The popularity of waterparks reaches its highest point during the hot summer months.
Six Flags Entertainment (SIX) operates about a dozen waterparks across the country and in Mexico, while Cedar Fair (FUN) has four separate gated admission waterparks and others located with some of its theme parks.
While these two companies compete against each other, they also have several other smaller waterpark competitors across the country.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor operates on 25 acres of premium northern Los Angeles County land. The waterpark, located next door to Six Flags Magic Mountain has over 20 rides and water slides to enjoy. The Six Flags property is just an hour away Cedar Fair’s Knott’s Berry Farm Soak City in Buena Park, Calif., which is much close to Disneyland (DIS) in Orange County, Calif. Knott’s Soak City Waterpark is 15 acres with over 10 different waterslides.
Southern California waterparks got extra competition this summer as an iconic water park that closed over 10 years ago reopened and turned up the heat on the waterpark competition.
The original Wild Rivers waterpark opened in 1986 in Irvine, Calif., and was in operation for roughly 25 years. Wild Rivers owner Mike Riedel stated that the lease for the waterpark was not renewed in 2011, leaving the area with one less entertainment option.
Riedel worked for 10 years to secure a new location for the iconic waterpark. Many would question why Riedel would continue to pursue reopening after so many failed years, his response is simply that he knew it would happen eventually. The waterpark was iconic and so many people had a hole in their hearts when it closed.
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City Welcomes Back a Favorite Waterpark
It finally happened and the City of Irvine, Calif. decided to add the waterpark to Orange County Great Park, which is due east of Interstate 5 and Highway 133. The waterpark addition estimated to have cost $60 million started in mid-2021 and was pseudo complete by July 2022, and fully open and operational in August.
The new park is twice the size of the previous waterpark and has the ability to expand. The city secured a 35-year lease for the land with Wild Rivers and the water park.
Wild Rivers has the Castaway River, Shaka Bay Wave Pool and raft rides like Aquaconda, Bora Bora Boomerango, Tortuga and Typhoon. It has five tube slides: the Fiji Falls, Pelican Plunge, Pipeline, Samoan Serpent, and Tiki’s Revenge. Wild Rivers has four body slides: the Bombay Blasters, Tala & Mano, Tomcat Racers, and Tahitian Toucan. The waterpark seems like it might become popular as the soft opening sold out.
Chiledren are not forgotten either. Kids have Cook’s Cove and Kontiki Cove where there are over 70 activities for the younger aquafanatics. An 800-gallon tipping water bucket will keep them on their toes while they go down numerous slides and enjoy the zero-entry shallow pool.
Slides in Kontiki Cove end in a shallow pool that is perfect for toddlers and younger kids with a minimum height of 36 inches. All non-swimmers should always be accompanied by an adult. Even the best of swimmers can get disoriented and may need assistance sometimes.
Wild Rivers hasn’t let the fact that swimming really works up an appetite go to waste. The Pacific Grille is the onsite restaurant that serves lunch, dinner and snacks. The Mustang Bar is where adults can enjoy anything from the full bar such as beer, wine, frozen drinks and cocktails. The bar will also serve a variety of snacks. If you have a sweet tooth, stop by Island Sweets for ice cream, or other sweet treats like funnel cakes or churros.
Discounts Available When You Plan Ahead
Wild River tickets are $65 for adults and $40 for kids that are under 48 inches in height. Prices at the gate are $75 and for kids under 48 inches tall, the prices are $50. Parking per car is $20 when purchased online.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor tickets are $70 for general admission for ages 3 and up. Guests ages 2 and younger are free. Discounts may apply when tickets are purchased ahead of time online. Parking per car is $40 when purchased online.
Knott’s Berry Soak City tickets are $70 for guests ages 3 and up but tickets may be discounted if purchased online beforehand. Parking per car is $25 when purchased online.