South Bay Shores Backstory

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The Detailed Backstory of South Bay Shores

Danny Messinger |
March 24, 2021

Spring has arrived, and before much longer it’ll be prime waterslide weather! Perfect timing, because we’re wrapping up construction on the all-new South Bay Shores waterpark, which is scheduled to debut later this summer. Anybody else already have their beach towels ready?!

As we get closer to welcoming guests to South Bay Shores for the first time, the excitement surrounding this summer’s grand opening continues to build. I sat down (virtually—way more than six feet apart!) with Bay Area native Clayton Lawrence from our planning, design and entertainment team to learn about the interesting placemaking details that’ll be installed over the next few weeks.

Our Quirky Seaside Town

From the get-go, the backstory of South Bay Shores has centered around the unique vibe of Northern California’s many beach towns. Clayton says that the creative design team has spent the past year dutifully designing the look and feel of the waterpark. They’ve been able to incorporate many unexpected details that will bring what he calls our “quirky seaside town” to life.

The design team aims to conjure a complete sensory experience for waterpark guests, calling on Northern California’s iconic and unique characteristics. Clayton says the planning and design team’s initial “mood boards” featured concepts ranging from artsy and hippie to cold and foggy, eclectic and industrial to natural and weathered.

“This is an exciting project because we are introducing a level of storytelling to the park like never before,” he says. “The inspiration for the look and feel of South Bay Shores centered around Monterey, CA because we were inspired by the town’s story. Our team built the South Bay Shores theme around a similar seaside town that was established in the early 1900s.”

Back then, Clayton says, “a booming sardine fishing operation was being run in the small town of South Bay Shores by the Yankee Canning Company. However, as the schools of sardines moved away, so did the residents.”

Don’t worry too much about the fate of our fictional town though because the sun is once again shining down on South Bay Shores—ushering in a new wave of fun. Clayton says that according to the waterpark’s storyline, an entirely different group of folks have started to move into town.

“After Yankee Canning Company left town, South Bay Shores was repopulated by new residents who started unexpected and peculiar companies,” he adds. “People like artists, surfers and quirky shopkeepers have descended on the area, adding murals and an eco-friendly attitude. All of this is built atop and around the town’s existing fishing culture from years gone by.”

With this detailed back story, Clayton’s team has developed a rich past life for the park and an exciting new one that gives us a fresh look and feel. Success!

From Creative Concepts to Completed Waterpark

So how does the creative backstory translate into what you’ll experience at the waterpark when you visit for the first time?

“We’re looking at the project as a living town and planning creative ways to reinforce the backstory that the waterpark is a miniature city with a long history,” he says. “We started with the backstory, translated that to a design treatment and then applied that to everything from signage to building colors and names. It was important for us to think of the waterpark as a set piece that can reinforce future entertainment, like live shows, characters and events.”

The waterpark’s audio soundtrack will sound a lot like a small, local radio station (called KSBS Radio, of course!). This customized music give our planning and design team yet another way to transport you to our waterpark town. KSBS’s beachy tunes and fun commercials for the fictional shops of South Bay Shores will serve as yet another method to tell our story.

Other details like the park’s landscaping will play off the park’s NorCal aesthetic with natural-looking drifts and dunes. Grassy planting groups and wispy trees will add to the breezy, airy coastal feel. Even the midway concrete will have cool design details; new pathways were designed with added curves and sand-colored sections to look even more natural.

And if you’re a Great America history buff, keep your eyes peeled as you explore South Bay Shores. There will be many hidden nods to old attractions and park history incorporated throughout the new park’s props.

We’ll see you on the midways soon!