Houston-area water park reopens before Texas offers guidelines

Just ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, a water park in the Houston-area is preparing to reopen its doors to visitors this Saturday, even though Governor Abbott has not given water parks the green light to do so.

This Saturday, Big Rivers Waterpark and Adventures in New Caney will be reopening its doors to just 1/6th of their usual capacity. 

"The great thing about it is that we have lots of open space," said Big Rivers' CEO and developer, Monty Galland. 

"We’ve got space for over 12,000 people but what we’re doing is limiting attendance to 2,020 people. We figured 2,020 in 2020 -- it’s an easy number to remember," Galland continued. 

Galland said although the facility boasts four pools including a lazy river, splash pads, and huge water slides, Big Rivers has more to offer spread across its 80 acres of land.

"We’ve got zip lines, challenge courses, and obstacle course on the lake," said Galland. 

There's also a BBQ restaurant, a Ninja Warrior Style jungle gym, ax throwing, archery, and a petting zoo featuring ponies, piglets and goats. 

On Memorial Day Weekend, all attractions will be opening, even though Governor Abbott specifically said water parks aren’t allowed to just yet. But despite having “water park” in its name, Big Rivers technically isn’t breaking the rules.

When FOX 26 asked Galland if he considers the water park's reopening defying the governor's orders, he responded, "I hope not."

"In our county, we are a commercial pool. There is no zoning. People should be able to make a choice. We’re taking steps and extreme measures. We don’t make money with 2,000 people at the park. But our goal is to keep our employees. Our goal is to give the public options and let them choose," Galland said. "We certainly want to accommodate the government in any way that we can, in the event that this raises a red flag. We’re not anarchists. We ask that they look at the overall situation." 

"When you spread 2,000 people out over 80 acres, then you start looking at. That’s pretty spread out. That’s a lot less dense than a Wal-Mart, certainly a lot less dense than a bowling alley. The bowling alley’s not being bathed in chlorinated water constantly, or out in the sunshine constantly," Galland continued. 

Galland said Big Rivers operations teams have increased the chlorine levels in their pools. 

They've also separated outside tables and loungers to create the appropriate 6-feet social distancing space as recommended by the CDC. 
Visitors who may be sick or who’ve traveled out-of-state in the last two weeks are asked to stay away. Masks are encouraged but not required. 

For more information on Big Rivers, click here.