Located in Gulfport, Mississippi, Gulf Islands Waterpark is the largest water park amusement attraction on the Gulf Coast, offering a wide variety of high and mild-thrill water rides and a zipline adventure park as part of the Gulfports Sportsplex complex.
The Gulfport Sportsplex complex was constructed in 2005 as part of a master plan designed by the Gulfport Department of Leisure Services to provide a multipurpose recreational center for the citizens of Gulfport. Once completed, the 250-acre recreational park offered nine terraced ball fields, four international-regulation soccer fields, and a variety of pavilion, concession, and meeting room amenities. As one of the leading hosts of regional and national sporting events in the American Southeast, including World Series baseball events, the complex has been rated as the number one sporting venue in the state of Mississippi by the United States Specialty Sports Association. Gulf Islands Waterpark was opened to the public in July of 2005 as part of the Gulfport Sportsplex, offering a variety of high and mild-thrill water attractions for Gulfport area residents and tourists to enjoy throughout the summer operating season. In 2011, the water park was expanded, adding several new attractions, including a six-lane racer slide, and in 2016, an adjacent zipline adventure park was added to the facility.
Rides and Attractions
Today, Gulf Islands Waterpark is overseen by the Gulfport Department of Leisure Services as a private water park amusement attraction, offering a variety of water rides for visitors of all ages. As a private attraction on the grounds of the Gulfport Sportsplex, the water park leases the 18-acre site from the City of Gulfport and shares a portion of its profits with the city’s government. The water park is themed to incorporate popular cultural attractions and landmarks within the South Mississippi coastal area and barrier islands of the Gulf Islands National Seashore into all of its attraction names.
Major water ride attractions include the Horn Island Blaster, the only water roller coaster offered in the Gulf Coast area. The Master Blaster® attraction features more than 500 feet of track twists and turns, offering 45-degree hill drops and anti-gravity uphill features. The Deer Island Express tunnel slide offers single and double tube experiences down a 38-foot incline for dark-ride thrills, while the Cat Island Catapult twisting waterway tube slide offers a drop of over 155 feet. Other high-thrill rides include the Riptide Racer dueling mat ride, with riders racing down a 45-foot drop to challenge each other for finish-line times, and the 400-foot-long Camille Cutter rafting ride, which allows up to three riders per boat to travel through its twists and turns. The new Zip’n Fun zipline adventure park course, located adjacent to the main water park facility, also offers more than 50 treetop obstacles and activities, including sky bridges, swinging logs, and a Tarzan jump.
Family fun is offered at the Lazy Pearl River, which travels the length of more than three football fields and offers stops all throughout the park’s attraction area. A 12,000-square-foot Waveland Wave Pool offers gentle rolling waves and inner tube experiences for riders of all ages, while a Spray St. Louis attractions provides opportunities for children and families to cool off under misting and soaking apparatuses. Three children’s play areas are offered, including the Padascagoula kids’ slippery-pad crossing area, the Li’l Pelican’s Bay water playground, offering water cannons, squirt guns, and miniature open-flume body slides, and the Ship Island Wreck play area for visitors ages 24 months and younger and their families.
Concessions offered throughout the park include the Petit Bois Island Cafe, which serves standard American fare such as grilled chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries. Fresh-baked pizza is served at Dockside Pizza, while Polly’s Sweet Spot offers desserts such as funnel cakes, cotton candy, and shaved ice. Amenities offered at the park include rental cabanas and pavilion areas, which may be rented at an additional cost to standard visitor admission by the hour or day.
Ongoing Programs and Events
In addition to standard visitor admission, group ticket sales may be coordinated through the Gulf Islands Waterpark Group Sales Department, including group admission for school field trips, church groups, or corporate outings. Covered picnic pavilions and onsite catering may be added to group ticket packages for an additional fee. Birthday party packages are also available for young visitors wishing to celebrate their birthdays at the park, with catering and party favors provided for guests. A number of daily and special event performances are offered at the park throughout its operating season, including performances by the Extreme Raptors birds of prey show and the High-Diving Pirates action show and meet-and-greets with Nickelodeon and Disney Channel celebrities. Annual special events include a Halloween Night Lights event in October and a yearly Mississippi Gulf Coast Youth for Christ lock-in event at the park, featuring live bands and entertainment.
17200 16th St, Gulfport, MS 39503, Phone: 228-328-1266