Martinsville, Virginia


Grand Opening for The Big Dipper

The Smith River Sports Complex (SRSC) is excited to announce the grand opening for its new water slide, The Big Dipper. The celebration has been set for Tuesday, July 26, at 3 p.m. The celebration will take place at The Big Dipper on the SRSC property and feature guest speakers along with a few honorary first rides down the slide to signify the official opening to the public. The slide will then remain open to the public free of charge for two hours. 

The Big Dipper is part of a long-range plan to enhance the sustainability of the Smith River Sports Complex. Stakeholders involved spent 18-months researching potential additions before deciding on this element as well as the driving range that opened earlier this month. The new water slide will provide the complex an opportunity for additional recreational revenue while also serving as an extra amenity for guests to the complex and our community.

"This community has been waiting a long time for The Big Dipper to open," Billy Russo, director of operations at SRSC, said. "We are excited to finally get it operational and look forward to adding a water feature to Martinsville-Henry County that is much needed."

The project was supported by funding from the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation. Additional partners included the Henry County Public Service Authority, the Patrick Henry Community College Computer Aided Drafting and Design Department, Solid Stone Fabrics, Max Kendall Lumber & Tin, Dodson Brothers Concrete and the Harvest Foundation who leveraged the funding with in-kind support and services.

The Big Dipper will be a seasonal attraction. The one hundred and twenty-nine foot long inflatable slide will allow participants to climb 30 feet up a series of steps and splash down into a 35-foot landing pool. Water in the landing pool will be less than six inches deep making this family-friendly attraction a fun way to enjoy water for all skill levels, even those that do not swim. In the shoulder seasons, the slide can also be used without water. The minimum age to ride the slide will be 3 years old, but children under the age of 6 will be required to slide with a parent or guardian. Adults are also welcomed to come try out The Big Dipper as there is no age or weight limit for riding the slide.

The water slide is located adjacent to the Eastman Party Pavilion and Evos playground at the Complex. The Big Dipper will remain open through Labor Day weekend every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday's hours will be from 3 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. with happy hour half-price specials from 3 p.m. till 6 p.m. Saturday the slide will be open from 1 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. and on Sunday guests can ride The Big Dipper from 2 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. On Sunday's SRSC will be offering a special family discount where up to 5 people can ride all day for only $45. Regular priced rides cost guests $2 for one ride, $10 for one hour of riding the slide and unlimited slides for $20. Group packages for birthday parties and other group outings will also be offered.

Since opening the slide to the general public in June, the Complex has been able to add to the area around The Big Dipper to make it a better experience for patrons. A concrete sidewalk leading to the slide as well as where riders exit and enter the attraction has been created. An air-conditioned ticket booth has also been added as well as a 75-foot long banner featuring The Big Dipper logo for travelers to see as they pass by the Smith River Sports Complex. Picnic tables have also been placed beside the slide for seating while visiting the area's newest water attraction. A fence surrounding the slide will also be installed in the coming weeks.

For a full list of rules and guidelines, please visit

For more information about The Big Dipper or to find out about special group rates, please call 276-638-5200, ext. 2, or email Also be sure to follow the Smith River Sports Complex on Facebook and Twitter @SmithRiverSport for the latest news around SRSC.