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Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center Opens inside Ocean Lakes

June, 2002

WHAT: Ocean Lakes Family Campground’s “Ribbon Cutting and Dedication Ceremony” of their new Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center.

WHEN: Friday, June 7, 2002 at 12 Noon. WHERE: Ocean Lakes Family Campground at the new Sandy Harbor Complex. WHO: The Jackson Companies (the parent company of Ocean Lakes) Board members, family members, media and local dignitaries will be invited to attend an afternoon of food and fun. DETAILS: Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a subsidiary of The Jackson Companies, is excited to open its new recreation facility Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center. “Sandy Harbor is the third phase of our master plan for overall facility improvements,” explains Lance Thompson, Vice President and General Manager. “We began in 1997 with the main entrance, an all-seasons indoor pool, the oceanfront observation deck and new, air-conditioned bathhouses. All of those improvements were needed, but now we’re creating the fun stuff.”


Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center is located in the heart of the campground adjacent to the 17,000 square foot Recreation Building and the pool deck. The Family Fun Center includes Sandy Harbor Mini-Golf, Sandy Harbor Splash Zone, four existing pools with an enlarged pool deck and a 9,000 square foot building that houses Sandy Harbor Games, Sandy Harbor Cafe and new bathrooms with changing areas for sunbathers.

The location of Sandy Harbor was important in creating a centralized recreation activity area for indoor and outdoor activities that covers about two acres of land. This entire area was redesigned with all ages in mind. It allows activities ranging from the church service, special events and tournaments, to aquatic and daily activities. Indoor activities utilize the combination of the existing Recreation Building and the new Sandy Harbor building giving guests 26,000 square feet of enclosed, climate controlled space only 160 feet from the Atlantic Ocean open year round. This versatile indoor space is utilized for a broad variety of recreation activities – from senior card games, kid camps, to concerts, dinners, crafts and more. Sandy Harbor Games features more than 75 arcade games with redeemable prize coupons. Sandy Harbor Café is located inside the new structure and will allow guests to enjoy a meal without ever leaving the pool or game areas. It features indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the pool deck. Outdoor recreation facilities have been totally redesigned. Sandy Harbor Mini-Golf features 18 holes of miniature golf with a “fisherman’s wharf” theme including building facades, running streams, a water tower, a small harbor and beautiful Live Oak trees. Sandy Harbor Splash Zone is a large interactive wading pool featuring colorful waterfalls, super soaker water blasters, and gum drop spritzers designed for children around 3-12 years of age. The pool deck was enlarged around the existing Olympic-size outdoor swimming pool, two kiddie pools and the all-seasons pool.

Family safety was an element of the overall recreation facilities redesign. The original arcade located on the oceanfront was destroyed by hurricane Hugo in 1989. The arcade was relocated to the front of the campground behind the Front Office. This location was considered temporary as the master plan facility improvements were implemented beginning in 1996. The new Sandy Harbor complex, which includes Sandy Harbor Games, keeps children in a safe centralized location in close proximity of their parents. An Observation Deck was built in the arcade’s former oceanfront location in 1997.

Tree preservation was a concern considered during construction. Ocean Lakes preserved the Live Oak trees adjacent to Sandy Harbor Splash Zone and Mini-Golf. The large live oak with a 50′ spread provides shade on part of the mini-golf course. Several of the smaller trees, including two live oaks were relocated to the South Gate Entrance in November.

Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center is unique in the campground industry in regards to the extent of its recreation amenities and the extent of the overall theme. The miniature golf course’s building facades, signage and overall design is an excellent example of refined thematic details. The combination of Sandy Harbor aquatics, amusements and food service centering on recreation make Ocean Lakes unique. The Jackson Companies researched each element of Sandy Harbor during development. Splash Zone is a good example of how research caused them to break with the campground industry trend that currently favors lazy rivers. Splash Zone was created to target children ages 3-12. Research indicates that youth in this age group prefer more interactive aquatic amenities versus the more passive lazy river used by adults as well as children. “Part of Sandy Harbor’s design was to target recreation opportunities for each age group,” explains Steve Alger, Vice President of Development for The Jackson Companies, “while keeping with the overall campground design theme – Ocean Lakes has something for everyone.”


Corporate identity is reinforced throughout Sandy Harbor with Ocean Lakes’ mascot “Sandy Starfish.” Ocean Lakes has focused on building its corporate brand for the past few years, consistently utilizing Sandy in signage and even the complex’s name. Starfish Sandy takes on various accessories to embody the overall Ocean Lakes camping experience. Guests have responded well to the many new versions of Sandy sporting accessories from swimming goggles and grass skirts to banjos and golf cars.

Sandy Harbor employs 10-fulltime teammates year around and 50 seasonal teammates. Due the expansion of that recreation and food service areas, 10 new jobs were created. Ocean Lakes has more than 170 teammates year round and hires more than 125 seasonal teammates every year.