COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – The owner of a local water park says he saw something this summer he’s never seen before at his place.
Adults seeking a day of fun in the sun without their kids are now traveling across the country just to visit The Cove at Bear-X in College Station, and the unexpected spike in out-of-town guests is also catching the attention of city tourism officials.
“This summer is drastically different because we’re actually getting people that are coming from all over the US, from out of state and not just from Austin and Dallas and Houston,” said Heath Phillips, CEO.
For six seasons now The Cove has been a popular summer spot for locals: especially young to middle-aged adults but thanks to social media the tide is turning.
“It was a big shift and it was actually on May 8th this year that one of our guests who came out and posted a video on Tik-Tok and it was a short video that said ‘adults only water park on it and it got 2 and a half million views alone,” said Phillips. “I opened my email up one Saturday and we had hundreds of reservation inquiries coming through and thousands of more followers on Instagram within a day.”
Phillips realized the words “adults only” really resonated with adults who are looking for a place to go and have fun without children or young teenagers.
“It’s a place where you’re an adult, but you get to go and experience fun again like when you were a kid. As we get older and become adults, you know responsibilities increase and life can be tough and our opportunities to have fun and experience joy slow down. So, we created a place where you can come to still have that fun,” said Phillips.
Since its first viral video on Tik-Tok others have popped up on Facebook and other social media sites and recently the Houston Chronicle did a write-up story on the place.
The sudden boom in out-of-town business has also gotten the attention of the city’s tourism department.
“We’ve loved seeing the spike from the Cove over this past summer,” said Aubrey Nettles, Marketing Manager of Economic Development and Tourism at Visit College Station.
“It’s just tremendous for us, because when people come in, especially from out of town or out of state, not only are they going to that amenity, but they’re coming to our restaurants, they’re coming to our retailers and they ‘re staying overnight. They want to see more and more of College Station and that really is the goal,” Nettles said.
Phillips says after this summer season is over he plans to get with city officials to see how they can best capitalize on this attention for next summer.
He’s also looking at possibly expanding the park at its current location.
Currently, the park features a massive lazy river, VIP bungalow and cabana rentals, a proflow surfing machine, a wakeboard cable park, a swim-up bar, a pizza restaurant, yard games, and live music.
The Cove’s final day for this season is Sunday, September 11th.
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