What’s in a Name?


We are committed to the success of sahara sam's

Sahara Sam's

Pictured left to right: Sam, Ilya, Gabriella, Betty and Yan Girlya.

It’s been almost 4 years since the grand opening of Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park. In fact, our birthday is right around the corner! Most of you will know the property as the top water park escape in the New Jersey area, but what comes to mind when you hear our name, Sahara Sam’s Oasis? Maybe your latest birthday celebration? A foam party you attended? The first time you rode the Nile Mile Water Slide?! Hearing “Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park” brings back lots of awesome memories, but have you given any thought as to where our name came from… and just who is Sam? What would you want a business that caters in good times and smiles to look like if it was named after you?

Ilya Girlya is the President here at Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park. It is Ilya’s priority to see that our guests enjoy the park just as “Sahara Sam” intended. Who is Sam? Good question. Why is it so important to Ilya that you have fun at the Oasis? That’s a better question! Believe it or not, Sam is Ilya’s father. He is also the chairman of their family business. Talk about high expectations! Behind the smiles and laughter of every visit to the park stand Ilya, his brother Yan, and father Sam. Not just business partners, they are a family who takes pride in the experience that you and I have during our visit. I asked Ilya about the importance of the water park to his family. He had this to say,

“Sahara Sam’s Oasis is an escape, an experience. I can’t let things like a weak economy effect how we run the park, people visit us to have fun and forget things like this. This is my family’s home and we are committed to the success of Sam’s. When we do well, that means a little more of my community is smiling.”

As I write this, Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor & Outdoor Water Park is undergoing a $5 million dollar, 2-acre expansion. A new wave pool, volleyball courts, kiddy splash area, and leisure swim space are just a few of the attractions currently under construction. It looks like the pressure might be off Ilya for the moment; Sam is keeping a close eye on his older son Yan, Head of Construction and Growth Development, to finish all the construction by May 2013!

Ilya is a Volunteer Fire Fighter in Mount Laurel where he resides with his wife and two children. Yan also calls Mount Laurel home with his wife and one child. The Girlya’s have a younger sister, Gabrielle, who holds a special place in their hearts having special needs. Gabrielle is the inspiration behind the quarterly Special Needs Events at Sahara Sam’s Oasis. To learn more about these unique opportunities see our Special Needs Events Page.