Summer of SoakYa on tap

Summer of SoakYa on tap

March 31st, 2013 by Tim Omarzu in Fyi2013

Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park expects to open a $6.3 million, five-acre water park in April.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

San Francisco marked 1967 as the "Summer of Love."

Around Chattanooga, 2013 may be known as the "Summer of SoakYa."

That's the whimsical, rhyming name that Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park picked for the $6.3 million, five-acre water park it will open this summer.

"It's a spirited play on our name," said Talley Green, one of the trio of women who run the 88-year-old family park. "We took the end of Lake Winnie and made it SoakYa."

SoakYa will include an Adventure River, a beach lagoon, flume body slides, enclosed tube slides, a splash park, a lilypad attraction, a zero-entry beach (marked by a gradual slope into the water), covered and uncovered lounge seating, new retail and concessions and changing rooms with lockers.

Lake Winnie visitors will pay one price for a single ticket that will include access to the water park and the existing rides. That should draw more visitors when the temperatures range to 100 degrees, park officials hope.

SoakYa will be the area's first water park and is the largest expansion at Lake Winnie since the 1960s.

Park officials hope there will be enough demand to expand SoakYa in phases to 15 acres over the next few years.

SoakYa takes Lake Winnie back to its roots. The Catoosa County, Ga., amusement park on Lakeview Drive got started in 1925 with what was then the largest swimming pool in the southeastern United States, said Tennyson Dickinson, who helps run the park.

In 1927, Lake Winnie installed the Boat Chute, which park officials say is the last water feature of its kind still in operation.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfree or 423-757-6651.