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A 21st Century Downtown Recreational Amusement Park Under Construction

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Aerial photo courtesy of Brian Bates/UAV Oklahoma
Aerial photo courtesy of Brian Bates/UAV Oklahoma

Brian Bates is collecting some great aerial videos and photos of our changing city, and I appreciate him giving me permission to post these amazing images of what is becoming an amazing 21st century recreational amusement park. In the above photo, the SandRidge Skytrail (which includes a zip line across the river, bungee jump, the country’s largest slide and a ropes course) is shown to the right. Next is a pavilion and kids playground and play area. The CHK/UCO Boathouse, which will include an art gallery and musical performance space, is nearing completion. Next is the Devon Boathouse, the Chesapeake Energy Finish-line Tower, and on the other side of the Lincoln Boulevard Bridge is the original Chesapeake Boathouse.

Photo courtesy of Brian Bates

One can also see the giant nighttime lighting added as part of MAPS 3. And that brings us to the next addition – one that I think will turn the Oklahoma River into a regional attraction. Referred to as a “whitewater rapids” during the MAPS 3 election, the far better named RiverSports Rapids is quickly taking shape. No, this isn’t the kind of water park kids have visited along Reno Avenue, east of Meridian Avenue, for the past three decades.

According to the city’s website, RiverSport Rapids is designed for all ages and all levels of physical ability. According to designers, one won’t need to be an athlete to go rafting. Imagine a venue that can host weekend rafting excursions, parties , church and corporate groups…. and prove to be an incredible tourist attraction. The rapids are designed to allow thrill seekers - those with more experience on the water - to enjoy the rush of using the faster channel for rafting or slalom kayaking. Expect to see both recreational and elite athletes training on the course. Racing is also set to be a part of the venue’s future operation.

An opening is set in one year, and Brian’s aerial photos show construction progress to date:

Photo courtesy of Brian Bates.

And more photos from the city:

Related Photos
 Aerial photo courtesy of Brian Bates/UAV Oklahoma

Aerial photo courtesy of Brian Bates/UAV Oklahoma

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Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›

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