How We Turned an Abandoned Quarry into a Waterpark Paradise

1st June 2024

Where It All Began

Imagine a calm, sunny evening in 2014. Bobby Carmichael, the adventure-loving owner of The Jungle Outdoor Adventure Centre, was soaring through the skies in his paramotor over Moneymore. As he flew, a shimmering glint of water caught his eye—a hidden 12-acre lake on the outskirts of Moneymore. This lake, nestled quietly on the site of an old quarry, had been filled with pristine spring water for over 30 years since the quarry ceased operations. Bobby knew he had stumbled upon something special and immediately envisioned an outdoor waterpark.

After some research, Bobby discovered that the lake was still under the ownership of a multinational quarry company, Northstone and Farren’s. Determined to bring his dream to life, he approached the owners and began the lengthy process of negotiating the purchase of the lake. By 2019, after years of persistence, the ownership was finally transferred, and the journey of transforming this hidden gem began.

Getting to Work

With the paperwork complete, the real work started in late 2019. We partnered with L Loughran & Sons Contracts Ltd to tackle the massive task of making the site accessible. At that time, the lake was surrounded by overgrown trees, dense bushes, and a wild landscape. The initial phase involved a rigorous site clearance to allow access. This was followed by a cut-and-fill operation to level the grounds, paving the way for future building projects, including a car park and the areas surrounding the lake.

The final step in this phase was a comprehensive drainage operation, essential for providing adequate plumbing access for toilets, showers, and drains. By February 2020, we had transformed the site into a beautiful, accessible location featuring a vast freshwater lake, rugged basalt cliff faces, and lush tree lines. We were ready to lay the groundwork for our main pavilion and changing area.

The Aquapark Arrives

In our quest to find the best aquapark, we scoured the globe in 2019. Our goal was clear: to obtain an exciting range of obstacles and slides with the highest safety standards. Enter WiBit, the world’s leading floating water park brand. After numerous discussions, we decided to invest in a custom-made XL Inflatable AquaPark, packed with obstacles and slides and uniquely branded in striking green and yellow.

WiBit’s reputation for safety is unmatched, with all their products certified by TUV, a respected German product-safety testing institute, and adhering to the EN ISO 25649 safety standard. Made from PVC material that conforms to the EU’s REACH health regulations, WiBit ensures one of the highest chemical safety standards worldwide. By 2020, our brand-new inflatable aquapark was ready to make a splash!

Opening Time! Or Not...

We were all set to open in 2020, but then the Covid crisis hit, postponing our grand opening to 2021. Despite the setback, we didn’t sit idle. Instead, we used the extra time to continue enhancing the site. We installed jetties and laid the foundations for our modern pavilion building, preparing for a full install in 2022/23.

Main Pavilion & Top Deck Eatery

The final piece of the puzzle was the completion of our modern and stylish main lakeside pavilion. We also sought out a unique culinary experience for our guests, leading to a partnership with one of the most exciting food businesses in Mid Ulster. With a sizeable £1.3 million investment, we brought our pavilion up to the highest standards.

In early 2023, we joined forces with CoCo’s Craft Pizza, founded by the two Conors. Their creativity, experience, and passion for food have significantly enhanced the visitor experience at Splash. Additionally, we launched our own coffee hut, The Sipway, offering delightful snacks and drinks.

The Future of Splash

The future looks incredibly bright for Splash! In May 2024, we proudly received our Gold Standard RLSS Accreditation, making us the first and only Gold Standard Aquapark in Northern Ireland for the second consecutive year. This prestigious award is a testament to the immense dedication and hard work poured into Splash.

We’re excited about what lies ahead. We look forward to hosting local schools for end-of-term trips and welcoming families and friends to enjoy our aquapark and water-based activities. Beyond water fun, we are expanding our focus on wellbeing and mindfulness with regular yoga and breathwork sessions and more exciting events planned.

Join us at Splash Outdoor Waterpark for an unforgettable adventure where every splash creates a cherished memory!