Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Slide Back to 1977 with Memory of Slippery Dip

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Slide Back to 1977 with Memory of Slippery Dip

Article excerpt

Byline: Sandy Strickland

Dear Call Box: With the weather as humid as it is, I started thinking about the Slippery Dip on Beach Boulevard. Could you take me down memory lane?

B.G., East Arlington

Dear B.G.: You could call it Jacksonville's version of a "mountain" rising 40 feet and easily viewable from Beach Boulevard. But it was a mountain covered by twisting concrete trails filled with water. Indeed, they used 264,000 gallons of recycled water every two hours.

The first peak opened June 1, 1977. A snack bar, amusement room, patio, sunbathing area and dressing rooms were included in the first stage. Participants skimmed on mats on top of the water into pools at the base of the mountain. The idea was to splash as much water as possible.

It was built by an overseas company at 10707 Beach Boulevard, just west of St. Johns Bluff Road, according to a 1977 Times-Union story. It was open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The story said that another peak was planned for completion by the end of summer that would be for small children only, as well as a swimming pool and picnic area. Although there's nothing in the archives about its completion, there is a photograph showing children waiting in line for the "novice water slide."

All told, the Slippery Dip investment was close to $3 million, including land cost for the 11-acre tract. Funds were provided from overseas investors.

The water park was described by the Jacksonville Journal as offering "thrills, chills and spills." And judging by the number of pictures taken by both newspapers, it was a go-to place to get shots of people beating the heat.

Their expressions ranged from open-mouthed gapes to looks of pure bliss. Some came down the twisting slides with feet extended and some lying down. Some looked like they were trying to surf their way to the pool while others tried, in vain, to take it slow and easy.

One Naval officer told the Times-Union he wouldn't reenlist for another six years unless his recruiter rode the slide with him. …

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