June 18 • 03:50 AM

Water park makes big splash

Dryden's Mill Race revenues already doubled from those in 2009

Swimmers cool off at the Mill Race Water Park at Dryden’s General Squier Park on Thursday. Thanks to warm weather and a number of other factors, attendance and revenues are up compared to last summer. photo by Maria Brown.

July 07, 2010
DRYDEN TWP. — The news coming from General Squier and the Mill Race Water Park this summer is good. According to Lapeer County Parks Director Ken Elwert, attendance is up, revenues are doubled from a year ago and the new work crew is energized.

Elwert attributes the success to a number of factors, including the weather and some new promotions.

"We've had more days above 80 degrees in June than all of last summer," Elwert said.

They're also now offering special deals for 'Water Park Wednesdays' including free food giveaways and special admission deals. Elwert said that the special promotions are helping to boost Wednesday attendance.

Today (July 7) is free nachos day. Upcoming promotions include July 14— free drink day, July 21—buy one admission, get one free and July 28—free admission (subject to capacity limit).

Assistant Park Manager Pat Smith said adult visitors gravitate toward the two water slides.

"Kids will be in the play pool and then go down the slide 10 or 12 times and then run back to the pool," Smith said.

After the parks department sunk into financial trouble last year, county commissioners ordered services and park hours cut, including the closure of a second, older water park at Torzewski park near Lapeer.

Elwert said that the Torzewski Park drew many out-of-county visitors, some of which are making the trek to Dryden.

"We have groups coming from Oxford and Burton," Elwert said.

Also new this year, the parks are being staffed by clients from Community Mental Health. The arrangement is working out very well, Elwert said. The crew of 25 workers is overseen by several 'coaches' who report that the clients are finding a lot of satisfaction in their new jobs.

Pavilions on the grounds are popular for picnics and other get-togethers and are typically full most weekends. Concessions are sold in the Old Mill.

The water park is open every day until Labor Day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., depending on weather conditions. Cost for full admission is $6, children 46 inches and under are $5 and children two years old and under are free, but must wear a swim diaper. Cash or checks only are accepted.

To check on possible weather closures, call the water park hotline at 796-2380.

Future 'Water Park Wednesday' specials will be posted online at

General Squier Memorial Park is located one mile south of Dryden on S. Mill Road. For more information contact Lapeer County Parks at (810) 667-0304.

Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she now resides north of Capac where she enjoys working on the farm, gardening and reading.
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