Day Trips & Beyond: Water Park Updates From Around the State

Daytripping in the age of a pandemic

It wouldn’t be summer without water parks. Around the state, parks with a water theme like SeaWorld in San Antonio are opening a limited basis following health guidelines.

On June 3, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the third phase of the state of Texas’ plan to safely open the economy while containing the spread of COVID-19. Despite a surge in new coronavirus cases since Memorial Day, under Phase III all businesses in Texas will be able to operate at up to 50% capacity, with very limited exceptions. Businesses that previously have been able to operate at 100% capacity may continue to do so, and most outdoor areas are not subject to capacity limits. All businesses and customers should continue to follow minimum standard health protocols laid out by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Effective June 19, amusement parks and carnivals may open at 50% capacity.

SeaWorld, San Antonio (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

SeaWorld in San Antonio reopened on June 19. All tickets must be reserved online before arriving at the park. Guests and employees must undergo and pass a temperature check before entering the park. Once in the park, everyone must wear a face covering unless eating, drinking, or in a water feature. Social distancing and sanitation protocols will be strictly maintained throughout the park.

Schlitterbahn water park and resorts in New Braunfels and Galveston began a phased reopening on June 13 for season pass holders ($94.99 per person), according to the park’s website. The water parks will open in waves in accordance with the state’s order with season pass holders getting the first opportunity. Schlitterbahn is introducing a series of health protocols for patrons to follow including reserving their visit online, health screenings, and a face mask requirement while not in the water. The parks hope to eventually expand this summer to guests purchasing daily admission.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas amusement park in San Antonio began opening on a limited basis on June 19 and to all guests on June 22. Tickets must be reserved and purchased online. All guests over 2 years old will be expected to wear a mask while not in the water at the theme park. Other new protocols include staggering guest arrival times, thermal imaging temperature checks, advanced security screening technology for touchless bag checks, and mobile food ordering.

Son’s Island on the Guadalupe River in Seguin has opened for the summer. The staff says that there is plenty of room to socially distance because each cabana is semi-private. Guests are asked to come only with immediate family and must sign an online waiver before arriving.

Typhoon Texas, the water park in Pflugerville (formerly known as Hawaiian Falls) and in Houston, reopened on a limited basis at the end of May. Tickets must be purchased online.

Volente Beach Resort has reopened their water park, restaurant, and bungalows. Guests will be expected to wear face coverings while indoors at the park. Staff will be disinfecting common areas every hour, but patrons are expected to police their own social distancing.

Reminders for those going out:

• Individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings.
• People should not be in groups greater than 10 when possible.
• People over the age of 65 are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible.
• People are still asked to avoid nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities.

Gerald McLeod has been traveling around Texas and beyond for his "Day Trips" column for more than 25 years. Keep up to date with his journeys on his archive page.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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Day Trips, COVID-19, coronavirus, travel, water parks, Volente Beach, Typhoon Texas, SeaWorld, Schlitterbahn, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Son's Island

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