After 40 years, Wet 'n Wild Orlando to close at end of 2016

ORLANDO -- After 40 years, Wet 'n Wild Orlando announced Wednesday that it will close for good at the end of 2016.

"Since it's opening in 1977, Wet 'n Wild Orlando has been a place where guests have created wonderful memories," a statement on Universal Orlando's blog states. "As America's first water park, Wet 'n Wild has been the birthplace of numerous innovations that are now considered a common part of the water park experience."

The park will officially close Dec. 31, 2016.

According to the blog, Universal Orlando will now focus on the opening of Volcano Bay, which is expected to open in 2017.

SeaWorld Orlando developer George Millay thought while constructing the marine life park that there should be a place for people to cool off on a hot Central Florida day.

Universal Orlando later purchased Wet 'n Wild and, in recent years, purchased more land around the water park for future development.

Wet 'n Wild wasn't Orlando's first water park: River Country USA at Walt Disney World first opened in 1976 and closed in the fall of 2001.