Central New York Couple Keeps Nostalgia Alive, Purchases Thunder Island Water Park
I remember the jingle playing on television like it was yesterday:
"The most fun in the sun, where you'll meet everyone-- Here on Thunder Island! THUNDER ISLAND!"
Thunder Island was a staple of my childhood. I could actually argue that as a kid, the water part I visited the most was Thunder Island. I have family that lives in Oswego County, so the park at 21 Wilcox Road in Fulton was the closest way to cool off on a summer day.
A few weeks ago, Thunder Island was listed for sale on the real estate market. Its former owner, Ronald Falise, died in a tragic accident on the property back in August of 2021. According to Syracuse.com, the property will live on thanks to a couple in Bernhards Bay.
Shane and Gale LaBeef are already working at the park, cleaning up, making repairs and replacing items. They hope to open for the season in the next two to three weeks.
The couple, according to Syracuse.com, own the AAA Paintball Park in Constantia and Shane & Son’s Heating and Cooling in North Syracuse.
Shane and his wife, Gale, had already seen the ad and they were seriously considering the possibility of buying the park. They just hadn’t gotten around to making a call yet, they said.
Syracuse.com says that once they get the water park up and running, the LaBeefs said they have plans to expand Thunder Island.
They want to add laser tag and gel ball, a family-friendly version of paintball for younger kids, on an empty 10-acre lot adjacent to the park. Down the road, they also want to add a petting zoo with goats, rabbits, a mini cow and a pot-belly pig, but said they’ll first need to get town approval. They’d also like to add extra parking in that area.
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