July 02--A steamy day with temperatures expected to approach 90 degrees was the perfect time for a water park to announce its birthday celebration.
Sandcastle Waterpark in Homestead turns 25 this season. Opened in July 1989, the park has grown to 15 water slides; three pools -- the Mon-Tsunami Wave Pool, Mushroom Pool and pint-sized Tad Pool; a relaxing Lazy River and Wet Willie's Waterworks.
The celebration continues through July 25 with contests and events, such as Radio Disney appearances, games and discounts. Specials will be announced on the Sandcastle website.
Sandy Och, a season-pass holder who has been visiting the park since it opened, and her 16-year-old daughter, Daria, like to race on the Blue Tubaluba, two dual-rider slides over 450 feet long.
"She usually wins," said Och of Baldwin. "We love coming here because it's close, and it's a very clean park. Just look at how clean the water is."
Her daughter, who enjoys every slide in the park, said it's a fun way to spend a summer day and is a great place to meet people, get a tan and stay cool.
Friends Leann Poliziani and Alex Mosco, both 14 of South Park, say coming to Sandcastle is a perfect way to spend a day with friends.
"We need more parks like this," Mosco said.
"It's a cool place with some cool slides," Poliziani said.
Other slides include the Dragon's Den, a two-person tube slide through a 45-foot tunnel that then drops riders into a 35-foot bowl, where they encircle a 9-foot dragon while being sprayed by a watery mist and before hitting the landing pool.
Thunder Run has three slides perched atop a 50-foot tower that are 400 feet long. The Cliffhangers has two 48-feet-high slides and three sky ponds. Tubers Towers is a pair of 46-foot-high slides that are 430 feet long.
Body slides include the Boardwalk Blasters where riders travel down a 25-foot slide and plunge into the 12-foot-deep pool below. The Lightning Express includes two slides that feature a 250-foot-long chute dropping from a 60-foot-high tower. The third is a giant free fall of 250-feet starting at 85 feet above the finish.
Those who have never been to the park "need to come and see what Sandcastle has to offer," said Melissa Kelly, marketing, group sales and public relations manager for Sandcastle. "It is more than a water park. It's a vacation in a day. Enjoy gorgeous views of the river, float along the Lazy River, ride one of the many slides or walk along the boardwalk. There is really something for everyone at Sandcastle."
Sandcastle is part of Palace Entertainment which owns and operates 40 theme parks, water parks and family entertainment centers nationwide, including Kennywood and Idlewild.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7889.
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