Riversport Adventures readies for summer fun
Oklahoma City’s popular Riversport Adventures used the nearly two-month COVID-19-related shutdown as an opportunity to foresee and fashion a bold plan that allows guests to safely return to the water at the earliest possible time.
With Governor Stitt’s announcement that outdoor recreational facilities could open after April 30 and Mayor Holt’s recent guidance regarding precautions, Riversport pushed its Phase I opening into forward motion. Riversport has begun offering kayak and stand up paddleboard rentals at all three locations – Boathouse District, Lake Overholser and Lake Hefner.
The early opening was a product of not only hard work, but innovation, allowing Riversport to meet all the safety guidelines mandated by federal, state and local policies, according to Mike Knopp, executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation.
“I can only say that our staff has been phenomenal,” Knopp said. "As we’ve heard so many people say, it’s a lot easier shutting down than starting back up. All of our staff worked diligently from home with frequent video conference meetings to ensure we had a thorough plan to ensure both our guests and staff are safe as we get back on the water.”
Knopp said in the week leading up to Riversport’s “Phase One” opening, the staff worked exceptionally hard to ensure they were getting people on the water and meeting all of the standards for disinfection and social distancing.
While many of the top attractions such as whitewater rafting, tubing, zipline, and the six-story Rumble Drop are closed for now, they will be reopened in Phases 2 and 3. Riversport has been aggressive in their season ticket prices, slashing them by as much as 50 percent.
“This summer is going to be different, but we have lots of plans in place so people can still get outside at Riversport and have fun,” Knopp said.
Some of the things visitors will notice when they arrive at the park will be signage reminding them to continue practicing the same safety protocols that have been in place since March.
“We’re asking people to do just as they are everywhere – practice social distancing, use hand sanitizer, wear a mask when you’re around others, and if you feel ill, please stay home,” Knopp said. “We are screening our staff daily and requiring them to all wear masks. We have disinfection protocols in place for equipment and high touch surfaces. You can buy your pass and sign your waiver online, then do ‘touchless’ check-in when you arrive.”
Another innovative way to expand Riversport to an even larger audience is the introduction of the Riversport Connects free season pass initiative. Riversport Connects recognizes the power of outdoor recreation to help restore a sense of well-being to families and the community.
With the purchase of a 2020 Family Season Pass, Riversport will give a season pass to a family in need. The goal is to help financially-challenged youth and their families, especially those suffering financial loss as a result of COVID-19, have access to outdoor sports and recreation, regardless of their ability to pay.
Many popular activities remain on target for their late summer return with the annual White Water Festival and a new Surf OKC experience that promises exciting times for guests.
“We are opening slowly, knowing this isn’t over,” Knopp said. “We must all be careful, and you have our pledge that we will. This summer is going to be different, but we have lots of plans in place so people can still get outside with us and have fun.”