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Spring Valley Beach is the best kept secret in Alabama.
Regarded as the best water park in the state, Spring Valley Beach is awaiting your arrival just as it has since it first opened in the mid-60’s…though moderately different than almost 50-years ago.
Tucked away along a hillside on 30 acres of land off highway 231 in Blountsville, just one hour south of Madison, the family owned and operated business is the perfect getaway adventure for the entire family with the largest swimming pool in the southeast at 500 by 150 feet.
“It’s like a picnic ground with a water park,” said Travis Gilliland, who runs daily operations along with his father, Allen, and his mother, Jean, all who actually live on the property adjacent to the water park they have owned since 1972.
Upgrades Through The Years
The original developer, Rob Burgess, built what was then named Burgess Lake in the mid 1960’s. It was a sand bottom lake and used just as a family and friends fun area at first. In September of 1972, Allen Gilliland bought the land and began offering the spring fed lake to others and soon became what is now known as Spring Valley Beach.
“I was just in my mother’s belly when my parents first bought the facility,” said Travis, 39. “The lake remained spring fed and its original sand bottom until I came home from college to help my parents operate what would become the family’s passion.”
Behind Travis’ young and energetic enthusiasm, the lake underwent its first overhaul by putting a concrete bottom in the “Kiddie Pool” section of the lake.
The response was overwhelming. The next year a large playground system was installed and the concrete bottom was painted, again to a very popular response. “That’s what got our attention about making changes in the pool, said Travis.
Since the magic light bulb went off in the minds of the Gilliland family and through four years of work, the entire pool is now concrete, the kiddie area has nearly tripled and there are no less than three slides in the general pool area. But the improvements and upgrades were just the beginning.
Thrill Seeker Water Slides
Located just yards and within sight of the swimming pool are the thrill seeker slides where most of the excitement can be seen and heard from people of all ages. There are six huge slides in all.
The first slide, The Chiller, was installed in 1980 with its partner slide built two years later. Both are concrete slides where sliders must wear provided head gear. In 1990, the Circle S slide was installed and has become a family favorite. Just in time for the new millennium, the Sidewinder was installed in 1999 and features a 4-story tall tower where riders, solo or tandem, free fall on an inner tube to the awaiting U shaped bottom where the inner tube is then whipped back up the slide and then going back and forth until it stops. In 2005, the two orange color slides named Black Out and Need For Speed were installed. Black Out sends riders through darkness with plenty of twists and turns. While Need For Speed sends riders straight down at blink-of-an-eye speed.
In 2011, Spring Valley Beach installed the 360 Rush. It’s known as the ultimate water slide experience where riders are dropped through an enclosed water tube gaining speeds up to 40 mph. This slide launches two riders at the same time. By launching riders in pairs, 360 Rush provides an unparalleled guest experience that keeps riders coming back for more.
“Our attendance as been as good, if not better, than ever and the park attracts thousands every summer,” said Travis. “I do know it’s always been a family thing and having the best for our customers who love our water park.”
Besides the pool and water slides the most attractive item about Spring Valley Beach is where visitors can bring their own food and beverage. “It’s always been that way,” added Travis. “We know how expensive it is to visit water park attractions. I don’t ever see us not having it that way.”
Concessions featuring an array of food, drinks and treats are available. Visitors can also bring their own grill or use one of several that are available at the water park at no charge. Upon arriving, patrons can also take advantage of free sunscreen and general admission parking.
Pool parking, where you can park your car near the pool for a water park style tailgating, is available for just $10 per vehicle.
For safety concerns, no diving is allowed in any area of the park. Pets are not allowed. Locker rental is available. Red Cross certified lifeguards are on duty at all times in the pool and at slide locations.
“We have included improvements to the park, many of which are cosmetic, and the look of the overall park has helped tremendously,” said Travis.
Spring Valley Beach information is online at www.springvalleybeach.com.
“I have been the manager here for 17 years and my dad, who is 76 years old, remains extremely busy with the park and greets many of the visitors, while mom takes care of the bookkeeping,” said Travis.
“We try and run the water park as if we were guests,” added Travis.