April 25, 2014–Ocean City,
Three decades after making a splash on the Ocean City Boardwalk, Gillian’s Island Water Park will become Adventure Island when it reopens for Memorial Day weekend. The Plymouth Place landmark, which includes Adventure Golf, has been sold by the Gillians to the investment group Plymouth Holdings.
The sale was officially announced in a press release March 26. According to the press release, the new owners plan to spend about $500,000 to prepare the popular attraction for what they expect will be a banner summer.
Representatives from investment group’s marketing team did not return requests for comment.
The waterpark was opened in 1984 by Gillian Brothers Inc., which included brothers Jim, Steve and Jay Gillian. The brothers operated the park together for a number of years, expanding it to include more attractions and the adjacent golf course.
In 2006, Jim Gillian bought his brothers out and, as sole owner of the waterpark and golf course, continued to operate under the Gillian Brothers name.
According to records obtained by the Cape May County Clerk’s Office, Fox Chase Bank held the mortgage on the park. Last year, Fox Chase Bank put the mortgage into default. AMC Capital acquired the defaulted mortgage in July 2013 and then acquired two second mortgages, held by Jay Gillian and Steve Gillian. The second mortgages were not in default.
Plymouth Holdings acquired the deed from AMC Capital last week and is leasing the property to the new company, Adventure Island. Plymouth Holdings officials have not disclosed the principals involved in their newly formed company.
The Cape May County Clerk’s office does not as yet have a record of the latest sale transaction.
The website http://www.gillianswaterpark.com now identifies the boardwalk attraction as “Adventure Island,” and does not mention the Gillian name.
Jay Gillian, Ocean City’s mayor and owner of the nearby Wonderland Pier, on the Ocean City Boardwalk at Sixth Street, said he was pleased that the attractions are in good hands.
“Gillian’s Wonderland Pier is going to continue to work with the new owners to enhance the guest experience for future endeavors,” he said.
The amusement park and the waterpark have worked together in the past with “ride and slide” and other promotional packages and preseason discount ticket sales.
“I’d like to welcome the new owners of Adventure Island Water Park to the Ocean City Boardwalk for what we all expect to be a great summer of 2014,” Jay Gillian said Tuesday. “This is a group that understands and cares about the traditions that we’ve built over many generations here in Ocean City and obviously committed to helping us keep Ocean City recognized as America’s Greatest Family Resort.
“I’m especially pleased that the new owners have decided to keep the current management team in place at the park. It’s obvious that their desire is to continue to provide the same levels of service and hospitality that my family took pride in providing at the park in the past.”
Many of the familiar faces who operated the park in the past will be back to welcome visitors to Adventure Island, according to the press release, including longtime manager Ed Myers.
About 150 seasonal workers are expected to be on deck this summer. The Lazy River and other attractions, such as Skypond Journey, Splash Down Falls, Little Bucs Bay and the Serpentine Slide, will continue to be operated this summer.
According to the press release, Adventure Island will offer promotional pricing. In the preseason – from Memorial Day weekend through June, when the facilities are open from noon to 5 p.m. – all-day passes are $20 for the waterpark and $4 for golf.
Regular-season pricing is $28.95 for an all-day adult pass and $24.95 for children under 48 inches. Tickets previously purchased during Gillian’s Island Water Park’s preseason holiday sale will be honored at Adventure Island.
Discounted preseason tickets are on sale now at http://www.ocwaterpark.com. The first 1,000 tickets will be sold at $15, the next 5,000 tickets will be sold at $18 and then the preseason price of $20 will take effect.
The new owners have stated that they will honor all preseason discount tickets that guests have purchased.
Beginning July 1, the park will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
For more information, hours and additional pricing go to http://www.ocwaterpark.com.
By Deborah Fitts