Wild Rivers, set to open next summer, will feature 20 rides, including six-person raft rides and a wave pool.

Wild Rivers set to make a splash next summer

by TOMOYA SHIMURA

Tubing slowly down a narrow river. Riding waves. Rafting with the entire family and friends.

These are just a few of the attractions you’ll be able to enjoy at the much antici- pated Wild Rivers Water Park as early as next May, in time for the summer fun.

“It’s going to give Irvine residents another fun thing to do that’s close,” Wild Rivers President Mike Riedel says. “In my opinion, it will be the best water park in California.”

The $60 million project broke ground in early July at the corner of Great Park Boulevard and Skyhawk, south of the Orange County Great Park’s baseball fields.

For many longtime Irvine residents, Wild Rivers was a family summer tradition that created lasting memories. The new park – more than 40% larger at 20 acres – will be “way better,” Riedel says. He calls it Wild Rivers “2.0.”

“We’ll have rides never seen in California and offer every possible water park experience,” he says. “More than half the experiences will be new.”

“We’ll have rides never seen in California and offer every possible water park experience.” – Mike Riedel, president of Wild Rivers

Twenty attractions will be available on opening day. They include Adventure River, kids’ slides, six-person raft rides, body slides, tube slides, mat racers and a wave pool.

“Loved Wild Rivers!” Cindy Speer-Tipton wrote on Wild Rivers’ Facebook page. “Always bought season passes and had the best summers there! Can’t wait.”

Mark Ahrens also wrote, “Looking forward to creating future memories there with my wife and son.”

The current plan allows for a potential 3-acre expansion.

 

At least initially, the park will require a reservation to control the number of people.

“People come to Wild Rivers not to wait in lines,” Riedel says. “We are going to keep the lines to a minimum.”

Riedel calls Wild Rivers a perfect fit for Irvine.

“The park is designed for families,” he says. “People come to Irvine for schools, and there are a lot of families. It’s kind of fitting that this is a family-friendly city, and Wild Rivers will continue our tradition of being a family park.”

The park is scheduled to be open from mid-May through mid-September. A new city parking lot will accommodate more than 1,000 vehicles.

Wild Rivers, which used to be the largest youth employer in Orange County, will hire about 1,200 local teenagers each summer.