This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Water Parks Aren't Just Family Fun -- They're Family Run

CHICAGO ( MainStreet) -- "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood." That quote, from 19th century Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, might well be the motto for America's water park owners.

Over the past three decades, water parks have moved far beyond simple swimming pools and water slides. They have become sprawling attractions that cover acres, encompassing everything from multistory aquatic roller coasters to indoor, manmade waves for surfing.

In a world where most entertainment options are produced by large, multinational corporations, water parks are one area where smaller companies can compete -- and even beat -- the big guys.

But what visitors might not realize as they zip down the slides is that their vacation dollars are supporting an impressive number of family-run, independently owned businesses. In a world where most entertainment options are produced by large, multinational corporations, water parks are one area where smaller companies can compete -- and even beat -- the big guys.

One industry pioneer was Schlitterbahn, opened by Bob and Billye Henry near the Texas Hill Country in 1966. By gradually adding larger and more dramatic water slides, as well as expanding the definition of what it meant to go "innertubing," the resort became a model for others. Schlitterbahn now has three locations in Texas and one in Kansas City, Kan., with the three children of the founders involved in running the company.

Wilderness Territory, a sprawling development in the water park mecca of Wisconsin Dells, Wisc., is run by four grandchildren of Oliver "O.P." Helland, who started out running sightseeing tours by boat in the 1920s. Today, the resort includes a range of hotels (from luxury condos to rustic-style cabins), an 18-hole golf course, numerous restaurants, and -- of course -- indoor and outdoor pools and waterslides that cover a total of 500,000 square feet.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
YHOO $44.13 -0.69%
AAPL $124.25 -0.14%
FB $81.66 -0.67%
GOOG $542.56 -0.99%
TSLA $187.59 -0.63%

Markets

DOW 17,698.18 -77.94 -0.44%
S&P 500 2,059.69 -8.20 -0.40%
NASDAQ 4,880.2280 -20.6570 -0.42%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs