New Bedford had its first water park in the Summer of 2019. Of course, the Summer of 2020 was very different, and local families would have to wait one more year to see the floating obstacle course take center stage at East Beach.

Thankfully, another company brought water fun back to the city. WhoaZone opened in June 2021, with families excited to get back on these floats for some fun in the sun and a way to keep cool. Unfortunately, WhoaZone was forced to pack in all of the equipment at the beginning of July due to Tropical Storm Elsa.

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Mary Rapoza is the Director of New Bedford Parks, Recreation, and Beaches. She explained that the company removed all of the floating pieces from the water to prepare for inclement weather.

“On July 8, Whoa Zone staff began the removal of the 60-plus pieces of floating equipment at the water park at East Beach in anticipation of the named storm Elsa expected to hit on July 9," Rapoza said. "The named storm was unusually early in the year. Their staff removed most of the pieces and stored them on the beach by the end of the day. The City mobilized on the day of the storm to help Whoa Zone staff manage the remaining pieces that were still in the water. No pieces of equipment left the beach during the storm event or blew onto private property."

Following the storm event, Whoa Zone management sent a team to evaluate the equipment and determine the next steps. At that time, they discovered that several pieces were damaged during removal and needed replacing. They also reviewed the protocol for severe weather and storm events at the site.

"As a result of these assessments, Whoa Zone determined that they could not get back in the water in a timely fashion, thus affecting their ability to generate revenue and retain staff," Rapoza said. "They decided at that time that they would not return to the water this summer.”

Due to these unforeseen circumstances, the WhoaZone New Bedford location will permanently close for the remainder of the 2021 season. WhoaZone posted a message on the company's Facebook page with the announcement.

“We would like to thank everyone, especially the city of New Bedford for your patronage and support.”

WhoaZone plans to return to East Beach in New Bedford for the Summer of 2022.

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