dirt mound and look at what would become the park. My dad said, 'What do you think we should call it?' My mom said 'Point Mallard,' " said Gay Blackburn Maloney, daughter of J. Gilmer Blackburn.
The park opened for its 44th season Saturday and will remain open until Labor Day.
According to the list, the Decatur aquatic center made it because "Point Mallard is a great outing for the whole family. There's a sandy beach, speed slide, and even a campground where you can park your RV."
Park marketing director Julianne Hansen said, "What makes us unique is that family atmosphere. There's just so much to enjoy and its affordable."
The Coppertone-sponsored list also included:
Wet 'n Wild in Orlando, Florida
Big Surf in Tempe, Arizona
Wildwater Kingdom, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Water Country USA, Williamsburg, Virginia
Raging Waters, San Dimas, California
Kalahari Resort, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Water World, Federal Heights, Colorado
Island Waterpark, Fresno, California
Schlitterbahn, New Braunfels, Texas
Holiday World and Splashin' Safari, Santa Claus, Indiana
Great Wolf Lodge, Poconos, Pennsylvania
Hurricane Harbor, Jackson, New Jersey
Splish Splash, Riverhead, New York.
Catherine Godbey can be reached at 256-340-2441 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @DecaturLiving.
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