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Here’s what you need to know about the Gulf Coast amusement park opening in July

Fly through a 3D video of OWA amusement park

A new theme park coming to Alabama’s Gulf Coast hopes to fill a void left by Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of Six Flags New Orleans more than a decade ago.
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A new theme park coming to Alabama’s Gulf Coast hopes to fill a void left by Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of Six Flags New Orleans more than a decade ago.

Forget driving eight hours to Orlando, a new amusement park is opening in July within a two-hour drive from South Mississippi.

The Park at OWA in Foley, Alabama, announced Friday it will open to the public July 21.

Initially described by local officials as a cross between Disney World and Six Flags, the park will have 21 rides, including a roller coaster, and fair-style midway games. The park categorizes the rides as: six “thrill” rides with varying height requirements, six “family-friendly” targeting the tween population (11-12 years old), and nine “kiddie” rides for children as young as 2-3 years old. View a photo gallery of the rides under construction here.

There will also be retail and dining options — including Wahlburgers, the Boston burger restaurant of TV reality show fame started by celebrity brothers Paul, Mark and Donnie Wahlberg — but those tenants are set to open in phases beginning in September.

The park is being built by the Poarch Creek Indians, which are mostly located in Alabama’s Escambia County but also have active members in South Mississippi. The tribe recently bought a casino site in D’Iberville and plans to build a new casino.

“Our tribe is excited to offer a family destination near Alabama’s beautiful beaches that will create memories this summer and for years to come,” said Poarch Creek Indians Tribal Chair and CEO Stephanie A. Bryan in a press release. “We are also proud that OWA is positively impacting families living in Foley and the surrounding region through the job creation generated by this development.”

The park is a joint venture with the City of Foley and the Foley Sports Complex. It is next to the sports complex at the intersection of Foley Beach Express and County Road 20, about 30 minutes south of Interstate 10.

The tribe named the park after a Creek Indian word meaning big water, and a 14-acre lake is included in the layout. Boat rentals, an outdoor amphitheater and an adjacent Marriott TownePlace Suites are part of the first two phases of construction set to be completed this year. Future phases include an RV resort, more hotels, and an outdoor waterpark.

The tribe has invested $241 million in the first two phases of construction, and plans a total investment of $500 million.

General admission for adults is $34.99, and $27.99 for seniors, active military and those 42 inches or shorter. Children three and younger get free admission. An annual pass is $89.99.

Tickets will be available at the park and on the park’s website, visitowa.com, beginning at 10 a.m. July 18.

Lauren Walck: 228-896-2393, @laurenwalck

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