An Indoor Water Park At The Showboat Atlantic City? It’s Not As Crazy As It Sounds

Written By Bill Gelman on May 28, 2020 - Last Updated on December 12, 2023
atlantic city casinos

The Showboat is the latest Atlantic City property to announce indoor water park plans.

Call it one of those AC concepts that seem to have more lives than a cat.

But unlike previous proposals, developer Bart Blatstein owns the property. And he is serious enough to put a $100 million price tag on the project.

The Associated Press broke the news on Wednesday and even mentioned that the plan is to break ground in August.

The year-round facility is being proposed for the existing parking lot that sits between the Showboat and Ocean Casino Resort.

Blatstein is not sharing too many details about his grand idea. However, he provided a brief explanation behind his thinking:

“Atlantic City does not have a family market. This will open up a whole new market that doesn’t exist.”

Why an indoor water park makes sense this time

Atlantic City casinos are located footsteps from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. A water park doesn’t seem like the smartest idea when taken in that context.

But families with young children need options once the sun goes down or on those rainy days. Plus once the fall and winter months arrive, the outdoor activities are even more limited.

Constructing an entertainment attraction on an outdoor parking site makes perfect sense. In simplest terms, the revenue and tax potential is much greater.

But if done right, the Showboat could establish itself as a family-friendly resort. Such attractions in Atlantic City are few and far between.

As Blatstein said, the market just doesn’t exist.

In terms of the property itself, the former casino floor remains vacant. And the parking lot property is prime real estate.

Being that its neighbors Ocean and Hard Rock Atlantic City are celebrating two years next month, the Showboat has a chance to spice up its Boardwalk look. And attract a bevy of new visitors.

History lesson: Four Atlantic City ideas that failed

Blatstein is not the first developer to pitch a family-friendly concept for Atlantic City, though. Ideas have been tossed around over the years with nothing ever happening.

While the Showboat plans unfold, this is a good time to look back at four outside-the-box projects.

    1. Remember Glenn Straub? The former owner of the old Revel/TEN proposed erecting a ropes course in the valet area. Besides it not happening, he never reopened the property.
    2. Two proposed deals for the Atlantic Club centered around a water park concept. Dolphin Village plans even included converting the former casino floor into a go-cart track. The sale never went through.
    3. Those who drive by the former Sands Atlantic City will notice the land remains vacant. Back in 2017, however, a vertical rollercoaster, aka a PolerCoaster, was proposed for the site. This project literally never got off the ground.
    4. Unlike the other ideas on this list, Tivoli Pier, Tropicana’s indoor amusement park, actually opened. The centerpiece was a four-story Ferris wheel. At this point, most people have likely forgotten it ever existed.

Blatstein is not wasting time thinking about these previous failures. Actually, he seems extremely confident that his vision will not hit a similar dead end.

“This is going to happen,” he said in the AP article.

Showing off at the Showboat

Blatstein is focusing on the Showboat a lot these days. Earlier this year, he announced the sale of the Playground pier complex to a subsidiary of Caesars Entertainment.

Back in 2018, Blatstein announced plans to turn some of the Showboat hotel rooms into apartments. And he has been purchasing land surrounding the Showboat.

Plus, it’s no secret that he is at least considering the idea of bringing back casino gambling. The property opened as a casino hotel on March 30, 1987, and has gone through several ownership changes. It was one of four AC casinos to close in 2014.

But if new casino floor renderings do exist, Blatstein is not speaking publicly about those plans. And the plans for the water park are also a secret.

Will he have a bigger announcement to make in the near future? Anything is possible.

For now, he is focused on a family-first plan.

By following through with his indoor water park plans, families should have a very good reason to visit.

Bill Gelman Avatar
Written by
Bill Gelman

Bill Gelman has been reporting on the NJ gambling market since 2018, right around when the Garden State launched sports betting. Bill transitioned from lead writer for PlayNJ and NJ Gambling Sites to his current role as managing editor in 2020. Besides offering in-depth analysis on NJ gambling market trends and news, Bill regularly sits down with Atlantic City casino industry executives to offer readers exclusive interviews and comprehensive coverage. Bill received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ithaca College. He has contributed to other Catena Media sites including The Lines, Legal Sports Report, PlayPennsylvania and PlayCanada.

View all posts by Bill Gelman
Privacy Policy