SIOUX CITY | With laser lights flashing, music blasting and snow-making machines running in full force, Sioux City gave a crowd of attendees their first glimpse of several features of the brand-new Cone Park during a preview party Tuesday evening.
The all-seasons park, which will feature tubing and ice skating in the winter and a splash pad and multi-use trail in the summer, will open the week of Dec. 18. The city has yet to set an official opening date.
Dozens gathered in the park's day lodge as Parks and Recreation director Matt Salvatore and Cone Park Committee co-chairperson Virginia Anderson detailed the years-long journey to bring the park to fruition and thanked the many donors who have participated in the project.
Large donors will be among the first group to slide down the tubing hill at a yet-to-be-set grand opening later this month.
"Just to clarify, nobody will be going down the tubing hill tonight," Salvatore joked to those in attendance Tuesday. "We're not quite ready yet."
Salvatore said the snow guns at the tubing hill site fired up Monday night and will continue this week to form a base of snow on the hill. Once the park opens, tubers will be able to enjoy the hill in four-hour sessions, with admission ranging from $7 to $10 depending on the hours.
Tuesday night, the overhead lights in the lodge went dark to allow attendees a chance to look out the windows and preview the set of laser lights set up on the hill for the late-night "Cosmic Tubing" events.
From 9 to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, those paying $10 admission into the park can slide down the hill for the two-hour period as a multi-color LED light show plays set to music. The equipment is sponsored by the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino -- Sioux City.
The day lodge will be the point of check-in and skate rentals at the park, as well as a place to purchase concessions and relax by the indoor fireplace. Anderson said the city will encourage attendees to reserve spots online before they leave to come to the park to ensure a spot, as it anticipates sellouts.
"This facility can accommodate up to 300 people per time slot, so to guarantee your spot we ask that you put in your reservation online," she said.
The city posted a video to social media Tuesday showing a first-person view of what a descent of the hill will look like lit by the laser lights. The video was taken during Monday's snowfall from a four-wheel-drive pickup.
Located on a spacious field east of Sioux City's IBP Ice Center parking lot, Cone Park will feature a tubing hill, refrigerated ice skating, 2-mile trail, fire pit and the day lodge.
The park is named for the late philanthropist Ruth Cone, whose family in 1981 established a trust for a new park that has grown to $2.9 million.