Wet 'n Wild to permanently close next week

By Ashley Carter, Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Saturday, December 24, 2016, 11:31 AM EST

After nearly 40 years of operation, Wet ‘n Wild Orlando will close permanently on Dec. 31.

“The last splash!” a caption reads on its official website.

  • Wet 'n Wild Orlando to close on Dec. 31
  • The water park has been an Orlando staple since 1977
  • Universal Orlando, which owns the property, has not released future development plans

In 2015, the iconic Central Florida water park announced it was shutting down at the end of this year.

Wet ‘n Wild had an estimated 1.3 million visitors in 2015, according to the Theme Entertainment Association.

It ranks as the fourth most popular water park in the U.S., behind Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Disney’s Blizzard Beach and SeaWorld’s Aquatica.

Wet ‘n Wild was also popular destination among locals for its family-friendly attractions and affordability.

When Wet ‘n Wild opened in 1977, it wasn’t the first water park in Orlando. That title belongs to River Country USA at Walt Disney World, which opened in 1976. It closed permanently in 2001.

George Millay, considered the “father of the water park industry,” developed Wet ‘n Wild and SeaWorld.

Wet ‘n Wild is owned by Universal Orlando, which plans to open its own water park, Volcano Bay, next year.

So far, Universal has not revealed plans for the Wet ‘n Wild property.