Wild Rivers is back in Irvine to create new lasting memories for families.
It’s been 11 years since Orange County waterpark Wild Rivers made a splash in Irvine. This summer, locals and visitors can make their way back for a new wave of memories as the iconic park returns to Irvine “bigger and better” than ever.
“Wild Rivers President Mike Reidel has been tirelessly working for 12 years to bring an all-new Wild Rivers to Orange County by securing the funding and the ideal location in the heart of Orange County at the Great Park, Irvine,” said Steve Nero, director of Business Development and Marketing. “Wild Rivers sits right next to the big orange balloon you see rising over the Great Park. Mike had to overcome countless challenges, from land problems to financing challenges to a two-year global pandemic. He never gave up, and surmounted every obstacle to bring a best-in-class waterpark to Orange County. After what we have all gone through the past two years, what could be better than bringing a state-of-the-art waterpark to Orange County?”
Wild Rivers originally opened in July 1986 and was built on the land that formerly hosted Lion Country Safari. The waterpark introduced the first side-by-side wave pool in the country in 1987. During its more than two decades of operation, The Abyss, Chaos, The Patriot, Bazooka Bowls and Buccaneer Bay became popular additions to the park.
“During our 27-year run about 10,000,000 guests visited Wild Rivers and we established ourselves as one of the premier waterparks in the country,” said Nero. “Wild Rivers was also the largest youth employer in Orange County. We became a beloved member of the community known for superior customer service and safety. It was because of our reputation that the city of Irvine decided to lease us the land to build the new Wild Rivers.”
Opening in June, the new park is set on 20 acres of Great Park land — a 50 percent increase over the original park’s size. The new Wild Rivers will also open with unprecedented four six-person raft rides.
“We will also have just about every type of experience you can have at a waterpark: open and enclosed body slides — some with translucent and aqua-lucent sections — mat races, bowls, AquaSpheres, Rattlers, Constrictors, Pythons, Boomerangos and a water coaster. For the kids there are kiddie slides, play elements and a 500-gallon tipping bucket on a giant 30-foot play structure.”
The newly designed waterpark will include 20 rides, three restaurants — and endless fun. And its designers are already thinking ahead.
“We have an option to expand our footprint by adding another 3 acres of land for even more attractions,” said Nero. “But our guest-centric approach will not change. Having great rides is one thing but not having to wait in long lines to ride them is the key to a fun day. Wild Rivers will control the attendance level in the park to ensure that our guests have a great experience. Our goal is to make Wild Rivers not just the best waterpark in California but the best waterpark in the USA.”
By Jessica Peralta