Darien Lake opens water park with a splash

May 20, 2016

As temperatures soared into the 70s, Darien Lake launched the start of its 2016 water park operating season with a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new water thrill ride, RipCurl Racer.

The ride opened today to season pass holders and will be available to the general public Saturday.

“This year we’ve invested more than $1.5 million into the park, so we can bring even greater value and excitement to our guests,” said Chris Thorpe, general manager at Darien Lake, adding that the RipCurl Racer was part of the investment made to the park.

“Bringing in RipCurl Racer, the third new thrill ride to join the park’s line-up over the past year, is really exciting for us,” Thorpe said in a press release. “The continued growth and expansion at Darien Lake is a testament to our dedication to providing guests with the best entertainment value in the region.”

“The continued investment that Darien Lake makes to our region shows why they are the number one family entertainment destination in Western New York because they continuously invest in the park and upgrade the park,” said Tom Turnbull, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce president. “There are nearly one million visitors that visit here every year, and last year I believe was the best in five years at Darien Lake, and I expect this year to be even better.”

Turnbull said tourism is an important industry in Genesee County and estimates there is over $150 million in visitor spending every year, and Darien Lake plays an important role in that.

“That doesn’t just mean money in spending, but jobs,” Turbull said. “Darien Lake is the number one seasonal employer in all of New York state, which is amazing.”

The ride, according to a fact sheet released by Darien Lake, is 42 feet high and is 294 feet in length. Riders race head-first down the six lanes on mats into the dark, twisting lanes before soaring into the open air trying to snatch victory. The ride lasts about 24 seconds, although this varies by weight.

“When you first go in, you get stuck a little bit,” said Michael Neid, a Batavian who was one of the first six riders. “The guy said push up; he really meant push up. If you get it right the first time and lie down like they tell you to, you go really fast. I pulled up right at the end and got some serious air.”

Neid said the ride was a bit of a speed ride, and the water was a bit cold going down and if riders don’t mind that, “it’s awesome.”

The park is open until Sept. 25, and Darien Lake’s 2016 season pass not only includes unlimited admission all season long, but, according to a press release, four free in-park concerts headlined by Jacob Whitesides and Laura Marano on May 28, Rachel Platten on June 4, Sabrina Carpenter on June 25, and Daya and Shawn Hook on July 2; an all-new Ignite the Night Laser Show; and family dive-in movies at the wave pool.

For more information, visit www.DarienLake.com

By MALLORY DIEFENBACH, The Batavia Daily News