Built in the 1980s, Discovery Canyon has received a major $2-million upgrade and re-opens Saturday. File photo by JEFF STOKOE/Red Deer Advocate

New Discovery Canyon opens Saturday

Popular attraction at River Bend recreation area re-opening after $2 million upgrade

Kids, start your inner tubes.

The water and fun will start flowing at Discovery Canyon this Saturday.

Closed since last summer, the popular attraction at River Bend Golf and Recreation Area has undergone $2 million worth of upgrades.

Workers have been busy putting the final touches on the attraction so it is ready for the next string of summery days.

“We’be been laying sod, planting trees and doing the final finishes,” said Curtis Martinek, project superintendent.

“Commissioning takes a little bit of time. We didn’t have a set (opening) date we just said early June.

“I think we pretty much hit the target here.”

A grand opening is set for July 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a community barbecue, entertainment and other events.

Over the years, the concrete artificial stream had begun to show its age. Repairs were made to the stream bed and lagoon, and access and safety improved. The main entryway also got a makeover and the beach area has been expanded.

It is the first overhaul of Discovery Canyon since it was built in the 1980s.

Parents will be especially pleased with the stream bed improvements, which will be a lot easier on adult behinds than the chaffing, crumbling mix of concrete, paving stones and asphalt it is replacing.

The only part of the project remaining to be finished is a natural-style playground.

“That portion is not complete yet,” said Martinek. “That will be up and running by the end of the summer.”

Visitors can bring their own inner tubes or rent them on site. Even those have been upgraded.

“It’s all brand-new tubes. Everything is new out there.”

Admission to Discovery Canyon is free and float tubes can be rented at the concession for $5 or purchased for $20. Photo ID is required as a deposit for tube rentals, and returned when the tube is handed in. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own float tube.

Discovery Canyon operates from June until the September long weekend, 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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