SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Schlitterbahn is getting new owners.
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company is acquiring Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort in New Braunfels and Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Galveston in a deal worth $261 million cash.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to bring these two award-winning Texas water parks into the Cedar Fair family,” said Richard Zimmerman, Cedar Fair’s president and CEO. “These properties represent new markets for us with attractive demographics in the growing Central Texas region, and they align with our strategy to identify compelling opportunities to accelerate our growth and profitability.”
Michael Russell with Cedar Fair’s Investor Relations division told KTSA News there are no plans to change the name of the parks, but they do expect to make improvements at existing facilities.
“And also in the areas that would matter in New Braunfels like the accommodation side of things, as well as food and beverage facilities,” said Russell.
Do they plan to keep current employees?
“For the 2019 key operating season, we largely expect it to be business as usual where the Schlitterbahn employees are concerned,” Russell told KTSA News.
Schlitterbahn Waterpark on the banks of the Comal River in New Braunfels has been named the “Best Water Park in the World” by Amusement Today for 21 consecutive years. The park features more than 50 attractions and 221 rooms across a wide array of accommodations on more than 70 acres. Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston features more than 30 attractions, including the Transportainment river system that combines three unique rivers into a floating adventure.
The agreement with Schlitterbahn also gives Cedar Fair Entertainment the right to acquire an additional 40 acres in Kansas City, Kansas for an additional $6 million cash.
“Should we choose to exercise that right to acquire the Kansas City property, we would look to redevelop and rebrand it in an effort to take advantage of the rapid development that’s happening around the property and its proximity to Worlds of Fun Amusement Park in Kansas City, Missouri,” Russell told KTSA News.
The future of the Kansas Schlitterbahn location has been in limbo and the park has not reopened for the 2019 season. In 2016, 10-year-old Caleb Schwab was killed while riding Verruckt, a 17-story water slide that was billed as the tallest water slide in the world. The ride was torn down and criminal charges were filed against the Schlitterbahn owners . Those charges have been dropped.