By Samantha Joseph
MARTIN COUNTY -- In the weeks since launching sales for season passes to Sailfish Splash Waterpark, officials said they've sold nearly 700 passes, generating close to $23,000.
Sales for the 2013 season have been brisk, outpacing last year's performance by about $19,000, according to Craig Jon Anderson, marketing coordinator for Sailfish Splash Waterpark and Martin County's parks and recreation department.
At this time last year, about three months before the park's first season, sales were trickling in, with 49 passes sold for about $1,400.
"We've already dramatically outperformed last season, at least at this juncture. This year is starting much more quickly," said Mr. Anderson.
"Last year there was a lot of uncertainty about when the opening date was. The real skeptics were thinking that we may not be open at all for the summer or only during part of it."
But thanks to heavy publicity surrounding the controversial park, an intense marketing program targeting area families and partnerships with local tourism promoters, Sailfish Splash Waterpark turned a profit in its first months of operation.
During its first season, the park generated $1.4 million in revenue, with about $980,000 in expenses. Season pass sales accounted for more than 30 percent of revenue.
On the verge of its second season, set to run from March 22 to Sept. 3, park officials are projecting a strong performance.
"We don't want to set expectations too high, but generally the second year tends to be a little bit better than the first, because it's easier to get word-of-mouth promotion," Mr. Anderson said.
Passes are priced at $38.75 for adults and $31.25 for children between ages 3 and 12 and seniors 55 and older.
Pass holders get unlimited entry to the water park, beginning five weeks earlier than last year, use of the 50-meter swimming pool during operating hours, and specials and discounts on park services. Their guests also get 25 percent discount on daily admission rates.
"Right now the passes are priced as low as they'll ever be," Mr. Anderson said.
Walk-up admission is $11.75 for adults and $9 for children and seniors.
For more information or to purchase passes, visit www.SailfishSplash.com.