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September 3, 2014

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Hundreds splash their way through holiday at Cowabunga Bay

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L.E. Baskow

Elysian Fields and Andrew Huskey of Las Vegas complete the Point panic slide during opening day at Cowabunga Bay on Friday, July 4, 2014, in Henderson.

Cowabunga Bay Opens in Henderson

Opening day water sliders at Cowabunga Bay, the new water park in Henderson with over 25 rides & attractions on Friday, July 4, 2014.  L.E. Baskow Launch slideshow »

The line had already passed the ticket counter, a 1960s-era station wagon and was snaking its way through the parking lot at about 10:30 a.m. when the first guests were allowed in Cowabunga Bay.

The Henderson water park celebrated its grand opening today, with about 2,000 people expected to splash, slide and raft their way through the Fourth of July holiday.

Business went swimmingly, park officials said, and a light afternoon rain didn’t slow things down, as the attraction remained open.

Cowabunga Bay, located at 900 Galleria Drive, is styled after the colorful, Beach Boys-chic ‘60s surf culture. It features a 33,000-square-foot wave pool, a lazy river, a kids area and water slides.

“We’re really excited,” said Henderson resident Melissa Kiner, who had brought her two children for a day at the park. “We bought our passes in April. We didn’t care when they opened.”

The 23-acre, $23 million park was originally scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend, but construction delays pushed the opening back until today. Two water slides still have not been completed.

“We didn’t make Memorial Day, but we made July 4th,” said Chet Opheikens, vice president R&O Construction, which worked on the park.

Under a previous ownership group, the park was supposed to open by Memorial Day weekend last year, but developers stopped construction in April 2013. The park was sold in August to a Utah investor and the park’s current ownership, which includes the Huish Entertainment Group, resumed construction in January.

The opening of Cowabunga Bay comes about 14 months after the Wet ‘n’ Wild water park opened in southwest Las Vegas.

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