Alabama's Splash Adventure (formerly known as Visionland and Alabama Adventure) is a 70-acre water park, located off Interstate 20/59 in Bessemer, west of Birmingham. The former combination water and amusement park has been owned since 2014 by Dan Koch, part of the family that founded the Holiday World and Splashin' Safari amusement park in Santa Claus, Indiana.
Visionland was built largely as a result of efforts by then-Mayor of Fairfield Larry Langford, who was seeking to provide recreational opportunities and boost development in the western part of Jefferson County. He led the creation of the West Jefferson Amusement and Public Park Authority, which counted representatives from 11 municipalities (Adamsville, Bessemer, Birmingham, Brighton, Fairfield, Hueytown, Lipscomb, Maytown, North Johns, Sylvan Springs, and Vance). With help from the Alabama Legislature, the group borrowed $65 million to build the $90 million park.
The project team for construction included Volkert & Associates for site surveying, environmental studies, utilities and lighting; HKW Associates for master planning and architectural design; and Brasfield & Gorrie for construction management. Construction began in March 1997, and the park opened for business 14 months later on May 23, 1998.
In June 2002, the park filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy. It was purchased at government auction in 2003 for $5.2 million by the Southland Entertainment Group. For their first year, Sounthland invested about $20 million for new attractions such as a wave pool.
On March 27, 2006, Southland Entertainment officials announced that, after a record-setting season of 345,000 visitors, that $100 million of new rides and other facilities were on the drawing board. They also announced the park's name change to "Alabama Adventure" for the 2006-2007 season, which attracted 388,000 visitors.
In May 2008 Southland sold the park for an undisclosed price to Adrenaline Family Entertainment of Edmund, Oklahoma which was headed by former Six Flags executive Hue Eichelberger. Southland retained ownership of an adjacent 157-acre parcel which it planned to develop with hotel, commercial and retail projects as well as a possible RV park.
In January 2012 General Attractions LLC, headed by former Southland executive Kent Lemasters, bought the park back from Adrenaline Family Entertainment and turned over operations to the AmusementAquatic Management Group. In April the owners announced that the non-water rides would be sold off and the entire venue renamed "Splash Adventure". New water-enhanced attractions such as an obstacle course and maze were added, along with a zip line and a movie screen at the wave pool for the 2012 season. A sea lion exhibit and trampoline area were added in 2013. Another Lemasters company, Southland Entertainment, took on ownership 175 acres of undeveloped real estate adjoining Splash Adventure.
In early 2014 Lemasters sold the 89-acre park itself to Dan Koch and his family. Koch announced new attractions, including a Wacky Worm Coaster, Rio Grande Train, Junior Bumper Boats, Mini Helicopters, Vintage Boats, and a new Laser Maze Challenge. He also announced that parking, sunscreen and wireless internet access would all be available to visitors free of charge.
Magic City USA
- Fender Bender
- Giant Wheel, 120' diameter Ferris Wheel
- Tidal Wave
- Mind Spinder
- Rampage, 3,500 foot-long wood roller coaster with a top speed of 56 miles per hour (1998)
- Space Shot, a 185-foot launching tower
- Wild River Gorge
- Cahaba Falls
- Vertigo (2007)
- Zoomerang, roller coaster (2006)
- Carousel with 60 horses and 2 chariots
- Balloon Wheel
- Marvel Mania, roller coaster (1998)
- Adventure Express
- Acapulco Drop, water slide
- Cahaba Falls
- Wave Action Pool (formerly Kahuna Waves), 27,000 square foot wave pool
- Neptune's Plunge, water slide
- Lazy River, 1/4 mile float ride
- Free Fall
- Space Bowl
- Wild River Gorge
- Salamander Bay, children's activity area (2007)
- Up Surge Boomerango, water slide (2009)
- Buzzsaw Falls (2011)
- Aqua Course (2012)
- Water Maze (2012)
- Zip Line (2012)
- Sea Lion Show (2013)
- "Alabama Adventure Theme Park" (March 28, 2006) Wikipedia - accessed March 28, 2006
- Tomberlin, Michael (March 28, 2006) "Visionland has new name, plans." The Birmingham News
- Williams, Roy L. (April 5, 2007) "Earlier start, new draws for Alabama Adventure." The Birmingham News
- Crawford, Cindy F. (May 15, 2008) "Alabama Adventure sold to Oklahoma company." Birmingham Business Journal
- Tomberlin, Michael (February 2, 2009) "New water ride coming to Alabama Adventure." The Birmingham News
- WIlliams, Roy L. (January 6, 2012) "Alabama Adventure sold to company created by former owner." The Birmingham News
- Tomberlin, Michael (April 5, 2012) "New Splash Adventure to expand water park in Bessemer." The Birmingham News
- Tomberlin, Michael (March 13, 2014) "Koch family buys Alabama's Splash Adventure Waterpark." The Birmingham News
- Splash Adventure website