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Standing among the soirée at the Clarion Hotel Monday evening to celebrate the opening of Palm Island Indoor Waterpark, was one small boy – with the mind that mastered the whole project.

Anand Patel is just 11 years-old, but a budding businessman according to his father and Clarion owner, Chan Patel. Anand displayed a penchant for thinking outside the box when his father began a serious effort to open the new waterpark.

"He gave it the name 'Palm Island'; he came up with all that," said Chan. "I never thought about any of that, but he named the slides and everything else. The one is 'The Anaconda.'"

And it's true: the naming and tropical styling give the park an entertainment factor unparalleled in local amusements, outside of Darien Lake. From the curious-looking monkey poised atop a fountain, to the "rock" outcroppings surrounding the wading pools, and even the "Stingray" gift shop – Palm Island is just cool.

The small, wiry Anand Patel said that just makes sense for a kid his age.

"My dad only wanted to do one slide, and then have a dry play area," Anand said, "but when we go to other waterparks, there's nobody in the dry play area. There's only people in the slides." So Anand suggested to Dad, develop another slide and ditch anything that was "dry."

The verdict? Anand and some of his friends got the first go-round on the waterpark this weekend, and according to hotel security head Vince Schollard, "You couldn't tear those kids off the waterslides if you tried."

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony this evening, Chan Patel had nothing but praise for everyone who helped him open the park.

"Right on time, we finished this project in only six-and-a-half months, starting from groundbreaking," Patel said, thanking the GCEDC, Canandaigua National Bank and his investors for considerable financial help.

County Chamber of Commerce head, Lynn Freeman, said the park will be a boon for this area.

"We have...Darien Lake, and the success of Batavia Downs. And now we have a third attraction that people will actually come to our county, and stay overnight to enjoy this facility right here," Freeman said. "It's one of those deals where, 'If you build it, they will come.'"


The waterpark reportedly opens to the public this Friday.

 
PHOTOS: Top inset: indoor attraction at Palm Island Waterpark. Bottom inset: the sun shines through Palm Island's dueling waterslides

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