Abandoned Water Wonderland

My Odessa/Midland friends should get a kick out of this one. I have a fascination with abandoned things…whether it’s buildings, furniture, cut-down trees, etc. Thankfully my wife shares my preoccupation with the forgotten. In fact, if she wasn’t afraid of someone knifing us in an empty building, she’d probably be even more enthused than I.

At any rate, we recently took a trip to my “hometown” (whatever that means) of Odessa/Midland, to spend some time with family for Easter. As I meandered around the old hotspots and hangouts from years gone by, I became more and more intrigued by one of my favorite childhood spots. Water Wonderland, whose name was changed to Hero’s Water World at some point when I was a kid and was finally abandoned in 2007, stood as one of my favorite places to go in the summer. I joke with Yvette that it’s the place I discovered that I really did like girls. I can remember vividly the zip line, the wave pool, trekking up the stairs with those God-awfully heavy raft things for the slide I actually was terrified of in the first place; I remember the tube ride, and purposefully ditching/pretending to lose track of our tubes for the last big slide (knowing we were going to get yelled at by the lifeguards).

All of these memories were a flood of nostalgia, marred by a tinge of loss when I looked at the park beyond hope or repair. We crept through the fences and traipsed around the grounds of the forgotten wonderland. And the pictures here are what we saw, taken with only our iPhones. We also did no color correction or Photoshopping of any kind…so you’re seeing them pure and untouched. Enjoy.

(Also…I happened upon this cool video that shows off even more photos of the park. It’s funny, because the photographer went there at least two years prior to us…and many of the graffiti tags and abandoned items are in the exact same place as when we were there.)

2 replies on “Abandoned Water Wonderland”

  1. Hello!

    I grew up in Midland (Born 83, moved out 95) and we went to Water Wonderland non stop for a few years, Funny thing is I thought it was right by the airport so I never could find it on google maps so assumed it was leveled.

    Well come today and I’m driving around with my wife and we found it! A few miles away from the airport, that is.

    Thanks for the pictures, between you and few other places I was able to satisfy going down this childhood rabbit hole…

    Funny thing is I don’t remember the mini golf at all, maybe that was closed by the early 90’s.

    1. I was there for the majority of my school-age years. It was such a fun place, and definitely holds a ton of nostalgia in my head. I wish I had more pictures from when it was still open and active…but unfortunately it’s just memories at this point. The mini-golf thing was all inside, right as you went through the building at the entrance. I think it was just poorly placed…everybody would just walk right by it on the way in to get to the water, and then the building was just associated as an exit from then on. I rarely, if ever, saw anyone actually playing it.

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