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New theme park opening soon at Cultus Lake

Owner Chris Steunenberg is stoked to see his dream of the Cultus Lake Adventure Park coming to fruition, across the street from his companion attraction, Cultus Lake Waterpark. - JENNIFER FEINBERG/ PROGRESS
Owner Chris Steunenberg is stoked to see his dream of the Cultus Lake Adventure Park coming to fruition, across the street from his companion attraction, Cultus Lake Waterpark.
— image credit: JENNIFER FEINBERG/ PROGRESS

Chris Steunenberg knows how lucky he is to be living every kid’s dream.

He gets to oversee construction of a new theme park at Cultus Lake — from the ground up — as both its owner and general contractor.

“This place is going to be incredible!” says an obviously pumped Steunenberg. “It’s not just an amusement park, or a travelling fair with a midway. It’s going to be a family theme park.”

He took The Progress on an exclusive tour of the Cultus Lake Adventure Park, now under construction across the road from his companion attraction, Cultus Lake WaterPark.

The new theme park will open later this summer with mind-blowing, attractions and rides in a blend of whimsical and western themes.

“We expect to see about 1,000 guests a day,” he estimates.

There’s a ferris wheel type ride —the Wagon Wheel — that will preside over the park, and attractions like Buckin’ Bronco, one of “the biggest, and most aggressive” can accommodate up to 24 passengers. There will be a beautiful carousel ride, playful bumper boats in a pond, a balloon adventure ride, and even rental bikes to toodle around on.

“It’s really a special project,” says Steunenberg. “It’s been two years in planning.

“We brought in Dan Sawatsky on this one, right from day one.”

The layered designs with unique creatures and themed elements come directly from the fertile mind of artist Dan Sawatsky of Imagination Corporation. Sawatsky was the creator behind Giggle Ridge when it opened in 2000, and has been wowing the world with his award-winning designs ever since.

Every crooked line and wonderfully curvy building has been meticulously planned and designed in this project for the artistic outcome.

“Every time you come into the park, you’ll see something new that you never noticed before,” he promises.

Sawatsky is known for his abhorrence of a straight line, and for his appealing, cartoonish lines and signs.

“Because the land here is so vital, every square inch counts. It’s been an incredible challenge to fit in everything that we expected, wanted and needed for this project,” says Steunenberg.

Some of the elements are unusual, like the watery aspects park guests will discover.

“Water is beautiful,” he offers. There will be lots of waterways, waterfalls, creeks and even a one-of-a-kind “wet pad,” and "wilderness trail" to amuse kids of all ages.

And the construction process has been lightening fast. Steunenberg says coming from a heavy construction background it was natural to be the general contractor for this project, as he was for the waterpark when it was built.

“It becomes second nature to build quality and to build strong.”

They broke ground on the project in October, and the construction crews, trades and contractors have been going hard at it over the winter.

The new site with three separate entrances, and the Giggle Ridge Mini Golf course will be incorporated right into it.

Plus, they’re going with an “open gate” policy, meaning people can walk along the large walkway through the adventure park for free. Guests will pay as they go to get on rides and explore attractions that beckon.

“It’s our gift to the community,” the owner adds about the open gate idea. Most theme parks charge an entrance fee as well as user fees. They plan to entertain up to 300,000 people every summer with the combined offerings at the two businesses at Cultus, which will require an employment base of about 200 employees.

For now go to cultus.com for information about both attractions at Cultus Lake.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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