Universal Studios, owner of the Wet 'n Wild water park, announced that the park will shut down for good in December 31, 2016
Before there was an Universal Studios, before Epcot Center, before Animal Kingdom. There was Wet 'n Wild. The park opened in 1977. 38 years ago.
Those who went to Orlando during that period remember well the few attractions available: Magic Kingdom, obviously, Bush Gardens, in Tampa, about an hour away, Cypress Gardens, in Winter Heaven, also about an hour away, and the majestic Wet 'n Wild, owning International Drive.
Today we can find water parks everywhere, in several cities around the world. Even in Orlando, there are 3 other water parks: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, and Sea World's Aquatica. All newer and modern. Wet 'n Wild was still among the 10 most visited water parks in the world in 2014 (even though it was the number 4 in Orlando, behind the 3 newer ones).
But it was the first one. The first one in the world. Never before had anyone thought of the idea of a park dedicated exclusively to water attractions. It was created by the same person who created Sea World, and in 1998 it was sold to NBC Universal, a Comcast subsidiary.
But fans don't need to worry. Universal has already announced its new water park, Volcano Bay, which will open in 2017, but in a different location, near Cabana Bay. The 50 acres land will give space to new Universal hotels that will joining its portfolio that already includes Hard Rock, Portofino, Royal Pacific and Cabana Bay.
The natural order is out with the old, and in with the new, but a entire generation will miss the time when Orlando was a small tourist town, with a handful of attractions, no traffic and not as many people. A time when Wet 'n Wild was the king of I-Drive.
Until then, those planing a trip to Orlando will have a last chance to bid farewell to this icon that started a water park revolution around the world.