Agreement Supports Longest Rafting Season on Colorado’s Arkansas River

Agreement Supports Longest Rafting Season on Colorado’s Arkansas River

A successful water management agreement on the Arkansas River exemplifies Colorado’s dedication to its natural resources and the visitor experiences they support, according to the Arkansas River Outfitters Association (AROA).

The Arkansas River Voluntary Flow Management Program helps ensure there is water for whitewater rafting on the river well into August. The cooperative agreement among water users is unique in that it includes recreation in water management decisions.

AROA is part of the agreement with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and other agencies that not only supports summer flows for whitewater rafting, but also manages water year-round for a healthy fishery.

The program, which started in 1990, is a model management technique for all other rivers in the American West. It allows whitewater rafting outfitters to offer the longest boating season in Colorado, AROA Executive Director Bob Hamel said.

“The water program recognizes that recreation is part of our lifestyle, and that its economic impact is important,” Hamel said.

Whitewater rafting generated $179.8 million in spending among the state’s commercial users last year, according to the Colorado River Outfitters Association.

The Arkansas River is America’s most popular whitewater rafting destination, hosting nearly a quarter of a million visitors last season and attracting kayakers and private rafters from around the world. The river hosts more than 40 percent of the state’s commercial rafting market, in part due to the longer season, but also because its 100-plus miles of whitewater rapids offer something for nearly everyone.

Technical boating, mild family float trips, multi-day camping and inn-to-inn rafting, plus standup paddle boarding and kayaking, are popular trips among families and friends of all ages.

With the mountain towns of Salida, Buena Vista and Cañon City nearby, visitors lengthen their stays and plan additional outdoor fun like horseback riding, ATV tours and hiking the area’s concentration of 14,000-foot peaks.

More than 100 miles of the Arkansas River was designated Gold Medal in 2014, meaning anglers can expect trophy trout fishing on a long, contiguous river segment that constitutes nearly a third of the state’s Gold Medal miles.

Disney Reveals Epic, Model of Star Wars-Themed Lands

Disney Reveals Epic, Model of Star Wars-Themed Lands

During a special preview of D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek unveiled a first look at the epic, richly detailed model of the Star Wars-themed lands under development at Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif. and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla. This stunning exhibition, on display in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ “A Galaxy of Stories” pavilion at D23 Expo, is yet another example of the breathtaking new worlds, immersive storytelling and transformational guest experiences that set Disney apart.

“To say we are excited for the Star Wars-themed lands to open in 2019 is an understatement,” Chapek said. “All along, we have said this will be game-changing, and through the model we can begin to see how truly epic these immersive new worlds will be.”

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New Family Friendly Entertainment Destination to Open July 31

New Family Friendly Entertainment Destination to Open July 31

OWA’s 21-ride themed amusement park, The Park at OWA, located in Foley, Alabama, will officially open its doors to the public July 21, 2017. Designed as a family fun destination, The Park at OWA will offer each and every guest a unique adventure.

Beginning opening day, guests will enjoy everything The Park at OWA has to offer: 21 rides (including the Rollin’ Thunder); a variety of midway games; quick service dining options; and the Parkside Gift Shop filled with one-of-a-kind Park at OWA treasures. The Park opens at 10 am daily.

Tickets will be available online at VisitOWA.com beginning July 18, 2017 at 10 am. Tickets may also be purchased on site opening day at The Park at OWA Admissions Office. Group discounts and packages will be available and more details can be found at VisitOWA.com.

“Our Tribe is excited to offer a family destination near Alabama’s beautiful beaches that will create memories this summer and for years to come,” commented Poarch Creek Indians Tribal Chair and CEO, Stephanie A. Bryan. Ms. Bryan continued, “We are also proud that OWA is positively impacting families living in Foley and the surrounding region through the job creation generated by this development.”

While The Park at OWA is set to open July 21st, the retail and dining tenants at OWA will open in phases beginning early in September 2017. The announced tenants include Wahlburgers, Sunglass World, Fairhope Soap Company, Alvin’s Island, Hershey’s Ice Cream Shop, and Utopia among others.

The Park at OWA’s official opening day promises to be full of fun and thrills. We invite you to spend this special July 21st plummeting down the Rollin’ Thunder coaster, spinning on brightly colored teacups, and enjoying classic midway games.

For more information regarding opening day details, please go to VisitOWA.com.

Dorney Park Introduces New Summer Culinary Series

Dorney Park Introduces New Summer Culinary Series

New this summer, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is launching its Summer Culinary Series, offering guests a dining option with all-you-can-eat classic American summer fare. Served in the brand new Parkside Pavilion catering facility, the series features a variety of menus created by executive chef Malo Jones.

The Summer Culinary Series begins with a Pitmasters Ribfest from July 8th – 9th. The menu includes all-you-can-eat ribs with an array of homemade BBQ sauces, hamburgers, hot dogs, and more. The series continues with a Tex Mex Festival, offered on July 15th – 16th and July 22nd – 23rd. Guests can build their own chicken fajitas and indulge in Mexican hot dogs, tex mex steak chili, and more.

Both events will be hosted inside Dorney Park’s new catering facility, Parkside Pavilion from 5:30 PM – 8 PM. Parkside Pavilion hosts a full chef’s kitchen and offers extensive culinary options for group outings and accommodates over 2,000 guests. Additional amenities include self-serving lines and digital signage.

Admission Tickets and entry to the Summer Culinary Series start at $53* and can be purchased online at https://www.dorneypark.com/play/events/summer-culinary-series or on the day of visit. Season Passholders receive a special deal and can purchase tickets to the Culinary Series events for $12* online only prior to the event. Season Passholders with the All Season Dining Plan can purchase tickets to the Culinary Series for only $5*.

Chef Jones has been enhancing the guest experience by expanding the dining services offered within the park. Guests are now able to choose from 95 different meal options at 19 different locations with an All Season Dining Plan and can enjoy a personalized menu at the new Chef’s Grill that includes rotating weekly specials and healthier dining options, such as Asian Crispy Wonton Salad. Chef Jones has a strong culinary background having worked in a number of different venues and cuisines, as well as experience in teaching and is a seasoned veteran in contract food services.

Branson’s Silver Dollar City Attractions Named Top Picks for Summer Family Travel

Branson’s Silver Dollar City Attractions Named Top Picks for Summer Family Travel

The arrival of summer spotlights a great American tradition: family summer travel. And as families look for ways to pack adventure into their limited time off – and please all ages – parks and attractions that offer a broad range of rides and activities, such as Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson, rise to the top for weekend get-aways as well as full vacation trips.

Cited for a combination of “scream-worthy” thrill rides as well as family attractions and rides for smaller kids, Silver Dollar City was recently named to the list of Best Amusement Parks for Families from TripAdvisor’s family travel site Family Vacation Critic, and in Top-Rated TripAdvisor Attractions in 50 States. Carried by outlets from MSN Travel and AOL to the Today Show’s website and Facebook, the national recognition gives families more reasons to vacation in Branson, profiled along with Silver Dollar City as one of the 17 Best Affordable Destinations in the USA by U.S. News & World Report. And for true thrill seekers, Silver Dollar City’s world-famous wood coaster Outlaw Run was recently recognized by MSN Travel as one of the Most Terrifying Roller Coasters in the World for the Ultimate Thrill.


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Another Silver Dollar City Attraction, White Water water park garnered its own superlatives, named to the Travel Channel’s Top U.S. Water Parks, with the new half-million dollar Coconut Cove kids’ play area featured in MSN.com’s New Water Park Additions for 2017.

Now through July, Silver Dollar City features the family-focused festival Star-Spangled Summer, featuring the Harlem Globetrotters, with 9 new Guinness World Records for trick shots, in the final year of The Globetrotter Experience show. The festival also presents stunt dogs, champion cloggers and cartoon characters through July 16. Then the park’s night ride event Moonlight Madness, July 15 – 30, brings ride-in-the-dark fun on the park’s 40-plus rides and attractions, including Outlaw Run, named Best New Ride of 2013 worldwide and featured in Guinness World Records 2015. Also presented are evening street dances and performances by international touring group Rockapella.


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Another affiliated attraction, the Showboat Branson Belle, presents the new noon show Country On The Lake, a “Party on the Lake” concert cruise featuring hits from classic rock to today’s country favorites, plus the popular evening show Celebrate and Princess & Pirate Cruises for kids.

Information on Silver Dollar City, White Water and the Showboat Branson Belle is at 800-831-4FUN(386) or www.silverdollarcity.com.