Cape Coral's Sun Splash Family Waterpark will reopen today for the 2013 season with a bright fresh look and a renovated, renamed gift shop.
During the offseason, the park hosted a "Name the Gift Shop" contest through Facebook and asked people to submit their entries for a chance to win. First place went to "Treasure Trove," while "H2sh0p" took second.
The first place winner was awarded a $100 shopping spree to the new Treasure Trove Gift Shop. Second place received two free park tickets.
"We've got a lot of new stuff," Sandie Greiner, the park manager, said.
She explained that during the offseason, she attended two conventions and visited the East Coast in search of new products for the revamped shop.
"I got some unique stuff," Greiner said.
Early Bird season passes are available through April 7.
Prices range from $54 to $64 for Cape residents and $69 to $79 for non-residents. After April 7, they rise to $74 to $84 for residents and $89 to $99 for non-residents.
For example, the shop will carry the ShowNo towel, featured on ABC's television show "Shark Tank." The park's logo will be on the towels.
"They're like poncho towels. You just slip it over your head, so you never have to carry your towel," she said, adding that they are great for children.
There are plush animals from The Petting Zoo, along with other items like tie-dye shirts with the park's logo and beach jewelry from Cool Jewels.
"There's just some really neat stuff that we got," Greiner said. "Stuff that you can wear every day and have no association with Sun Splash."
The Treasure Trove Gift Shop will continue to carry the necessities.
"We have your normal flip-flops, suntan lotion," she said.
Outside of the shop, the park received a slight makeover of its own.
"Every other year or two, we repaint the pools," Greiner said. "This year, we went beyond the pools - we repainted the whole park."
Pressure washing was just not cutting it.
"We just wanted to spruce up the park," she said.
One other change - the park's souvenir cup. It will now be a thermal insulated cup, with 99 cent refills rather than $1.50. The cup is still $8.
Throughout the spring, Sun Splash is open only on the weekends, except for March 15, which will be a School's Out Day for Lee County Public Schools.
The park's weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"We follow the Lee County school schedule," Greiner said.
The park will be open March 23-31 for Spring Break, but will return to the weekend hours until late May, when schools are dismissed for summer.
The 2013 season runs through Sept. 29.
"We have three Family Fun Nights and three Aqua Theatre Nights," she said.
The park will show "Shrek" as one of its Aqua Theatre Night movies.
"We're going to kind of make June more of our Shrek month," Greiner said.
The park has partnered with the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre for the month, which will be putting on a production of "Shrek" at the time.
"They promised to give us the characters on certain days, which will be cool," she said.
July will feature Nickelodeon's Sponge Bob for the third year.
"I do plan on having Sponge Bob return," Greiner said. "Sponge Bob's big."
The park will continue to offer discounts or activities on the holidays.
"I'm going to keep with trying to do something special," she said.
For example, Sun Splash provided a plastic Easter egg to the first 100 children in line on Easter Sunday last year. Each egg held a prize, such as free food or drink coupons, treats or a pair of free tickets to the park.
"It could have candy in there, it could have stickers," Greiner said, adding that she plans to do something similar this year for the March holiday.
Early Bird season passes are available through April 7. Prices range from $54 to $64 for Cape residents and $69 to $79 for non-residents. After April 7, they rise to $74 to $84 for residents and $89 to $99 for non-residents.
"We sell very few after Early Bird. I bet the number's under 100," she said.
As of Friday, the park had sold approximately 183 season passes.
"We sold roughly 3,500 passes last year," Greiner said.
Season pass holders get unlimited admission to Sun Splash during regular operating hours, including Family Fun Nights and Aqua Theatre Nights. They also receive reduced parking fees and discounts on food and merchandise.
"It's a good value," she said.
"We have people that literally come for a couple of hours a day," Greiner added. "You don't mind coming if you don't have to pay for it."
Sun Splash Family Waterpark has more than 14 acres of wet and dry attractions for all ages, including three speed slides, a Lazy River, a Tot Spot for small children, a family pool, and open and enclosed water flumes.
"Come check us out," Greiner said. "You'll get a different feel this year."
For more information, visit online: www.SunSplashWaterpark.com.
The park is at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.