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June 05. 2014 8:19PM

Waterpark officials see bigger crowds this year because of better economy

Two New Hampshire water parks opening Saturday are gearing up for bigger crowds this season.

 

 

Officials at Whale’s Tale Waterpark in Lincoln are looking for a 5 percent increase in attendance this year over 2013.

“We’re feeling extremely optimistic,” General Manager Jeb Boyd said Thursday.

“We feel the economy’s coming around,” Boyd said. “We’re definitely hiring more staff.”

At Water Country in Portsmouth, officials are predicting for slightly fewer than 280,000 visitors this year — about 50,000 more than last year, according to Cristine Trayner, its marketing and sales manager.

“We had a rainy year last year,” Trayner said. “June was pretty much a washout for us.”

The 2012 season featured “a hot, really dry summer” and resulted in about 280,000 visitors, she said.

Staffing will remain about the same, between 350 and 400 workers. One-day tickets cost $38.99 while a season pass runs $65.99.

“I’m doing the anti-rain dance — the sun dance,” Trayner joked.

A survey of Water Country patrons showed “most people said they decided to come the day before or the day of,” depending on the weather, Trayner said.

Boyd said he is encouraged by a 6 percent rise in group sales over last year.

“Those are the trends that are telling us and making us feel optimistic about the summer,” he said.

At Whale’s Tale, weekend tickets cost $27 a person.

He said the park will employ about 150 people, an increase of less than 10 percent, Boyd said.

Officials at both parks were excited about the sunny and warm weather forecasted for their opening weekend.

“People call all the time and ask what is the busiest day of the week,” Boyd said. “It’s not the day of the week; it’s the nicest day of the week.”



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