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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

October 9, 2002


Charlotte, NC - Beginning October 15, children from Mecklenburg County and the surrounding area will be able to splash, squirt, super-soak and slide in a brand new INDOOR water park, thanks to a joint venture between Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

The grand opening ceremony for Ray's Splash Planet is scheduled for Tuesday, October 15, 2002, at 10 a.m. at 215 North Sycamore Street, adjoining Irwin Avenue Open Elementary School in Charlotte's Third Ward neighborhood.  

As part of the ceremony, 50 children from the neighboring school will give the water park its first big test, with the assistance of "Ray," mascot for the Park and Recreation department and the water-park's namesake.  Speakers will include Parks Helms, chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners, Dr. Vilma Leake, District Two representative of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, Tim Newman, president of Charlotte Center City Partners, Chris Jackson, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Commission Chairman, and Laura McClettie, Central Park District Two representative. 

Ray's Splash Planet includes one of the nation's few indoor water parks, as well as sophisticated weight and cardio-training facilities, aerobics room, multi-purpose room and a party room. Outside, the facility features two large activity fields and a new outdoor playground.  Unlike other local water attractions, Ray's Splash Planet will boast year-round access to a variety of fun-filled aquatic features:

  • Interactive water playground 
  • Three story giant slide   
  • Lazy river
  • Super-soaker squirters 
  • Fountains and geysers   
  • Vortex pool
  • Lap training lanes  
  • Water basketball goals   
  • Tumble buckets          
  • Much more!
Ray Splash Planet

The 29,000 square foot complex promises to be a favorite venue for children's birthday parties, corporate events and family get-togethers.  The facility will appeal to adults as well as children, with fully equipped workout facilities on the second floor that include a weight-training room, an aerobics/dance room and a cardiovascular deck where machines overlook the water park through floor-to-ceiling windows.

On the first floor, a concession area located next to the children's party room will serve refreshments, and a multi-purpose room ideal for classes and corporate functions will face the water park area with another soaring wall of glass. In addition, after school hours, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation will host a variety of organized games and activities in the attached Irwin Avenue Open Elementary School gymnasium.

Architecture and engineering firm Clark Nexsen designed the striking facility, which is sure to become a Charlotte landmark. From the outset, planners chose to incorporate the natural flow of water into the building design using the lines of Irwin Creek, which winds around the facility, and to feature curved interior walls, streaming sunlight and almost no right angles. On the exterior, the earth-tone brick is capped with stunning points of windows.

The park will offer single-visit entry fees, as well as monthly and yearly memberships.  Tickets can be ordered by calling (704) 432-4RAY.  For more information, check the Web site

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation administers more than 15,000 acres of parkland, including three nature preserves and a wildlife refuge.  More than 175 parks and 20 recreation centers are part of the department, offering thousands of athletic and recreation programs and special events each year.  Ray, the department's mascot, encourages county residents and visitors to Recreate All Year, a maxim that is particularly appropriate to his new indoor water park. 

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