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Spongebob Squarepants soaks up the attention at Sun Splash

By Staff | Jul 10, 2011

The water slides at Sun Splash Family Waterpark took a backseat Saturday to a special guest appearance.
Spongebob Squarepants, one of Nickelodeon’s biggest stars, held a meet and greet from noon to 3 p.m. at the Cape Coral park. Parents and children waited patiently in a line to spend a few minutes with the famous cartoon character and get their picture taken with him. Temporary Spongebob tattoos were also given to park visitors.
For Arlan Won, Saturday was not just his seventh birthday – it was a chance to meet one of his favorite cartoon characters. Fittingly wearing Spongebob swimming trunks, the now 7-year-old boy got to take his picture with the Nickelodeon star, which Arlan’s father immediately posted on the family’s Facebook page using his smartphone.
“He’s a huge fan,” Arlie Won said, adding that his son has every Spongebob DVD.
Arlan said he has been a fan since he was about 3 years old.
“He’s always happy,” he said of why he likes Spongebob. “And he goes jellyfishing.”
Cape residents Benjamin and Samantha Larson also got in line Saturday with their daughter, Elizabeth.
“She loves Spongebob,” Samantha Larson said of the 1-year-old girl.
“We decided she needed to meet him,” she added.
Asked about the cartoon television show, Larson admitted with a laugh that she also gets a kick out of watching it, and said she has been known to have Spongebob ringtones on her cell phone. She called the show entertaining.
Even those visiting on vacation could not pass up the opportunity Saturday to meet the cartoon character that lives in a pineapple under the sea. Dale and Tracy McPeak, of Indiana, were at the park with their 11-year-old son, Dillon, and 9-year-old daughter, Devon. Devon said she has been a fan of Spongebob since she was about 4 years old.
“His laugh,” she said about what she likes best about the character. “It sounds weird.”
Tracy McPeak said the family had planned to visit the park, and the guest appearance just made it better.
“We’re happy for her,” she said of her daughter getting to meet Spongebob.
Waterpark Manager Sandra Greiner said it took a few months to put together the event, which served as a test pilot for future guest appearances. She called the turnout great, and said the park will try to hold more events.
“The kids are excited, and I think that’s the main reason why you do this,” Greiner said.
The event was included in the regular park admission, which a lot of parents liked. Season pass holders to the park also told Greiner and staffers that the guest appearance gave an added value to their purchase, she said.
“I think it’s good for the family,” Won said. “They should do more stuff like this.”
“We’d be back again,” he added.
Larson agreed that more events, maybe a Dora the Explorer one, would be a good idea.
“The kids like to meet their favorite cartoon characters,” she said.
Families hanging out at the park Saturday could stay after-hours for an extra $3 for Family Fun Night. Family Fun Nights are held on the second Saturday of every month from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., May through September.
Sun Splash Family Waterpark is at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.
For more information, call 574-0558 or visit online at: www.sunsplashwaterpark.com .