TODAY is the last day this year that you can sit in a jumbo life-buoy and race down the colossal winding slides, as Ocean Park's Water World closes its gates this evening to mark the end of the season. The end of this year's programme has left many youngsters wondering whether they will be able to visit the oasis again next year. Rumours have been flying about town that the park is set to close its aquatic section for good when it shuts down this season. Rumours of Water World's closure have been circulating since Ocean Park launched a study a few months ago to look at the feasibility of replacing the summer getaway with a three-star hotel to attract more visitors to the park. With the three summer shark attacks and sardine-packed conditions at public swimming pools, youngsters who are keen to cool off and escape the city heat have been concerned that they will be left high and dry next summer if the rumours are true. Well, Sunday Young Post decided to seek out the truth and we have a reassuring message for our readers: stop worrying, at least for now. Ocean Park says no decision has been reached, and the oasis still manages to attract around 400,000 guests during the four months it is open each year. 'The [feasibility] study is in its early phases and no decision has been made yet . . . there are no current plans to close Water World,' Florence Chan, marketing communications and public relations manager of the park, said. Since its opening in 1984, Water World has become one of the most popular places in the territory for both tourists and local visitors who flock to its cool pools to fend off the scorching summer heat. 'If Water World stops running, there wouldn't be any cooling thrills like the huge slides and the wave pool in Hong Kong. It will be such a pity,' said 15-year-old Pauline Yip, recalling her breath-taking ride down the Giant Water Slide on a huge life-buoy. However, the park's location has dampened some youngsters' urge to embark on this cool outing. Instead of travelling in the stifling MTR and the double-decker bus to the park in Aberdeen, many youngsters have been sticking to the public swimming pools in their neighbourhoods. 'I wanted to go to Water World this summer, but it's too far. I ended up going to the pool near my place almost every day in July and August. 'And [at Water World,] you need to be in a big group if you want to have real fun on the water rides and slides. There is no point going there on your own or with just a couple of friends,' said fifth former Hung Man-wo. Some of the Urban Council swimming pools have installed water play facilities to suit the needs of swimmers. But most of the action rides tend to be aimed at really young children and teenagers find the facilities in the public pools far less appealing than the large-scale attractions at Aberdeen. Despite the popularity of Water World's facilities and its rides, some youngsters, however, say changes would be welcomed. 'It's time for them to come up with something different. Water World has been the same for long enough and it's always those few games. It isn't exciting for me any more,' said university student Margaret Tsang, who paid a special 'final' visit to the park a few weeks ago after hearing the rumour that the fun could soon be over.