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Water, Water, Everywhere! Summer means 2 million gallons of fun in Branson

Summer means 2 million gallons of fun in Branson by Becca Martin-Brown | June 20, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.
White Water in Branson offers the opportunity to chill out and relax in the Aloha River or climb “thrill hill” for the exciting tube rides and mat racers and big family rides, says General Manager Gerald Jenkins. (Courtesy Photos/White Water)

Early in the morning, while the rest of Branson is waking up, Gerald Jenkins climbs to the top of the mountain and surveys his domain.

"I can see the whole park from Kalani Towers," says the general manager of White Water. "And it's a beautiful thing."

That's usually Jenkins' last stop before the water park opens for the day. By then, he's already walked its 13 acres -- from Waikiki Wave to the Surf's Up Wave Pool and from the KaPau Plummet to the Aloha River.

"I look for anything from loose trash to weeds in the flower beds," he says. "Every section of the park has a certain way it sounds, and I listen for anything out of the ordinary."

That's where the predictable portion of Jenkins' day ends. From then on, it's "all about customer service."

"We usually have a park host whose job is just taking of our guests," he explains. "All of us in leadership take on that role. So I could be helping the foods crew cook hamburgers, helping maintenance with a plumbing problem or trying to find a way to minimize a line so folks can do everything they want to do. Every day is different."

It's a good thing Jenkins spent 41 years training for the job. A homegrown success story for Herschend Family Entertainment, Jenkins spent most of that time at sister property Silver Dollar City, where he worked in foods, maintenance and construction, attractions and safety and security. "Everything I did before led me to this," he says.

That includes a childhood in Reeds Spring, Mo., just down the road from Branson.

"There weren't a lot of pools," he says with a laugh. "We went to the lake and the creek. When the water got so warm in the lake it wasn't comfortable, we'd pack a picnic and go to the creek. It was wonderful just to splash out and let the cool water pour over you."

Kids, says Jenkins, may have changed since he was one, "but fun is universal."

"In this element, there's no technology involved," he muses. "It's just getting wet, and the thrill of riding the slides, and playing in the wave pool. And mom likes it because she can relax in a cabana or go to the lazy river and cool off."

Jenkins promises that White Water offers something for every age -- and plenty for the regular guests who come all summer long.

"It's kind of split into two different sections," he says. "The lower part is 'chill out and relax,' and 'thrill hill' is all of our tube rides and mat racers and big family rides.

The biggest thrill is also the latest addition to the park. Opened in 2014, the KaPau Plummet is described as "breath-taking," "heart-pumping" and "exceeding the thrills of any water ride ever built at White Water."

After a four-story climb -- because what comes down must first go up -- each rider steps into a vertical capsule, a clear door closes, and below his feet is the 245-foot enclosed slide down which he's about to travel. You hear, "3-2-1 KaPau," and then the bottom of each slide drops out, creating a rider free fall for two stories, speeding at 26 feet per second into a looping translucent waterslide before final splashdown.

There's also the middle ground, so to speak, of the Pipeline Plunge; the family fun of Ohana Falls, a raft adventure; the Kalani Towers drop slide -- just a 75-foot drop; the 800-foot themed Aloha River, where tube riders float the twists and turns under fountains, misters and geysers; and the Surf's Up wave pool, 500,000 gallons of fun for floating, swimming and playing.

The wave pool was actually one of the first attractions at White Water, which opened in 1980 with cabanas and a beach feel. That's expanded over the years to include adventure, but Jenkins promises the family feeling is still his first goal.

"Right now, we still have capacity limits, and we ask non-vaccinated guests to wear masks in restrooms and food lines," he says. "But we have plenty of space to feel safe."

White Water in Branson offers the opportunity to chill out and relax in the Aloha River or climb “thrill hill” for the exciting tube rides and mat racers and big family rides, says General Manager Gerald Jenkins.

(Courtesy Photos/White Water)
White Water in Branson offers the opportunity to chill out and relax in the Aloha River or climb “thrill hill” for the exciting tube rides and mat racers and big family rides, says General Manager Gerald Jenkins. (Courtesy Photos/White Water)
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FAQ

White Water

WHEN — 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays & until 7 p.m. Saturday & Sunday; hours extend to 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily in July

WHERE — 3505 W. Country 76 in Branson

COST — Starts at $47 daily; season pass, $140

INFO — 800-831-4FUN(386)

BONUS — Night Water, when the park is open until midnight, will be July 14-17 with fireworks at midnight every night.

Print Headline: Water, Water, Everywhere!

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