By: Kelly Baughman
Family fun awaits you with endless thrills at the Gulf Coast’s newest theme park, OWA. Literally meaning “big water” in the Muscogee Creek language, you’ll catch sprawling views of the Gulf of Mexico and surrounding waters as you fly high on one of OWA’s 21 rides that include seven heart-pounding thrill rides and one major rollercoaster.
Located at 1501 South OWA Blvd. in Foley, Alabama, OWA is nestled on a 520 acre master planned destination resort. The park currently features a 150-room onsite Marriott TownePlace Suites, perfect for accommodating the whole family with built in kitchenettes and room for everyone to relax after a long day of playing in the park. Check out an outdoor concert or fireworks over the 14 acres lake at the 400 seat outdoor amphitheater and boathouse, or let the kids beat the summertime heat as they splash around in the newly opened Wacky Waters Splash Pad, 10,000 square feet of water-themed fun. There, you’ll be surprised by a 20-foot-tall dump bucket, a towering coconut tree that rains down 54 gallons of water per minute, a six-foot-tall dome of water and more than a dozen other interactive water features.
Downtown OWA admission is free, and there you’ll find great places to shop like Alvin’s Island, Fairhope Soap Company, Parker & Co., and more. Reminiscent of the quaint and charming streets of downtown Foley and Fairhope, Downtown OWA features delicious restaurants and eateries like Sassy Bass, Wahlburgers, Groovy Goat, Crazy Donuts, and the soon to be opened Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Guests can stroll through the shops, have a great meal, and even play in the state of the art arcade that features 50 games that allow you to accumulate points without needed tickets to redeem at the end of your stay for great prizes.
Once you’ve made your way inside the Park at OWA the thrill seeker in you won’t be able to get enough of the 21 rides catered to visitors of all ages. With rides like the Air Racer, where riders can feel the weight of G forces pilots feel when flying, the Alabama Wham’a, where guests board the ride at a horizontal position then circular frame then changes course and raises its passengers to resemble a (thrilling and fast-paced) ferris wheel, and Twister, a hair raising ride that spins you in every direction while whirling you upside down and around in a 360 degree circle, there is sure to be something to make everyone’s heart race.
The main attraction, The Rolling Thunder, is OWA’s largest and most thrilling rollercoaster, designed with the ultimate daredevil in mind. Reaching speeds of up to 60 mph, The Rolling Thunder is a towering, state of the art, metal coaster that leaves passengers breathless as the flip, roll, and loop their way into screams of delight.
Owned and operated by the Poarch Creek Indian Tribe, OWA has brought more than 420 jobs to the Baldwin County area since its opening in July of 2017. OWA Marketing representative, Ryan Peacock, said that the increase phase one of OWA will bring to Baldwin County’s economic output is expected to be $244 million, a number that equate to an additional 7% of all tourist spending in the South Alabama region.
Peacock also mentioned, that by adding numerous jobs to the area, OWA has single handedly added an average increase of $78.5 million in payroll to the South Alabama area. As phase 2 begins construction later this year, Peacock said the expected increase to Baldwin County economic output will increase to $109 million and is expected to increase payroll to $64 million upon completion.
Peacock said Phase 2 promises to deliver a luxury RV Resort, four additional hotels offering conference space, a resort level condominium, and a full scale outdoor waterpark. In addition to the park, resort, and all its amenities, OWA is also home to the City of Foley’s Sports Tourism Complex, which offers 16 state of the art sports fields and an indoor event center that attracts tournaments and team events from all over the country.
But OWA is more than just a place to have fun. Peacock said OWA strives to be an important part of the community by offering events like the upcoming Community Safety Day on August 25th. This free event will feature interactive live demonstrations with local first responders, allowing kids and adults to tour fire trucks, police cars, SWAT vehicles, and get some one on one time with the men and women who keep our community safe every day.
Labor Day Weekend is sure to be a blast as OWA celebrates the end of a great summer with a bang on Saturday, September 1st. The first annual OWA Car Show will take place with an array of classic cars on display from 8 am to 4 pm. From Hot Rods, to Low Riders, to custom builds, cars of all shapes, sizes, and decades are welcome.
Put your “baby” in the show before August 24th for just $20. From August 25th to Labor Day, it’s $25 to enter and only $15 per additional vehicle. All entries benefit the First Baptist Church of Foley. Lots of prizes will be on hand, including trophies for Pastor’s Choice, OWA Choice, Best of Show, Best Rat Rod, and so many more.
Finish off a great Labor Day in the park with a spectacular fireworks display over the lake at 8:45 pm!
OWA is open daily from 10am-9pm Monday through Thursday and 10 am-10pm Friday through Sunday until August 12th. On August 13th, OWA will enter into reduced hours, only open Friday through Sunday from 10am-9pm. General admission prices are $34.99 for adults and $27.99 for kids. Hurry in now through August 12th for the evening special which allows all visitors admission to the park for just $19.99 from 6 pm to close.
For more information about OWA, to purchase tickets, or to book your vacation now, visit www.visitowa.com or call to speak to an OWA representative at 251-923-2111.
Adventure and thrills await the whole family! Come see what the fuss is all about!