Some changes at Wild Water West as they prepare for opening day

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:47 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Weather permitting, Saturday is set as opening day at Wild Water West, and staff have been working hard to make sure that it’s a splash.

“We make sure we get enough staff out here so we push hard to get lifeguards, concession workers, and hostesses,” Kara Harms said, the Marketing Director at Wild Water West.

One of those employees is Jenni Peterson, who as a lead lifeguard has helped keep your kids safe over the past 4 years.

“I say it’s really good. Attention wise, if a kid is struggling with the water or they need life jackets we’re always there to help,” Peterson said.

There are also some changes this year to help increase safety. Such as moving the lead lifeguard station to the brain freeze area.

“A little more central so we can help out throughout the park, gives us easy access to ice, so I think we’re really set up good for this year,” Peterson said.

In terms of having enough lifeguards, Harms says they’re sitting in a good position.

“It was a slow start, but now we’ve got a lot of people out here. I think it really helps to have social media. We really pushed hard there. We also went to a lot of local career fairs,” Harms said.

Something else that helped is a pay increase for first-year lifeguards, up to $16 an hour as well as other incentives.

“We’ve been doing more referral bonuses, and perks if you do apply. I know that we’re trying to schedule like a yoga event out here by the wave pool in the morning for our employees,” Harms said.

Wild Water West has also added a 149-spot campground right next door, to help drive up out-of-town attendance.

“You have a water park right in your backyard, it’s something different, something people weren’t expecting, but it’ll be good,” Harms said.