Back to Business: Here's how kids are the 'bread and butter' to Hurricane Alley Waterpark

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This monthly Caller-Times series called Back to Business showcases businesses and leaders in the Corpus Christi area.

Whether it has been a staple in the Sparkling City by the Sea for decades or just opened its door in the past few years, each business has its own special story.

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Hurricane Alley Waterpark

Hurricane Alley Waterpark Operations Manager Jon Campbell has been with the waterpark since day one — including its weather-delayed grand opening in 2012 and even the 2011 groundbreaking next to Whataburger Field. 

Born in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and raised on a dairy farm, Campbell has always had a passion for taking care of others.

“We cater to families and keep it family-friendly,” Campbell said. “Kids are our bread and butter. If they’re not having fun, no one’s having fun.”

Campbell has been the operations manager of the waterpark for the past four years. He started off as a revenue manager and slowly made his way to become the big man of Hurricane Alley.

Jon Campbell is the operations manager at Hurricane Alley Waterpark. He has been with the local business since it broke ground 11 years ago.

The waterpark was created to bring some fun to Corpus Christi families, Campbell said. Splashtown San Antonio closed last year to make way for a car dealership; the nearest out-of-town waterpark, Schlitterbahn, is two and a half hours away.

“There’s no place like us to take your kids in the summertime here,” Campbell said.

Along with Sensory Friendly Sundays catering to children with disabilities, the waterpark has Tuesday Dive In movie nights starting at dusk every Tuesday from June 7 to Aug. 9.

“We’re always trying to come up with something fun for kids and families,” Campbell said. “Seeing kids have a fun time is what makes this the best job ever.”

Meet the operations manager

Q: What has been the high point with Hurricane Alley Waterpark?

JC: When I decided to do our Sensory Friendly Sunday events for disabled children. We do that the first Sunday of every month. One day, I helped a child on the Storm Chaser attraction. He was terrified, and by the end of the day he got on it and was filled with joy and excitement. He came up to me, gave me a big hug and said ‘thank you.’ Seeing the excitement in his eyes is really what spun the Sensory Friendly Sunday events.

Q: How do the Sensory Friendly Sunday events work?

JC: We close the park off just for those kids from 9 to 11 a.m. We keep the music off, turn the waves off and keep it soft and easy so they can enjoy themselves. Lifeguards do not blow their whistles at them. They’ll approach them and get at eye level with them to make sure they feel safe.

A child plays in Hurricane Alley Waterpark's Captain's Kid Cove Saturday, May 28, 2022.

Q: What has been the low point with Hurricane Alley Waterpark?

JC: COVID. It killed us. Nobody wanted to come out even though this was probably one of the safest environments you could come out to because of all the chlorine. People were scared to death. That was the lowest and hardest year we had.

Q: When did Hurricane Alley Waterpark open up to the public again after the COVID-19 pandemic?

JC: We never shut down; we stayed open. It started to pick up again in 2020. Last year, it came back more and this year it’s starting to feel like normal again. I missed seeing kids running around, smiling and having a blast.

Q: What is your favorite ride you like to recommend to guests?

JC: My personal favorite ride is the Storm Chaser. It’s a four-lane racer slide. It’s fast and fun.

Guests slide down the Storm Chaser at Hurricane Alley Waterpark Saturday, May 28, 2022.

Q: What is your personal business philosophy?

JC: Always err on the right side of things. My father taught me that right is right and wrong is wrong. Even if it puts me on the bad side of things, that’s where I need to be if it’s right. Listen to the guest also. Ninety percent of the time, they just want to be heard. Listen to what they’re saying and do something to make their experience better.

Q: What are your future goals with Hurricane Alley Waterpark?

JC: Personally, I’d like to be here until I retire in 10 years and then come back and be a greeter. With the Hurricane Alley, we’re hoping to add a new attraction next year and continue to grow as a local business.

Q: What is the best advice you can give someone who wants to start their own business?

JC: It’s a struggle, especially to get started. If it’s a business dealing with the public, you have to listen to your guests on what they’re asking for and saying. They’ll put you in the right direction. That’s who you want to please: the people that come to your business. Be appreciative that they’re coming and they’re choosing to spend their hard-earned money at your business.

Guests slide down the Cat 5 water slide at Hurricane Alley Waterpark Saturday, May 28, 2022.

Hurricane Alley Waterpark

Address: 702 E. Port Ave.

Phone: 361-883-9283

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Monday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday for 2022 season.


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John Oliva covers entertainment and community news in South Texas. Contact him at or Twitter @johnpolivaConsider supporting local journalism with a subscription to the Caller-Times.