Shipshewana, IN – In a community patronized for years by older adults coming to the Midwest’s largest flea market, there’s a new resort in town offering “fun and entertainment” to younger families – a $25 million year-round waterpark resort.
In this Amish community celebrated for hosting 1,100 vendors across 100 acres during the summer months, Splash Universe Water Park Resorts opened a year-round entertainment destination for families with children, which includes the Splash Universe Water Park, a 154 room full-service hotel, Clear Spring Restaurant, a Blue Gate family restaurant, Ice Creamery and Soda Shoppe, and Splash Crafts Country Store. This is the first indoor waterpark to open in Northern Indiana and believed to be the second to open in the state.
Town officials joined in the grand opening, which included the adjacent Shipshewana Town Center and Hostetler’s Hudson Auto Museum, housing the world’s largest collection of diverse Hudson antique cars, including the only 1928 Hudson town car ever produced. This 48-car collection is part of a $5.1 million gift donated by Eldon and Esta Hostetler, which included land for the 65,000 sq. ft. facility and an endowment to operate it. Also displayed is the “Doc Hudson Hornet” car built for Paul Newman whose voice is in the automated 2006 movie “Cars,” on loan from the Porsche “Champion+Gunnar” racing team that highlights the 81-year old actor as its oldest member.
“We are thrilled to be a partner in launching this new era for tourism and economic development in Shipshewana,” said Jerald J. Good, president & CEO, Focus Hospitality Services, LLC, the parent company of Splash Universe Water Park Resorts. “Our company is all about family entertainment and now younger families will have an opportunity to enjoy the fun in our newest year-round waterpark resort, located here in historic Shipshewana, visited by 1 million people a year.”
In addition to opening a new market while giving traditional visitors another reason to stay longer, Good also stressed the benefits of the new town center and museum to Shipshewana. “This $10 million investment will benefit the entire community through conventions booked at the Shipshewana Town Center, and also through people coming to see the collection of antique automobiles in the Hostetler’s Hudson Auto Museum,” Good said.
Focus played a key role with town and county officials in a unique public/private partnership that helped generate the funding for the construction of the town center and museum, eight years after Mr. Hostetler offered to donate his private collection to the town. Focus agreed to give a user enhancement fee of $3 for every person who visits the waterpark, and La Grange County agreed for the 5% innkeeper’s tax paid on every visitor to the hotel to also go toward paying off the bonds for the construction of the project. “This only happened because of a forward-thinking town council and a progressive private company in Focus working together for the good of this community,” said Norman Kauffmann, Ph.D., who helped create the joint venture as town manager and now serves as special projects manager for Shipshewana.
“This combined $35 million investment is expected to bring over 170,000 new visitors a year to Shipshewana for the waterpark resort and hotel, the events at Shipshewana Town Center, and the museum,” said Dean Morgan, General Manager of the Shipshewana Town Center and the Hostetler’s Hudson Auto Museum and coordinator of the project for Focus.
“The waterpark part of the resort will feature fast action and family attractions for all ages. The waterpark facility includes the Barnyard Playhouse, a three-story themed water-fun adventure area with a tipping bucket dumping 500 gallons of water every five minutes. Dual Vortex water slides, each 250 feet long, a lazy river, a Hot Springs hot tub area, a Bullfrog Crossing Challenge, and a Little Squirt Pool are just the beginning of the resort’s offerings. The Shooting Star Arcade and party rooms for birthdays and other Splash Celebrations are additional features that make Splash Universe the full-service indoor waterpark resort that is the ideal location for family fun,” said Shawn Bowman, Vice President, Marketing, Splash Universe Water Park Resorts.
Along with its Riegsecker’s Clear Spring Restaurant, the Ice Creamery and Soda Shoppe, and Snack Barn, the hotel offers themed guest rooms and family suites that celebrate the country lifestyle. Located just blocks from the famous Blue Gate Restaurant, the hotel also showcases the Adventure Quest Kids Club characters – “Rex, Sandy, Lee, and Buddy” – creating a fun atmosphere for children, emphasizing games and other activities.
Splash Universe Water Park Resorts is operated and managed by Focus Hospitality Services, LLC part of the Focus Group of companies based in Valparaiso, IN. For more information, call 1-87-SPLASH-U2 or go to www.splashuniverse.com.
Shawn L. Bowman
Vice President of Marketing
Focus Hospitality Services, LLC /
Splash Universe Indoor Water Park Resorts
650 Morthland Dr. Suite A
Valparaiso, IN 46385
P: 219 531-2500 Ext. 4
F: 219 531-2525