Buccaneer’s Treasure:Wave Pool & water slides are back open
By Dwayne Bremer
Jun 11, 2013, 18:44
Life guards and Buccaneer Bay workers look out towards the new Wave Pool.
The crown jewel of Buccaneer State Park is set to reopen Thursday, nearly eight years after Hurricane Katrina.
The Buccaneer Bay water park, which includes two water slides, concession stands, restrooms, and the popular Wave Pool, will open its gates to the public at 10 a.m. tomorrow.
"It's been a long wait," Mississippi State Parks Director Ramie Ford said Tuesday. "We are excited to say that the water park is finally reopen."
Prior to Katrina, Buccaneer was the number one park in the state in terms of generating income. The park pulled in more than $1 million per year with its large number of camp sites, trailer pads, water park, and beautiful scenic views.
A large reason for its popularity was the water park, which for a long time was the only such facility in South Mississippi.
The park was constructed in 1972 as a recreation destination in the wake of Hurricane Camille.
It was named after the famous swashbuckler Jean Lafitte, who legend says, owned a home a few miles away in the 1800s.
The Wave Pool was the first of its kind in Mississippi and the first such pool to be installed in a state park in America, Ford said.
Buccaneer Park and the Wave Pool both suffered extensive damage during Katrina in 2005.
The park was rebuilt in three stages, totaling $21 million, Ford said.
The first phase included infrastructure and utility work. The second phase, which was completed in 2009, enabled Buccaneer to reopen camp sites to the public.
More than 250 campsites have reopened and eight buildings including pavilions, restrooms, and offices have been completed. The third phase, a $7 million restoration of the water park and other amenities began in 2012.
The wave pool, along with two water slides will be complete with a new deck, concession stand, and admissions building. A new activities building, recreation hall, and camp store are also being completed, Park Director Stu Rayburn said recently.
Waveland Mayor David Garcia said the completion of Buccaneer Park is a tremendous accomplishment and will mean a lot to the community.
"To say we are excited is an understatement," Garcia said. "After the nightmare we all went through with Katrina, this is an important moment."
Buccaneer Bay will be open daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. beginning Wednesday.