Owners of well-known Destin waterpark file for bankruptcy, intend to sell property
DESTIN — When the coronavirus scare has ended and Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park is allowed to reopen, it will do so under new ownership.
Apex Parks Group which purchased the park in 2014, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and intends to sell the property.
An auction originally scheduled for Friday has been moved to Monday, according to Laura Davis Jones, an attorney whose firm is conducting the auction. Bidding gets underway at 11 a.m. Eastern time in Delaware.
Apex Parks Group “is pursuing a comprehensive financial restructuring aimed at reducing the company’s current debt and, ultimately, enhancing operations to continue to serve guests and communities for years to come,” a company news release said.
Its intention is to sell to APX Acquisition Company LLC, which held much of the Apex Parks Group debt prior to its filing for bankruptcy in April.
“The lenders will ... provide financing to support the company during the restructuring,” the release said.
Okaloosa Island resident Joe Bruner opened Tropical Golf and then the Big Kahuna’s water park in 1985-86.
He said he’s been disappointed in recent years with the upkeep of the park grounds.
Court records indicate that three lawsuits filed by people claiming to have been injured while visiting Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park were closed after Apex Parks Group announced on April 10 its intention to seek bankruptcy.
Apex Parks Group bought the Big Kahuna’s property in 2014. It claims ownership of 10 family entertainment centers and another water park. The parks are located in California, New Jersey and Florida.
The owners had originally slated Friday as the day Big Kahuna’s would open for the summer season, but water parks are not among the limited number of businesses Gov. Ron DeSantis has said can reopen.
The company said in its news release that the Chapter 11 process will not affect the operations of any of its entertainment centers or water parks.
“The company has temporarily closed all locations in accordance with federal and local government mandates and CDC guidelines to proactively protect guests and employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the release said. ”But expects to return to operating in the ordinary course upon reopening of the locations.“