The Water Mine outdoor pool at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston has been a big attraction since it opened in 1997. Expansion of the pool is expected to begin once the pool closes in September.
Photo by Ryan Dunn.
More than one million people have visited the Water Mine since it opened to the public in the summer of 1997. With a lazy river and water slides, the outdoor pool has been a great attraction for families and visitors, but size and capacity limitations have increased the waiting times for patrons. The pool is operated by Fairfax County Park Authority, which also operates the Lake Fairfax Park.
On Saturday, July 12, there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the beginning of construction of the Water Mine. The water park received a $5 million dollar project to substantially increase the size of the Lake Fairfax facility. The expansion will include a 3,000 square foot tot spray pad with spray features, a 5,300 square foot active spray pad with spray features, a slide tower with three flume water slides and an interactive play structure. Other project elements include a 1,000 square foot restroom and mechanical building, improvements to the pool deck, relocation of shade structures, new shade structures and related utility and site work.
THE WATER MINE'S ATTRACTIONS are designed for elementary-aged children, yet there is something there for everyone. Children can careen off covered wagons, float on rattlesnakes and dash through showers tipped from water-filled ore carts. The deepest point in the pool is only 4 feet deep.
Over the past 17 years the park has grown in popularity. “Through the expansion, more of our patrons will be able to enjoy the facility at a time,” said Ninette Heiligh, admissions manager at the Water Mine. At times visitors have had to wait in line as much as two hours before they could enter the water park. Friday through Sunday are the busiest times to visit the Water Mine. People capacity is currently set at 755, but once expansion construction at the pool is complete, capacity will be up to nearly 1,300.
“Today we celebrate much needed growth that will provide more diverse amusements for visitors, generate additional revenue, and increase the water park’s capacity,” said Fairfax County Park Authority Board Chairman William G. Bouie. “This is an improvement on our original dream made possible by reinvesting, expanding, and making this water park a more exciting place for all people to enjoy.”
Planning for the expansion began in earnest when the Park Authority Board approved the agency’s first Financial Sustainability Plan in December 2011. In November 2012 with the voter approved 2012 Park Bond available, the Park Authority Board included $5 million dollars for the expansion. “The expansion is aimed at accomplishing two things: adding capacity and broadening our market appeal,” said Bouie. “We estimate a significant improvement on revenue and customer service.”
SUPERVISOR CATHY HUDGINS (D-Hunter Mill) praised Lake Fairfax Park for the broad appeal it offers to visitors. Lake Fairfax offers campground, picnic areas, playground, trails and a skatepark which are open year-round. “The expansion here is just the next logical step,” said Hudgins.
“Our staff is excited about this growth opportunity,” said Brian Laws, Park Services Operations Manager. “We welcome the chance to serve more customers and to provide a better experience for those who come to the Water Mine. It is really all about having fun and of course, about doing it safely.” The project is scheduled to be completed in the late summer of 2015. Construction at the Water Mine is expected to begin Sept. 2, the day after the Water Mine closes for the year. Construction supplies will begin arriving in Reston in August.
The Water Mine is located in Lake Fairfax Park at 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive in Reston. For more information about the Water Mine, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/watermine/.