Splash Away Bay at Quassy: Part 4 of our water park history

Quassy opened in 1908 as a Trolley Park on the sides of Lake Quassapaug in Middlebury, CT.  The location was quite good, as it sits between New York City and Hartford, CT and the area quite beautiful with the lake in the background.

Swimming had always been a part of Quassy Amusement Park, and in 2003, the park was not doing so well business-wise sadly.  The park’s two roller coasters were quite old and not the draws they used to be.  Also, the United States was in an economic downturn, and things were not going so well in the industry.  Quassy had to find a low investment solution to turn their business around, and they went with an industry innovation that had been taking the water park world by storm: the interactive playground.  Invented by SCS Interactive and called the Treehouse by them, this multi-level structure combined water play with slides all on the same footprint.  The possibilities were endless where a smaller facility could get a more straightforward structure with a little dumping bucket and a few slides while a more massive amusement park could get a large structure capable of accommodating hundreds of guests at the time.

Management at Quassy selected a Treehouse from SCS Interactive with the slides on it designed and manufactured by Proslide Technologies. from Ottawa, Canada.  The site chosen for it was on the right side of the Mad Mouse roller coaster and it had access to the lakefront and beach.  Saturation Station was selected as the name and eventually became the name for the whole swimming component of Quassy.

An overlook of Saturation Station.

Two slides from Proslide KIDZ line were designed into Saturation Station, and the main attraction is the large 300 gallons water bucket that tips over and splashes all around the attraction.  Many spraying features, tipping buckets, and other interactive games were integrated into the Station, and this saved the park.  It brought a whole new crowd to the park and made the beach and Saturation Station a must-see in the area.  Many lakes have a beach to swim in, but how many have a massive play structure for the whole family steps away?

The two KIDZ Twister.

In 2006, seeing the success of Saturation Station, the park continued that route with a water slide complex.  The park has a pretty strict 35 feet construction restriction and the new complex was designed to comply with that zoning bylaw, going in front of Saturation Station.  It went in the same footprint and so, made it easier for both the park staffing wise and parents since they could lie down on a long chair and look over their kids.

Tunnel Twisters.

It was an audacious choice as well as a WhiteWater West Industries Ltd. Water Coaster built in 1999 elsewhere in the park.  Using a floating two-person raft, those unique water slides were designed for guests that were fully clothed and thus, would only get a light soaking during the experience.  The park took every measure to indicate to its guests that the new “Tunnel Twisters” was a wholly unique experience and not the Big Flush Water Coaster with a new name.

Big Flush Water Coaster.  You can see its raft conveyor on the left.

A look at the Big Flush behind Wooden Warrior.

Tunnel Twisters colors were selected to be as flashy as possible and stand out as much as possible when looking out toward the lake.  The solid red slide is fully enclosed and does not let light through so riders have a thrilling experience.  The bright yellow slide is translucent, and you can see the shadows of passengers from the ground.  For the guests themselves, it made it a little less intimidating and made the ride have a broader appeal.

Tunnel Twisters was also the name of the model name from Proslide.  After WhiteWater purchased SCS Interactive, the park decided to continue their relationship with Proslide and have been using them for water slide projects.  Tunnel Twisters are enclosed body slides, and between that and the fact the existing Big Flush is nearly all black except for a small section, it separated the two experiences.

In 2010, the park made the difficult decision to close down the Mad Mouse coaster and this freed up a lot of land in front of the lake.  Quassy saw this opportunity to fully go down the Water Park route and a significant expansion planned for 2013.

Initially, access to Saturation Station was a restroom/changing room complex to the right of the bumper cars while the existing Beach House was a way away and gave access to the beach.  By using the new land freed up by Mad Mouse, guests would be able to pay their admission fee at the Beach House, get changed and then walk up to all the water park attractions, including Saturation Station, and play on the beach.

Two new attractions were selected, and they doubled the size of the water park.  First, a 35 feet tall complex from Proslide was designed and installed next to Saturation Station.  It added a much-needed thrill component to the offerings with a pair of FreeFall slides and an exciting BulletBowl tube slide.  The two FreeFALL Extreme Bodyslides is a short, but thrilling pair of body slides that drop straight down.  The green slide is slightly different from its pink sister due to the addition of a short enclosed section at the top due to the close presence of the BulletBowl flume.  Both runouts section have the same pink and green colors in alternating colors, so they are very pleasing to the eye.

The two FreeFALL Extreme Bodyslides.

The BulletBowl was the undisputed king of the slides at the park.  Riders use two passenger tubes and go down a steep enclosed flume into the 30 feet wide bowl where they go around 2-3 times on average.  They then proceed to enter the signature Proslide Corkscrew Exit and then splash down in the ProSplash runout lane.  It has been the most popular slide at the park and draws enormous line whenever the park is busy, even with two riders per cycle.  BulletBowl was originally the model name for Proslide line of small bowls, but they have been since renamed the Cannonbowl 30 after its size.

A side view of the complex with the BulletBowl.

A view of the corner of Fish Pond and the complex.

The entrance to the tower and you can see the sign asking guests to stay on the side they want to experience.

The last part of the expansion was something that parents had been asking for a long time: a splash pad for young children.  Saturation Station is a fantastic attraction, but it has the very intimidating bucket that generates a lot of force when it drops.  So, to go after the families that have toddler’s and kids that are scared by the bucket, they purchased Fish Pond, a sprayground attraction from Vortex Technologies.  Vortex is by a funny coincidence also a Canadian company, so all the trucks carrying the components came from the same general area. The original proposed name for Fish Pond was Splash Away Bay, but management soon realized this was the perfect name for the whole water park and that is how the water park was renamed Splash Away Bay.

Fish Pond.

Management had their eyes on expanding the water park again, but other needs around the park were prioritized.  For example, one year at a local American Coaster Enthusiasts event, photos from a proposed complex were shown, but those plans were delayed and transformed quite a bit.  The end result was a two-year expansion that was soon stretched out to three thanks to a buffer year in the middle.

Slide City was the first component to open in 2016, and it featured five amazing Proslide KIDZ slides.  The area selected for them is quite unusual, sandwiched between Saturation Station and the lake.  Two of the slides are accessible for the family too, so parents can come down with their kids.  The other three included a world’s first: the first standalone KIDZ Bowl 14.  This remarkable innovation from Proslide scaled down the favorite Bowl experience to something that kids can experience on their own.  Beside the KIDZ Bowl 14, a pair of KIDZ OctopusRacer, a mini driver and a two-lane ProRacer complete Slide City.  Adults can go with their kids on the MiniRiver and ProRacer.

The KIDZ Bowl.  The side of the slide was designed to allow parents to reach in and assist their children out.

The KIDZ Octopus Racer.

The front view.  The splash guard in front of the runout is a recent innovation from Proslide to conserve as much water as possible.

The MiniRiver is on the left and the KIDZ ProRacer on the right.

The yellow grate is there to pick up as much water as possible when riders go down the slide.

In 2018, Quassy just completed the construction of their new thrilling complex, Category 5 Rapids.  It is scheduled to open in May 2018, and it is the evolution of the concept that was shown to the American Coaster Enthusiasts.  The end result is that this complex with feature three high capacity slides that will use two passenger tubes and like the 2013 tower’s, features a scalable thrill factor.

First, the white and pink Pipeline combines open sections with enclosed turns, making the ride entirely accessible for those who are still working on their courage for the other two slides and the BulletBowl.  Next, the blue and turquoise Pipeline has a very feature very dear to management: explosion curves.  What are those?  In some turns, the flume diameter increase and this has the effect of allowing very tight spirals that provide maximum g-forces that make you stick to the wall.  Given the park height restriction, this enables Proslide to offer maximum thrills in a small package.

Ron Gustafson from Quassy provided us with this concept art for Quassy Category 5 Rapids.  Quassy Amusement Park

Last, the new headliner attraction of the park is the first ever multi funnel Hybrid slide in the New England area.  Starting from the same platform as the other two, the experience begins with an enclosed flume that leads to the first Tornado 18 funnel.  The bright yellow and red colors stand out a lot and soon after, a second Tornado 18 funnel will have guests climbing the funnel sides again before coming out in the three lanes ProSplash low water use slide exit.

The funnels have just been assembled on the ground.  Like the previous photo, this was provided by Ron Gustafson at Quassy.  Quassy Amusement Park

Last, Splash Away Café and Deck will be built overlooking the lake and will finally provide a good food option for guests enjoying Quassy Beach and Splash Away Bay.

To conclude our look at Quassy, this is an amazing example where a water park addition can compliment a natural asset and completely change the business.

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