By Samantha Joseph
STUART - Sailfish Splash Waterpark took in more than $1 million in revenue, resulting in a profit and surpassing expectations for its first season.
The latest count on July 22 placed the park's unaudited revenue or receipts at $1,065,795.
It took in nearly $200,000 more than the $884,750 administrators expected the park to earn, and it did so more than a month before the official end of it first season on Sept. 30.
It also realized a net profit of more than $400,000.
Martin County Commission Chair Ed Ciampi, who spearheaded building the waterpark, celebrated the news of its performance.
"Our goal was to be revenue neutral, but it's operating in the black, and the season's not even finished yet," he said. "It was my baby, so I was very happy that it was more successful than we had hoped for."
Administrators say Martin County's newest attraction has proven to be a hit, attracting up to 2,000 visitors a day.
Admission for a day pass costs $11.25 for adults and $8.75 for children and seniors. Season passes are $45 for adults and $35 for children and seniors who live in the county. For nonresidents, season pass admission is $67.50 for adults and $52.50 for children and seniors.
To date, about 85,000 visitors have been to the park, located at 931 S.E. Ruhnke St., Stuart. Most come from Martin and neighboring counties, staff said.
Customers have spent $624,959 on walk-up admissions and concession items, $420,055 on season passes, $9,498 on swimming lessons and water safety instruction and $11,283 to rent private swim lanes and other space at the park.
"We beat our forecasts, but I think it's even more important we're running such a healthy operating profit," said Craig Anderson, marketing coordinator for Martin County's parks and recreation department.
With year-to-date expenses at $633,746, the park's net operating profit was $432,049.
"The quintessential reason is this is the right thing at the right time in the right location. To be successful you've got to have those three things, and we've got it all," Mr. Anderson said.
"Sailfish Splash Waterpark is exquisitely situated."
If sales continue at the current pace, he estimated the park would end the season with about $1.3million to $1.4 million in revenue.
Commissioner Ciampi also expected continued strong performance.
"Obviously people like it and they go," he said. "For many years into the future we'll have something that families can go to and enjoy. And it pays for itself. It's the perfect project."