Waterville USA amusement park, located at 906 Gulf Shores Pkwy. in Gulf Shores and situated less than a mile north of local area beaches, announced it’s opening for the 2020 season, effective last Saturday.
The 34-year-old tourist venue features indoor and outdoor attractions such as Naskart, go-karts, a miniature golf course, a “launch pad,” mini train, arcade games, two escape rooms and Cyberville USA virtual reality cubes, among other diversions.
To date, one of the most popular park attractions is FlowRider, a virtual surfing simulator that reportedly pulls in fans from all over the globe wanting to take a whirl on the ride.
Park manager John Turberville expects a big season in terms of seeing both local and nonlocal tourism dollars spent at the well-established Lower Alabama beach attraction.
“It’s always exciting to open the gates for the start of the year,” Turberville said. “The winter off-season is always difficult for all of us, so the opening of the amusement park is always a time we look forward to.”
Waterville USA sits on some 20 acres of property and includes a waterpark, amusement park and escape rooms. Established in 1986, the travel destination has seen upwards of $10 million in capital poured into the property since opening, for new entertainment sites as well as upgrading existing draws over the years.
More information about Waterville USA, including hours of operation and admission, can be found on its website, watervilleusa.com.
Business moves, transactions
Locally founded Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo has moved from a 7.5-acre space it has inhabited for over 31 years to a new, massive site situated several miles north at 20499 Oak Hill Road in Gulf Shores. Plans are in place to hold a soft opening for visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Wednesday and the zoo will continue operations seven days a week thereafter on the same schedule.
The menagerie has more than tripled its footprint with the move, occupying roughly 25 acres of land, with an additional 70 acres available for future growth. The property was locally donated by the father and daughter duo of Clyde and Andrea Weir, well-known Baldwin County real estate developers.
Built from the ground up, around $20 million in capital was invested into the space. Fresh attractions will include a giraffe petting and feeding station, as well as a new zipline, carousel, kiddie train and safari rides. Employment will also nearly double this year, with an expectation to hire as many as 30 additional temp workers for busy spring and summer tourist seasons.
Established in 1989 by Joey Ward, the second-generation owner of Wade Ward Real Estate and Property Management Service in Gulf Shores, the site was originally called Zooland Animal Park.
First set up as a private enterprise in 1991, the Ward family formed The Zoo Foundation Inc. to operate the park as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. In 2000 it was renamed the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
More information about the zoological garden can be found in the current Baldwin County issue of Lagniappe, or on our website.
Second-generation co-owner Andrew Mañas reported the opening of his family’s ninth package store, called Seaside Package, this Friday inside The Shoppes at Palm Pointe retail center, located at 25771 Perdido Beach Blvd. in Orange Beach. The new store covers some 3,000 square feet of retail space and expects to employ eight upon opening.
To date, this will be the fourth store to open in the Orange Beach area for the business. Adding three package stores in Gulf Shores under the brand of Seaside Liquor, this will be the seventh location overall for the company.
The package stores, across all locations, periodically offer beer and liquor tastings of new products sourced from craft beer vendors and whiskey manufacturers throughout the Southeast region.
Across the bay, the Mañas family also own Havana Rey’s Cigar Shop & Lounge in Midtown Mobile and is headquartered out of Cottage Hill Package Store, located at 6376 Cottage Hill Road in West Mobile. Collectively, the family business employs around 50 in all locations.
Somerby Mobile, a local senior living community, announced last week that renovations to its Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities, which started in 2019, are nearing completion. In April, Somerby plans to hold an opening for the public to reveal the new updates and amenities.
“Somerby is a luxurious senior living community,” Jessica Keith, executive director of Somerby Mobile, said. “We are so proud that the exteriors and interiors of our buildings better reflect our commitment to excellence for our residents at every turn.”
Exterior upgrades include new roofing for the independent and assisted living residences as well as for the memory care spaces. Interior improvements include new artwork, flooring, furniture and updated common areas.
New services and activities for residents will include the rollout of community cooking classes. More information on the center can be found at somerbyseniorliving.com
Marl Cummings IV with Cummings & Associates Inc. recently reported the lease of a 1,450-square-foot medical space inside the 98 Oaks Shopping Village, located at 7930 Moffatt Road, by The Orthopedic Group. It will be used as a physical therapy clinic and will employ three on staff, according to Cummings, who handled the transaction.
This will be the third physical therapy office to open for the Mobile-based practice and their 10th site overall, with other locations spread throughout Mobile, Baldwin, Clarke and Monroe counties.
Gavin Bender Jr. of Bender Real Estate Group recently reported the leasing of some 4,200 square feet of space by the law firm Brady, Radcliff & Brown inside the Riverview Office Plaza, located at 63 S. Royal St. in downtown Mobile. Bender worked for the landlords in the transaction. Mike Reid with White-Spunner Realty represented the tenant.
Brandon Broadus with NAI Mobile recently completed transaction work for a group of out-of-town investors who sold a 3,000-square-foot, renovated industrial space sitting on 0.18 acres of property at 654 Western Drive in Mobile, to a nonlocal, regional firm for $125,000. Future development plans at the site by the buyer, if any, were unknown as of press time.
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