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Honey Creek Resort opens aquapark

Water inflatables targeted at 'tweens, teens and adults

People playing at the Honey Creek Resort aquapark, which opened over Memorial Day weekend 2018. The park has 16 inflatable structures just off the beach of Lake Rathbun, near Moravia. (submitted photo)
People playing at the Honey Creek Resort aquapark, which opened over Memorial Day weekend 2018. The park has 16 inflatable structures just off the beach of Lake Rathbun, near Moravia. (submitted photo)

Iowa’s only state-owned resort has added an aquapark, with 16 floating structures for bouncing, climbing and sliding into Lake Rathbun in southeastern Iowa.

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, of Buffalo, N.Y., which took over operations of Honey Creek Resort, in Moravia, in March 2016, purchased the inflatable structures to entertain visitors to the lake and resort, said Anne Drannen, director of sales and marketing for the company.

“Really, we thought more about kids using it, but the adult population that are kids are heart are asking about it,” Drannen said about the aquapark, which opened Memorial Day weekend.

The inflatable structures include a slide, balance beam, climbing wall and a “flip,” which allows someone to jump on one end and blast a friend off the other. Admission to the park also includes use of a water trampoline added last summer. The structures float just off the beach, where the lake gets a little deeper, Drannen said.

Participants must weight at least 40 pounds and wear a life jacket. The aquapark has lifeguards.

“This is more for ‘tweens, teens and above,” Drannen said. “Our indoor water park is more geared toward the younger kids and this is more for the older kids.”

Aquapark admission is $15 for resort guests ($25 for day visitors) for the morning sessions from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or the afternoon session from 2 to 6 p.m. A twilight session from 6-8 p.m. is $5 for resort guests and $10 for others.

Honey Creek Resort, opened in 2008, has a 105-room lodge, 28 cottages, restaurant, indoor water park and 18-hole golf course. The 16,000-acre resort also offers stand-up paddle boards, kayaks, fishing, biking and naturalist programs.

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The resort, 90 minutes from Iowa’s major metropolitan areas, has struggled to meet financial targets in many years since it opened.

Delaware North reported Honey Creek’s total revenue for 2017 was $6.23 million, well over the fiscal 2016 revenue of $5.4 million, but short of the $6.71 million budget planned for 2017, the company reported in February. The firm’s contract with the state calls for Delaware North to invest $2.5 million into the resort and put additional money aside for maintenance. The state gets money back if gross annual receipts exceed $7 million.

Delaware North is increasing marketing of Honey Creek in Eastern Iowa, Drannen said.

“Eastern Iowa is part of our focus for our radio campaign as well as newspaper,” she said. “People seem to know a little more about it.”

For more information about the aquapark, go to https://www.honeycreekresort.com/things-to-do/aquapark.

l Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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