It will be sliding time again and time to wade into the waves May 23 when the 20-acre, nearly 20-year-old Breakers Water Park, 8555 W. Tangerine Road, opens for the summer season.

After a year in which attendance was up more than 13 percent with the increase in young families in the area, Steve Miklosi, general manager, is expecting even bigger crowds this year.

The park, which opened in 1985 with its centerpiece 1.3 million gallon wave pool and just two slides, now has seven slides, ranging from 200 to 400 feet long, some that will take your breath away at speeds of up to 30 miles an hour, others in Splash Canyon of varying route and speeds for the less daring. Kids at least three feet tall will be able to ride two at a time on rubber doughnut-hole rafts, while sliders must be at least four feet tall.

Weddings have become a big thing at the Breakers, which is offering bookings for them for the second year in a row. So, too, are corporate meetings, such as the one scheduled by Intuit the day before the park's official opening, Teen Nights, combination swim and dance parties overseen by staff that drew more than 5,000 at a time last year, and fund-raisers for charities, said Miklosi.

The park is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The cost is $14.95 plus tax for patrons 12 and older and $8.95 for children four to 11. Children under four are free. Season passes, normally $69.95, can be purchased at Fry's or Circle K stores for $39.95 through mid-June.

Visitors this year will see new pool decking and be able to take advantage of more shaded areas than ever before, as well as improved children's play areas, said Miklosi, a veteran of more than 25 years in the water park business who is beginning his fourth year at the park after being hired by the park's investors following a convention of water park businesses in San Antonio.

The park has a staff of about 80 people, the majority of whom are high school and college students, as well as lifeguards trained in first aid and a registered nurse.

The emphasis is on total family enjoyment with the park's assortment of slides, kiddy pools, picnic areas and snack bar, offering soft drinks, hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza.

The family orientation is one of the reasons, besides safety, that the wave pool isn't cranked up full force, Miklosi said. "We don't want to scare people away."

For more information, call 682-2304 or visit the park's Web site at www.breakerswaterpark.com

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