An Expanding Waterpark Resort in the Heartland of America

OpenAire & Liv Hospitality Group, have a long term partnership whereby we have been a part of several phases in the expansion and development of WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort in Rapid City, SD.

Rapid City lies east of Black Hills National Forest and is known as a gateway to Mt. Rushmore, the massive iconic sculpture of 4 US presidents set in the heart of a spectacular mountain range just 30 minutes from town.

In recent years visitors to the region has a new destination that is a continually evolving waterpark resort. WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort is a growing complex of five family friendly hotels and an indoor waterpark can boast an average occupancy rate (AOR) of 100 percent! The complex recorded a record setting year in 2021, and has been able to complete a major waterpark update and the construction of a new event center.

During the rest of the year, the same complex has an AOR of 82%. And, despite a reduced volume of international travellers due to Covid travel restrictions, plus state wide lockdowns, this place is renovating, building, growing and expanding their service offerings.

How is that possible after the chaos caused by the Covid pandemic?

The ownership team, has clearly shown their leadership and vision. They have built a resort worth stopping to see and while stopped, something to do, eat, and more. This is NOT a roadside hotel en-route to a bigger better destination, this is a destination!

Guests passing though town to the national visitor sites now have a reason to spend a night or two in the Rapid City, as part of their holiday.

WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort is owned by Liv Hospitality and started in 2005. WaTiki is a complex of 5 hotels; Residence Inn & Suites, Fairfield by Marriott, La Quinta by Wyndham, Home2 Suites, and Courtyard by Marriott, a 30,000 sf waterpark, and opening in 2023, a state of the art event center with over 26,000 sqft of meeting space.

The waterpark receives 120,000 visitors a year and the ownership team have a dedicated, yearly, service and improvement plan.

After a reduced 2020 tourism year in South Dakota, the state’s second largest industry rebounded with epic proportions. According to the South Dakota Department of Tourism, the state saw a record year for visitation, which rose 26 percent from last year, with 13.5 million people exploring the state.

watiki expands numbers chart

The Liv Hospitality team has been able to capitalize on the influx of tourism and has flourished.

The WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort continues its annual and bi-annual improvement campaign with projects of all sizes.

The 30,000 sf waterpark continues to be the biggest retractable roof waterpark in South Dakota. Built in 2005, it provides a naturally ventilated, year round, perfect sunny space, full of fresh air and happy guests.

In 2010 Sliders Bar and Grill Restaurant with its own retractable roof was added. The 210 seat bar and restaurant is connected to the main waterpark and includes a portion of one of the slides (with clear fibreglass) where kids slide over the bar out and back into the park.

In 2015, WaTiki added a 2400 sf of additional guest seating that doubles as a party venue to accommodate more guests and events.

In 2020, the waterpark received new roof infill panels (polycarbonate) due to damage from a hail storm. The replacement lasted a quick 16-weeks and was completed after hours so there were NO park closures.

In 2021, due to unprecedented demand and attendance, it was finally time for the waterpark to get a face lift. Closed for 7 weeks, the park was updated with new flooring, new paint on all the slides, new theme lighting so the park can be seen for miles, and a renovated washroom / change rooms space. The park also installed a new “Connect & Go” RFID wrist band system, interconnected with the hotel rooms and arcade and other resort amenities like lockers and food service.

The resort is more than just beds and a pool, the complex boasts a new 1.5 mile walking trail, including illumination for nighttime strolls. Coming in 2022, is a new conference center, named THE BOX, which will offer Youth Sports including a dance competition space, gym, multi courts for volleyball, basketball, indoor soccer and more. The versatile space appeals to groups from church socials, to high school proms, to sports competitions to guests of the yearly Sturgis Bike Rally and the newly Ellsworth B21 Training Facility. This truly is a one of a kind destination in Rapid City, meeting the needs of guests from every walk of life.

Great friendly staff are the backbone to our success, and are the reason guests return year after year to our resort. In addition to all of our wonderful amenities, we hear time and again that guests come here for our wonderful service. Our teams go above and beyond every day, guests feel safe, welcome, the space is clean, bright, friendly and fresh. There is always something new to discover and a helping hand when needed.
~Kayti Ratigan, Chief Operating Officer

At 686 rooms, and a growing amenity portfolio of over 80,000 sf of entertainment space, WaTiki is a destination to watch. The ownership team pride themselves on service above and beyond all marketable amenities and its the reason guests return. That said, the same team continues to innovate, listen to guests requests and requirements and plan for future attractions, additions and more. This resort is a “must-stop” destination for anyone travelling through America’s Heartland. The team here has done everything right to build a successful enterprise!

OpenAire continues to be a proud partner of the Liv Hospitality and WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort Teams. A testament to our relationship is the continued work and service we provide. Also known for our excellent service record and friendly team, we are proud to continue to work with this team to help them lead the way in waterpark resort planning, design, operations and management. Their success is our success and we are so pleased to be part of the future of this amazing destination!

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