Dry Town Water Park
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|Dry Town Water Park|
|Location||Palmdale, California, United States|
|Website||Dry Town Water Park|
Dry Town Water Park is a water park operated by the city of Palmdale, California, opened in 2006. It is located on the grounds of the Palmdale Oasis Park & Recreation Center in the southeast portion of the city. It is open each year from the Memorial Day weekend in May through Labor Day in September.
The six acre park features four main attractions. A tower structure that holds three serpentine style slides accompanied by a three foot deep “catch pool”. A second tower structure that holds four individual slides accompanied with a runout at the end. An aqua play zone designed for kids accompanied with three more slides and zero-depth area with a giant bucket that can splash dozens of people. Lastly, the park offers a 725-foot lazy river that winds around the center of the park, making it the park's largest attraction.
The first tower was part of the parks original blueprint, which opened in 2006. The tower features three slides that are individually colored and named. Rattler's Revenge, also known as the “red slide” to locals, is a half-covered half-open slide that requires riders who are 48” or higher to ride on a designated flotation device. Each rider is required be seated with their bottoms on the inner rim of the tube with their legs rested outward and hands gripped on the handle. During the duration of the ride, riders are asked and required to remain seated while also not twisting or turning at any point during the ride.
The tower's second slide, The Wildcatter or the “yellow slide”, is the only slide of the three that is entirely open. Like the red slide, riders must ride properly on a designated tube during the length of the ride.
The tower's third slide, the Devil's Punch Bowl or the “blue slide”, is the most unique of the three. Like its name, the blue slide is a giant bowl that each rider drops into and then swirls in a giant bowl. Some riders can get up to four times around before finally entering another drop into the catch pool.
Individual guests can enjoy these rides as long as they meet the height and weight requirements. A pair of guests can also enjoy the ride as the park does offer and equip double rider tubes. Guests can enjoy the thrill these slides have to offer with whomever they like, as long as the heavier rider sits in the back and the smaller rider in the front, per safety regulations.
The second tower is unique in which it was not part of the original opening of the park in 2006. This attraction, known as Dusty's Mine Shaft Racer, broke ground after the 2011's summer season and became fully operational for the 2012 summer season.
Guests 42” or higher may be allowed to ride the ride and is favored among those who seek thrill. The rider rides down head first on their stomach with legs up and feet crossed on a mat equipped with handles. The duration of the ride includes turns and fast speeds. The ride also has four individuals slides and although neither of them are specifically named, they each are identified by a different color.
Little Miner's Camp
This attraction is for guests 36” or higher. It features a levitated platform with three slides, water shooters, and buckets, all surrounded by water less than a foot. This attraction is especially popular within toddlers, ages 3–5. A giant bucket that drops hundreds of gallons of water on guests is located on the east side of the attraction.
The Lazy River
The Big Rock River, also known as The Lazy River, is a 725-foot river makes this the largest attraction in the entire park. The river contains three main entrances and exits that guests are welcome to enter in. Guests 48” or higher are welcome to use to the river without the presence of another adult.
Guests are able to use inflatable tubes that are located throughout the river on a first-come, first-served basis with no extra fee. This attraction can contain and up to one thousand guests, as dozens of jets propel the river in one motion, making the river fast.
Since its debut in 2006, Dry Town has employed hundreds of workers within the Antelope Valley. Zoning from Quartz Hill to Littlerock, California. A range of different age groups have been employed for the park with teenagers from ages 16 to 18 years old being the most prominent.
The grounds staff or, Program Leaders, are available at each guests discretion for assistance and inquiries regarding park rules, and hours of operation. These program leaders are stationed around the park – each entrance/exit of the lazy river, Little Miner's Camp, both slide towers, and the food pavilion – for assistance on each designated area. For example, if a guest is in need of a flotation tube of their choice, an available program leader will be able to assist them in handing that guest a tube and or fulfilling any desire they might have to the best of their ability.
In contrast to the grounds staff, the office staff help with the park internally. These positions include - admissions, and front gate and bag checking. Other duties that these staff members might endure are money handling, organizing and planning events, answering customer phone calls, season pass inquiries, and handle customer walk-ins.
The City of Palmdale hires a staff of about 65 people designated to work at the park for the entire summer season. Most of the hired employees go through a lifeguard academy where the skills of becoming a lifeguard are taught along with first aid and CPR. Once a recipient passes the class, they are guaranteed an interview with the city and from there wait to see if they are selected.
Once selected, the new employee will be assigned to Dry Town and will start to train vigorously in the weeks prior to opening day. The lifeguard staff train by practicing with equipment and running park wide scenarios in order to ensure the best possible rescues and service.
The lifeguard staff is responsible for enforcing rules at each of the attractions throughout the park. Everyday of operation there are 24 lifeguards stationed at their designated positions and are “scanning” open bodies of water, and dispatching riders down slides. While scanning, each guard must meet a time mark in order to abide by the park's standards and ensure the best safety. In a position where a lifeguard is dispatching riders, the guard must provide the rules in appliance with the height and weight standards. Once those rules are given the guard must make sure the exit of the slide is clear in order to give the okay for the rider to go down.
There is a first aid room located just right of the entrance that is available for any guest that needs assistance. This may include heat illness, bee stings, cuts and scrapes, and bloody noses. A lifeguard will be there at all times to assist with the patrons needs depending on the situation.
Temperature and inclement weather
Due to the region in which the park is located, the high desert, the park is subject to various types of weather. Starting in June, temperatures range from 90 to 95 each day. By mid July until August, temperatures can reach 100 to 105 each day. This heat is in fact detrimental to the park's guests and employees. The lifeguards and grounds staff take a bigger toll since they are out in the dry heat with no shade and are not submerged in water. However, each staff member is encouraged to look out for their coworker ensuring they take breaks and consume adequate amounts of water in order to avoid heat illness or heat stroke.
As opposed to typical heat and heat waves, Dry Town is susceptible to stormy weather at times. When temperatures drop and precipitation rises, the park becomes trapped in a thunderstorm. If lightning is present, the park must close immediately and guests who are in or near water must exit and leave the park as soon as possible.
Palmdale is also susceptible to high winds, making working conditions very difficult. Although the park may not close due to high winds certain areas and attractions may be shut off for the time being in order to avoid park damage or injury to staff members or guests.
Unfortunately Palmdale may be subject to fires and or in the way of surrounding fires resulting in heavy smoke affecting the quality of air. Heavy smoke makes it dangerous for guests and employees to breathe the contaminated air and the visibility becomes poor. Depending on the severity of the smoke, the park may close due to bad air quality.
The City of Palmdale prides itself in having a family centered water park for residents and people from all over the Antelope Valley to enjoy. Since the water park is located on a main street, many surrounding neighborhoods are within walking distance to the water park. Within those neighborhoods come schools where hundreds of grade school kids come for end of the year field trips.
Just 45 miles south of Dry Town is its biggest competitor, Hurricane Harbor. A lot of Dry Town's guests save a trip and instead enjoy a day in their local community water park. Guests save on money with Dry Town's reasonable admission prices and wait times for rides. In an area where the median household income is $52,423, families can enjoy themselves economically while still being close to home.
Lifeguard and staff recognition
During the training process, each lifeguard is certified in order to work at the water park. At least two times a season, a representative from the company that certifies the lifeguards comes out and performs an evaluation on their scan times, and appearance. At the end of the session the representative calculates the scores after a full days observation and determines an overall score. A score of 70 or higher is considered a world class score nationwide. Any score below a 40 follows an immediate closure of the park. In 2012, Dry Town received a perfect score of 100, deeming themselves world class lifeguards. Since then, the water park has received scores in the mid and high 90's still crowning the world class lifeguard title. Dry Town has also received many awards regarding service and work recognition.