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story.lead_photo.caption Kids enjoy Splashaway Cay’s tipping bucket at White Water, no masks required. (Courtesy Photo/Dalton Fischer, SDC)

"We know there was and continues to be pent-up demand for outdoor fun," says Gerald Jenkins, general manager of White Water. With the 13-acre Herschend Family Entertainment water park opening for the season June 15 in Branson, Mo., Jenkins says he's already seen "people enjoying the attractions while operating within the guidelines set by the CDC and health agencies."

"We believe over the last several months our guests have somewhat adjusted to living within the social distancing guidelines, and the measures our park is taking are expected," Jenkins adds. "We see many families having a blast while being respectful."

Silver Dollar City, the flagship of the Herschend Family parks in Branson, opened to season pass holders June 13-14 and the public June 15. White Water was next, and the Showboat Branson Belle opened June 20.

"White Water will have similar guidelines as those put in place for Silver Dollar City, including a contactless temperature scan prior to entry, reduced daily capacity limits, capacity adjustments for rides and restaurants and a requirement to wear a mask or face covering," company spokeswoman Lisa Rau said then.

What that translates to, according to Jenkins, is that on raft rides, only one travel party will be allowed to ride in a single raft; lounge chairs will be placed in a fashion that allows travel parties to sit together, while also maintaining at least six feet of distance between other guests; face masks or face coverings are required when guests cannot socially distance, but they will not be required on slides, in pools and when in lounge chairs; and attraction attendants and lifeguards not in rescue-ready positions will wear a mask.

That leaves plenty of room to blow off some of the energy stored up in isolation. The park features 2 million gallons of fun where visitors, as Rau describes it, can enjoy the high tide of the 500,000-gallon Surf's Up Wave Pool, float their cares away on the Aloha River or splash with little ones in Coconut Cove. Thrill seekers can take a 70 degree, 40 foot plunge at a screaming 26 feet per second on KaPau Plummet or brave the side-by-side freefall drop slides at Kalani Towers.

"Our goal is to present an environment that lends itself to guests safely having a great time outdoors and in the water," Jenkins says.

Season ticket holders Sara Denny and twins Kade and Kendall of Branson sport their masks on one of the first days at White Water this season. They were on their way to a to-go restaurant, where face coverings are required in line. (Courtesy Photo/Dalton Fischer, SDC)
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White Water

WHEN — 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily; reservations are required

WHERE — Downtown Branson, Mo.

COST — $46 daily; season passes start at $123

INFO — 800-831-4386 or

FYI — Further information on all safety and operational changes is available at Reservations can be made at and on the mobile app.

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