In the summer of 2017, a new amusement park opened its doors in Foley, Alabama. OWA, pronounced like oh-wah, is located just 9 miles from Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, Alabama. It is the only park of its kind in the state of Alabama and the Gulf Coast as well, since Hurricane Katrina destroyed Six Flags New Orleans in 2005.
The name OWA was inspired from the Muscogee Creek language. It means “big water” and because the property has a 14-acre lake as its center focal point, the name is appropriate. In addition to the amusement park, OWA offers shopping, restaurants and lodging options so visitors have things for the whole family to enjoy.
The Park is an old-fashion style amusement park that offers 21 rides ranging from kiddie rides to the thrill rides. Upon entering the park, a guest cannot miss the huge Rollin’ Thunder roller coaster that takes up the entire center of the park. The 125-foot-tall coaster features a vertical lift and not one or two, but four inversions! Roller coaster enthusiasts will immediately see it and think of the Thunderbolt located in New York at Coney Island.
One side of the park is dedicated to rides for older visitors while the other side was designed with children in mind. It has something for everyone in the family to take part in if they decide to do so. There’s even carnival style games to win prizes for the people who may not be big on the “thrill” rides per se.
Walburgers opened its first Alabama location at OWA in October 2017. The eatery is famous for two reasons, the first is due to being founded by Chef Paul Wahlberg and his celebrity bothers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg. The second, is the reality television show also named “Walburgers” that gives behind the scene aspects of the ups and downs of being in the restaurant business.
The restaurant is located outside the entrance of the amusement park and includes a full bar as well as both indoor/outdoor seating. Once you walk into the establishment, there is no denying this is a Wahlberg family spot. Every aspect of the décor screams Wahlberg. Whether it is the life size photo or the light fixture with film titles and “NKOTB” acronym, it’s all Wahlberg.
The most important thing in a restaurant though is the food. Menu options are plenty and the burgers will not disappoint. The restaurant brings a taste of Boston, more specifically Dorchester to Foley, Alabama with a bang. The menu is unique because it tells you which menu item is a family member’s favorite for patrons to try out if they so desire.
The Groovy Goat combines food, drinks, sports and an arcade all under one roof. It is a sports fan’s dream with the most television screens all of the areas sports bars. It has nearly two dozen 80 inch flat screens and a 26 foot featured game screen to watch the big game. It is a sports entertainment restaurant but whether you are a sports fan or not, the food makes it worth a visit.
It features a menu full of made from scratch food, which is unique to a sports bar. One of the local favorites are the tableside nachos your way where guests get to customize their nacho orders at their table. What is a sports bar without wings? The Groovy Goat’s wings are grilled over a wood fire and are delicious with eight sauce options that include some that are unique, like the spicy Bama Moppin’ sauce and House Medium Voodoo.
The restaurant can’t be missed since it is located at the front entrance of OWA.A ticket to The Park at OWA is not required to dine at the Groovy Goat, Wahlburgers or any of the other food spots outside the parks gates that are on the property.
OWA has a Marriott TownePlace Suites hotel with 150 rooms located on property. Being a few miles from the beach it is lower cost alternative for travelers who are on a budget. Guests are within minutes of popular shopping areas, the beach and other local favorites like the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo.
Because of the location, it is perfect for families or anyone who have young children or anyone that may need a break during the day. The hotel is located within walking distance of the theme park and restaurants.
The suites in the hotel have full kitchen areas with a table and four chairs. The rooms are spacious with comfortable beds and large bathrooms. Business travelers enjoy the convenience of having large in-room desks and free high-speed Wi-Fi. Each suite includes flat screen TVs with access to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and YouTube.
One more perk of the hotel is its free breakfast buffet with a large selection. Each guest is sure to find something they want to eat whether its eggs, fresh fruit, cereal, sausage or just coffee.
OWA still has future plans for a waterpark, more hotels, and a RV park. All a part of the larger plan to make the overall experience budget friendly for the entire family.
If you go:
- TownePlace Suites – http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pnstf-towneplace-suites-foley-at-owa/
- OWA – http://visitowa.com/
- The Groovy Goat –http://www.thegroovygoat.com/
- Wahlburgers – https://www.wahlburgersrestaurant.com/
- 1501 South OWA Blvd. Foley, AL 36535
All photos by Tomeka Allgood