'Fun never stops' at Enchanted Forest Water Safari, but when did it start? – WWNY

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OLD FORGE, New York (WWNY) – Enchanted Forest Water Safari has been making a splash in Old Forge for decades. But what’s now the state’s largest water theme park had humble beginnings.

“The park itself opened in 1956,” vice president and marketing director Katie Wojdyla said. “It was a small roadside kiddie park along the Adirondack corridor. There were three local businessmen that got together and created this park, including the storybook characters we have. That was the main emphasis.”

Those three businessmen took 80 acres of swamp and turned it into an attraction 140,000 people would visit in its first season. After 20 successful years though, they were ready to sell. That’s when Wojdyla’s father, Tim Noonan, came in.

“He was 26 at the time and they figured ‘oh, here’s this 26-year-old. We’ll hold the mortgage, and we’ll have the park back in a year or so,’” Wojdyla said. “But here we are today, and he’s never looked back.”

Noonan bought the park in 1977. He tracked the weather for a few years and decided a water park could work here.

“It was the ‘80s when we put in the first water slide,” Wojdyla said. “It’s The Shadow, used to be Wild Waters. After that, we just kept going and it sort of came alive as Enchanted Forest Water Safari and became this path to this large water park that we are today.”

The park expanded rapidly but kept its original roots. Most of the storybook characters, the train, the circus, and some of the rides have been upkept this whole time. The carousel is about to turn 100 years old. Families come generation after generation for the attractions they know and love.

“There’s nostalgia,” Wojdyla said. “That’s the heartwarming part about operating a water park and we’re thrilled to continue the tradition.”

What’s next for Water Safari? The Noonan family plans to continue its legacy and make improvements every year. So, the fun truly will never stop.

Copyright 2022 WWNY. All rights reserved.


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