Alabama Splash Adventure (formerly known as Visionland , Alabama Adventure and Splash Adventure) is a 70-acre water and amusement park, located off Interstate 20/59 in Bessemer, west of Birmingham. The 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. The zip line has since been removed. A sea lion show was held 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. Koch restored the "Rampage" wooden roller coaster for the 2015 season.
In 2016 the park added a "Drop Zone" free-fall ride, a classic "tea cups" ride, "The General's Diner" restaurant, and an expanded "oasis" with free soda stations.
- "Rampage", a 3,500-foot long, 120-foot tall wood roller coaster reaching top speeds of 56 mph (1998-2012, 2015-)
- "UpSurge", 216-foot tall inner-tube water slide (2009-)
- "Splashdown", 50-foot inner-tube water slide
- "Neptune's Plunge", quadruple enclosed water slide
- "Kahuna Waves", 27,000 square-foot, 800,000-gallon wave pool
- "Salamander Bay", kid's water activity area (2007-)
- "Castaway Island", all-ages water activity area
- "Mist-ical Maze", 4,600-square foot maze (2012-)
- "Wipeout Adventure Course", interactive obstacle course (2012-)
- "Warrior River", lazy river float ride
- "Wacky Worm Coaster", small roller coaster
- "Jump Around"
- "Vintage Boats"
- "Junior Bumper Boats"
- "Rio Grande Train", narrow gauge park train
- "The Vault", laser maze
- Tea Cups, 2016-
- Drop Zone, 2016-
- "Giant Wheel", 120 foot diameter Ferris Wheel
- "Mind Spinder"
- Sea Lion Show (2013)
- "Space Shot", a 185-foot launching tower
- "Vertigo" (2007)
- "Zoomerang", roller coaster (2005-2011, dismantled 2013)
- "Marvel City" children's area (closed 2012)
- Carousel, with 60 horses and 2 chariots
- Marvel Mania, roller coaster
- "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
- Gray, Jeremy (November 18, 2015) "Alabama Splash Adventures adding new rides in 2016." The Birmingham News
- Splash Adventure website