View Full Version : Moving White Water Bay to the Oklahoma River

07-08-2005, 07:24 PM
Now is the perfect opportunity for Oklahoma City to provide some incentives for Six Flags to relocate White Water Bay from its current location in an industrial zone to the banks of the Oklahoma River. I'll post my cover story from my website,, to this thread. What are your feelings on this issue?

A RIVER OF DREAMS: Oklahoma River Has Unlimited Potential

Long ago, when Oklahoma City was born, our first residents often sought recreational refuge along the city's only riverside. Then, parks were created. Small rowing boats graced the winding river, its banks crowded by tries. Delmar Gardens was an intimate part of the then-North Canadian River. But on more than one occasion, torrential rains turned this graceful waterway into a churning and shifting rage of H2O, and the city was getting inundated. After decades of what city leaders saw as a liability rather than natural recreation, the mayor brought in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to solve the problem. Their solution was to clear the trees and brush, and straighten the waterway, which included widening the channel and altering the elevation to make sure water never crested the river's banks.

Somehow in the process, replanting the greenery was left out of the project, and Oklahoma City was left with nothing to show for but what was basically a drainage channel. Some city residents back in the pre-MAPS era didn't even know it was a river. Sometimes, you had to pretend it wasn't. But then came MAPS, and the dams, along with beautification. Now that the project is basically finished, visionaries are left wondering what's next. Along with the I-40 relocation project, the imagination is no doubt endless when it comes to what can go along the river, now navigable and attracting activity not seen since before rock'n'roll was born. Well, we know we're getting a major museum. We have Oklahoma's largest skate park and a boat house. This river, so young with so much potential, no idea or vision should go overlooked. How about some nice mid-rize apartments, or river-side residences, nothing suburban. Better yet, a bustling boardwalk with river-side clubs and restaurants. A film studio, perhaps?

Here's my idea of what should go along the river near downtown... Frontier City AND White Water Bay. Just think of a themed resort with both a western theme park and water park. After all, both Frontier City and White Water Bay are both currently in declining areas, or areas not appealing for such parks. Notice that White Water Bay is in an industrial area, as is Frontier City. But since the park owns 80 undeveloped acres next to the park, it's doubtful that relocation is somewhere in the cards. However, the water park idea is still worth pondering.

What city leaders need to focus on is making sure this river remains Oklahoma City's emerald jewel. Scenic beauty along our new waterway will no doubt attract a lot of attention, from both visitors and potential investors. Even after the completion of the river project, the first sights you see when coming into downtown north-bound on I-35 is an empty field to your right and an empty field with a couple of oil talks to your left. Not so inviting. Now, imagine coming into downtown on I-35 and seeing the Native American Cultural Center on your right and White Water Bay on your left, with the Oklahoma Medical Center, State Capitol Complex and the downtown skyline lying ahead. Now that's a welcome sight.

Another key feature city leaders need to work on are the bridges that cross the Oklahoma River. Not to mention the watermained and other infrastructure that criss-cross the river. Those bridges are basic, run-of-the-mill structures. Nothing to write home about. City leaders can, through MAPS III (which we all agree should focus on beautification) raise funds to spruce up our bridges over the river, and give them some architectural splendor. Relocate the infrastructure to remove clutter. This will give our river a much better ambience, as well as add to the overall quality of any future private development. And, give each bridge a unique name to add character. These types of visions will make more than just a river, it will be a true regional destination.

07-08-2005, 08:54 PM
This is a very good idea, although I think it would be great if both parks were moved to the riverfront and it could be a combined theme park-water park called (in a nod to history) Six Flags Delmar Gardens. It would have the distinction of being the newest Six Flags park as well as the "hometown park" for Six Flags, Inc. And then the corporate headquarters could also be moved riverside, just down from the Dell complex.

I think this is a very good idea. How can we push something like this?

07-08-2005, 08:54 PM
okcpulse for Mayor

07-08-2005, 10:39 PM
Fantastic idea!

That property in Edmond is much more valuable than when they acquired it. I'm sure they'd find plenty of buyers...

OKC should give them the land on the river (or have them pay a low-cost lease) similar to the Native American Cultural Center.

The River also is right between the two greatest concentrations of hotels (downtown and I-40 & Meridian) and near the new developments at the Fair Grounds... That area could become a real draw of out-of-towners.

07-08-2005, 11:56 PM
I would almost wonder if an area by Twin Lakes would be better. Plenty of open land and they'll be able to develop more of a theme park / resort with the available space. I like the idea though of moving it to the banks of the North Canadian though.

07-09-2005, 12:25 AM
What are the Twin Lakes? Is that Hefner and Overholser?

07-09-2005, 02:29 PM
I think it would be great if the city bought the cotton gin downtown and gave the land to Six Flags. The theme park could be on the north side and the water park on the south by the river. Having lived in California for a while, I would like to see a small lake connected to the river with sandy beaches around it and White Water located next to it.

07-09-2005, 04:06 PM
Twin Lakes is the Stanley Draper Lake area. If you ever follow weather you may hear a meteorologist talk about the "Twin Lakes nexrad" is the site of the public/operational Nexrad by the weather service.

07-09-2005, 04:26 PM
I would definitely prefer the river location over Lake Stanley Draper - I like Popsy's idea, (maybe we can get Six Flags to serve Gin and tonics :-)

If we keep this all concentrated in the river area, hotels would flourish and tourists would have everything in close proximity - it's a perfect idea - build it and they will come

07-10-2005, 11:29 AM
That would be great as long as it wouldn't be as disgusting as the one operating right now.

07-10-2005, 01:07 PM
The first time I took my boys to White Water I didn't realize you had to pay for tubes ( we had never paid in all of the water parks we had ever gone to), my sons ran to a stack of unattended tubes near the waves to ride the wave pool and this loser meth guy ran up and grabbed and pulled the tube off of my 10 year old son's body, pulled it up over his head so hard ( you could see the red marks on his neck and shoulders) and yelled at him and my 5 year old ..... my sons were so embarrassed and clueless as to what just happened.... they both started crying.

Oh No, you didn't, mama Lion to the rescue! (you just don't want to come between me and my kids like that)

He started saying "lady can't you read the signs?" (what signs?) but he didn't get very far with that one...

I nearly slammed his face into the ground but restrained myself in front of the kids.

I know I yelled every insult I could possibly think of and told him I was calling the cops and bringing him up on assault charges for touching my kids ( that shut him up) maybe a slight overeaction but all he had to do was nicely explain that we had to rent the tubes and my son would have gladly taken it off.

That sort of ruined White Water for us ever since.

07-10-2005, 03:02 PM
Some of you may remember in a much earlier post, that I said OKC is much like Denver (less the tall mountains) and therefore we should model some of what they've accomplished.

Nothing could be less than true for this suggestion. OKC should move Frontier City to the Oklahoma River! It would be THE ANCHOR of the river and forever put OKC on the map as the headquarters for the amusement industry.

Denver did the same thing many years ago. Denver had a park called Eliches Gardens. It was a small park located (I forget where) in the West Side of the city I believe. during the early 1990s, Denver was experiencing a Downtown Renaissance just like OKC. A decision by several forward thinking people was made to move the park closer to downtown Denver. At the new location, it would become a destination in itself and further add to the tourist options downtown.

The current location was selected to provide a "continuum" of excitement from the Downtown CBD through the park through Cherry Creek (denver's river) to Mile High Stadium. Also in the works, was to build Coor's Field Stadium in Skid Row (north of LoDo) to improve that area and once again, provide a continuum of excitement.

Well, not only did Eliches Gardens move and develop a great park but they became an official Six Flags park. And not only did the park and Coors provide a continuum of excitement for the stretch between the downtown CBD to Mile High Stadium in West Denver, but also LoDo and all of downtown picked up as well.

Today, downtown Denver is not only the Rocky Mountain region's biggest business district but it is also one of the biggest tourist attractions (if not THE Biggest, I would say the CO ski resorts probably beat it out tho). You can go to downtown Denver and do just about ANYTHING!!! And many people live downtown as well (I used to have a penthouse apt downtown).

So what if OKC followed Denver's model. Move Frontier City down to the OK River (sell the current site to Edmond). But do it one better, also move White Water to combine (or at least have them side-by-side) at the same location.

That would create a destination and further cement the river as an attraction and OKC as a tourist destination. Think of the new hotels that would be needed! Think of all of the fun that could be had. Think of the ferris wheel and roller coasters that could be part of the downtown Skyline (just like in Denver)!

Think of the continuum of excitement that could be brought to Downtown Oklahoma City!!!! I think that is a Renaissance we should jump on. Maps III?

I think so.

07-10-2005, 06:28 PM
the more i read about this idea of putting frontier city downtown the more i like it. great idea.

07-10-2005, 09:02 PM
I think it's a great idea in theory, but it would be pretty expensive for Six Flags to relocate everyone. You're looking at millions and millions of dollars simply to relocate. Although I'm a dreamer, I simply don't think the return for Six Flags would be enough from a business perspective to warrant such a move.

07-11-2005, 12:54 PM
Theres is always a way for six flags to make money with the move. The location of the two parks by the river would definitely send the current boom into a mad frenzied boom. Talk about more motels going up, being able to set a resort, heck why were on the topic, give Disney a call and see if they would be willing to set up some kind of Disney land (new era style). Imagine the possibilities, people already pay out the ying yang to travel to Florida or California. If there was a centralized one, the pay day on that would be unlimited. (If you couldn't tell I am a dreamer).

One thing I would like to suggest, is I agree that the bridges in OKC need work. Right now I am in San Antonio and I really like what they do to their Highways, the art work that goes up on the sides (i.e. the Texas shapes, or just a star) I think this is something OKC can do to improve the looks of the city from visitors perspectives.

07-11-2005, 10:36 PM
we need to forward this awesome suggestion to 6 flags. seriously!! not that it would do any good. at least maybe it would show them that the citizens are concerend about the plight of the parks and they would do something about them in there currnet locations. (wishfull thinking i know)

07-13-2005, 10:53 AM
I think one thing people need to keep in mind as they are recommending all this moving of parks to the North area. If Six Flags is going to at all interested in relocating, they are going to want an area that isn't going to be locked in by urban development. That is why I suggested the Twin Lakes area. Let Six Flags acquire most of the land out there since it is fairly open and then they are rehab the lake area and build a more "resort" type location. Sure we would like to have everything downtown, but lets be honest...we need the room first. You have to also take into consideration the cost for acquiring homes and other property to expand.

07-13-2005, 10:58 AM
If I am not mistaken, "Twin Lakes" is near Cresent. How is that going to help the development of Oklahoma City?

07-13-2005, 02:32 PM
The Twin Lakes area is just south of where I-240 splits off of I-40 around Stanley Drapper Lake.

07-13-2005, 02:56 PM
The Twin Lakes area is just south of where I-240 splits off of I-40 around Stanley Drapper Lake.

I was not aware of that, and I am probably not alone. I suggest being specific as to where or what things are in the future.

07-13-2005, 02:59 PM
I was not aware of that, and I am probably not alone. I suggest being specific as to where or what things are in the future.

See Post #8 in this thread and please try to keep your condescending tone to a minimum. Its getting quite tiring on this board and lowers the overall quality of the product Todd and gang have put together.

07-13-2005, 04:35 PM
Twin Lakes is a notable suggestion. However, the fact is that Frontier City will not move. What the park plans to do with its additional 80 acres is beyond any Oklahoma Cityan. It's a grounded park, and the poor management of Frontier City has sealed the fate of its future.

However, White Water Bay still holds an opportunity for relocation. A new water park near a river, across from a canal link near downtown Oklahoma City. I do believe investing more money and TLC into such a new water park would not only create a cleaner environment for park patrons, but would land White Water Bay a chance to be seen on the Travel Channel.
Oklahoma City needs a theme park that would be the talk of the nation. Theme park enthusiasts would go out of their way to come to Oklahoma City to see such an attraction, not to mention they would see Bricktown and downtown, not to mention the Oklahoma River.

All that being said, I believe Six Flags' true quality, or lack thereof, was exposed when America's top ten theme parks for 2005 was released. All but one theme park was not owned by Six Flags, but was a Disney park, Paramount park, or an independently owned park. Six Flags Astroworld, in Houston, was the only park to make the list, and it took the number 10 slot.

Is there someone out there with deep pockets willing to revive the theme park industry in Oklahoma City? Anyone?

07-13-2005, 07:32 PM
Here's a possible downtown location for a new water park:

"They Call It Hub Cap Alley
by downtownguy at

Drive south on Robinson Avenue. You are no longer downtown, you're no longer passing the convention center and arena.

You see to the right two boarded up brick buildings, they're in terrible shape, they were once home to the City Rescue Mission. The pealing yellow paint make the buildings hard to miss.

You go underneath the crumbling overpass for what was once the Rock Island Rail Road. On the other side is what they call Hub Cap Alley, a decrepit assortment of junk yards that line both sides of Robinson until you hit the river. On the other side of the water is Capitol Hill.

If someone with money, someone with a big development needing lots of space wanted to make a big splash, this could be the spot. Buy up all the junk yards, and you are immediately accessible to the river, the new highway, and snuggly fit between Capitol Hill, the convention district and Bricktown. To the north, you would have the new highway, to the east you would have Shields Boulevard, which would be the new major entry to downtown once the new I-40 is built. This property will have more than 100,000 vehicles pass by daily. The property will be near everything, and yet separated in such a way that it can be be self contained, and not disturb the development of surrounding areas. It overlooks the river, but a river access road and park land separate it from the water. It can get as noisy, flashy and crazy as can be, and barely be noticed by anyone but passing travelers.

It might be the ideal spot for something like a ...."

07-16-2005, 03:49 PM
You have to remember that Six Flags operates "regional" theme parks. That's why they have so many all over the country. They are meant to attract people from across the region for the most part, and thus are not as large, extravagant, or flashy as the Universal, Disney, Busch, and Paramount parks, which are more "national" theme parks. That is a lot of the reason for only one Six Flags park making that list. Many people in this area probably would vote for Six Flags Over Texas and many in California would probably vote for Six Flags Magic Mountain, but the vote is split because there are so many parks.

07-18-2005, 11:00 AM
So funny, I was just telling coworkers last week that I thought what they really need there on the river is an amusement park. I'm not sure that whitewater is the best option, I was thinking more like frontier city. Anything would be nice to attract people there. The park is nice, but they need more good businesses up there to encourange new growth and buy out some of the slummy buildings.

07-18-2005, 11:08 AM
What would you think of a "boardwalk" similar to Atlantic City being located along the river?

07-18-2005, 03:15 PM
This was actually proposed why Mr. Hogan for Lake Hefner many years ago when he first proposed the East Wharf idea. I liked the idea then. Unfortunately, I'm afraid our city is using the excuse of having the trails system to keep them from investing money in a nice boardwalk.