A New England staple is shutting its doors at the end of the summer. Water Wizz of Westerly, Rhode Island, will be closing after 40 years of operations, the water park announced Wednesday.
The park, located near Misquamicut State Beach, is closing due to its aging infrastructure and what it says are the ever-increasing costs of operating a small business in Rhode Island.
Water Wizz is also “still recovering from significant financial impact of Superstorm Sandy,” manager Ken Rider wrote in a Facebook post. Rider first started working at the park in 1992 as a lifeguard.
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Rider said the park has held a special place in New Englanders' hearts since it opened in 1979. Despite attracting tourists and residents alike, the park had always maintained its "small town feel," he said.
“Water Wizz has strived to provide a friendly, safe, and fun experience for all,” Rider said.
As soon as the park announced that it would be closing, hundreds of people reacted online with sadness, commenting about what the park has meant to them.
“Been taking my kids over the summer for the past 5 or so years!" Karen Kershaw commented. "We loved the family vibe and will miss going!”
Alison Griffin said: “Thank you for being such a big part of Misquamicut all of these years! My kids have wonderful memories of sliding there every year... they will def miss you!”
The water park will close on Labor Day. The park is urging New Englanders to visit at least once before then.