Hillsborough County's first man-made lagoon opens in Wimauma

Residents in a Wimauma community can now enjoy the newly opened MetroLagoon. It's the first to open in Hillsborough County

Metro Development Group first broke ground on Southshore Bay Lagoon in 2019. It brings a massive pool, cabanas and water sports closer to families in the development and to the public. 

"You have to drive 45 minutes really to get to the beach and right now we live right in the community, and we’ve got a beach right here, so it’s awesome," said Donald Lovett, a Southshore Bay resident.

Lovett is one of the first residents to enjoy the new 5-acre facility. Non-residents can buy a day-pass ticket at $40 for adults and $33 for children.

"Any given day you can hear live music, go on the slide, play on the obstacle course. We have yoga," said Eric Wahlbeck, the managing director at MetroLagoon.

The lagoon created 80 to 100 ongoing jobs for the area after construction was completed.

"Let’s face it, Tampa Bay is growing like gangbusters, and we knew south Hillsborough was an important area for people who want to live here," said Vaike O’Grady, the vice president of marketing and communications Metro Development Group. "We said how can we differentiate ourselves."

Water sports in 12.5 million gallons of clear water and resort-style living worked for some residents.

"We were looking all over the area to find a retirement spot for my wife and I, and we discovered this location, this South Bay community," said Lovett. "We understood that they were building a lagoon, so we were like this is the perfect place to maybe live out our retirement years."

Metro Development built the first man-made lagoon amenity in the nation when it unveiled the MetroLagoon’s Epperson location in Pasco County in 2018. Wahlbeck said 200,000 people visited that Pasco County location last year, and the hope is the Hillsborough County location is just as popular. The concept is growing in Tampa Bay.

"We actually have one under construction up in Wesley Chapel, and that will be the largest lagoon in the nation when it opens. That’s in our community of Mirada," said O’Grady.

Metro Development said it plans to have six lagoon developments in the Tampa Bay area, and more locations in other parts of Florida.