Visiting water parks is one of my favorite summer activities. We are so blessed in Southern California to have so many water parks to choose from. While I have enjoyed every water park I have visited, Wild Rivers is my favorite! Unfortunately, I never got to visit the original Wild Rivers, so my review and experience is based solely on the new park, with no comparison to the original. That being said, when I compare it to some of the other water parks within driving distance from Wild Rivers, this is the best water park in my opinion.
I was invited for a media preview but I am not under any obligation to provide a positive review. This is my honest experience. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and buy something, I will earn a small commission from the advertiser at no additional cost to you.
Wild Rivers Water Park is located at The Great Park in Irvine, California. The current Wild Rivers has been open since 2022, and I am so thrilled that I finally made it for a visit. Before my visit, I made sure to do some research on their website. Their website is full of good information that will be helpful for your trip, and you will save money by purchasing parking and tickets online. I loved that you can watch videos of most of the water slides before you go. This is an extremely helpful feature that allows you to know ahead of time which slides might be best for you and your group.
Before you go, consider creating an online profile to link to your tickets. When you scan your tickets at the park, they will give you a rubber wristband you can wear for the day. If you load a credit card onto your profile ahead of time, you can link it to the wristband, which makes paying for food and items at the park very convenient. Wild Rivers Water Park is cashless, so be sure to plan accordingly. If you don’t have a card, you can convert cash to a Mastercard prepaid debit at a kiosk at the park.
What to Do at Wild Rivers In Irvine
All of the slides in the park are in the same area as at least one other slide, with the exception of Tomcat Racers. I am going to group the slides together by where they are located in the park.
Arrive as close to the park opening as possible to help make sure you are able to get the most out of your visit. We knew from our research that Pelican Plunge is one of the most popular attractions at the park, so after getting chairs in the shade, we went to get in line. Our wait was less than 30 minutes, but in the afternoons, the wait time can be over an hour. Pelican Plunge is an aqua coaster that is so much fun!
There are 4 other slides in the same area as Pelican Plunge. All 5 of the slides in this area use floats. You will need to wait where the slides end to get a float before joining the main line. Be sure to pay close attention to the signs so you know which slide you’re in line for. I enjoyed every slide in this area! Due to time, I was unable to make it on pipeline. The other slides in this spot are Fiji Falls, Samoan Serpent, and Tiki’s Revenge. All of the floats are double floats, but you can still ride alone with a double float.
Boomerang and Aquacondo are in the same area. When you get to the end of the line, be sure to double-check that you’re in line for the slide you want to go on. There were no signs telling you which side of the stairs to be on for which slide. When I was in line, you needed to be on the left side of the stairs for Boomerang and on the right for Aquaconda. Both of these slides use circular rafts that can hold approximately 4-6 guests. You will most likely be riding with another group unless you have a large group of your own.
Boomerang was another favorite of ours. This slide features a drop that pushes you up on a wall and then you drop down on the other side of the wall, just like the name implies. We also loved Aquaconda. Our favorite part of Aquaconda is the rainbow polka dot section of the slide. Our whole family loved how colorful the slides are at Wild Rivers.
Tortuga and Typhoon are also raft rides that hold 4-6 guests as well. Elliott rode Tortuga without the rest of the family as we were a little nervous that this one because of the aqua spheres with oscillation and 90-degree corners. It sounded like it could be too intense for most of our family. After riding it, Elliott said he is confident we can handle it, so we look forward to riding this on our next visit. Typhoon is another fun one that really takes you high up on the walls.
Tomcat Racers is near Shaka Bay and Castaway River. I really wanted to do this one because the rainbow tubes look really cool, but I’m claustrophobic and do better when I can ride with someone else on slides that are enclosed. I waited in line for a mat and walked up the stairs, but chickened out at the last minute. Elliott really enjoyed this one and we all cheered him on from the ground.
Tahitian Toucan, Mano, and Bombay Blasters are over near the food. Due to time, we only did Tahitian Toucan, but we look forward to riding the others on our next visit. Tahitian Toucan and Bombay Blasters are slides that end over the water so you will get fully soaked. Mano has one open-air and one enclosed slide.
There are additional slides in Cooks Cove and Kontiki Cove.
Cooks Cove (36”, must be 40” for the slides)
This play area is so much fun. In addition to several slides, there are so many fun things for children to play in this area. Between Cooks Cove and Kontiki Cove, there are sure to be a lot of smiles on the children’s faces.
Kontiki Cove (36” to 54”)
Kontiki Cove is perfect for the smallest visitors. They have a water play station, several small slides, and my favorite part, is the swings. I don’t recall seeing swings at a water park before and I thought it was a fantastic activity for the little ones.
Shaka Bay and Castaway River
Shaka Bay is the wave pool and Castaway River is the lazy river. I love that floats are provided for both of these attractions. Depending on the time of day, floats may not be as easy to find but eventually we were all able to get floats for both attractions. The waves in Shaka Bay are big, which makes for a really fun time. Castaway River is very relaxing, making it feel like a true lazy river.
Sign up for the GoWild Email Club. You’ll find out about sales, special events, and can stay up to date with the park. Children 2 and under are free. Seniors 62 and older are also free with a valid ID. Junior admission applies to guests that are at least 3 years old and under 48 inches. General admission applies to those 48 inches and taller. You can view and purchase ticket prices here.
Last month I visited a different water park and the walk to and from my car was incredibly long. Seeing that the parking at Wild Rivers is directly in front of the park was such a relief. Spending a day in the sun is exhausting, so the short walk to and from the car is such a blessing. Plus, it makes it easy to go back to your car if you forget anything.
While you cannot bring outside food or drink, they do have a picnic area near the main gate. You are welcome to leave a cooler with food and beverages in your car and enjoy it at the picnic tables. The one exception is sealed water bottles and refillable water bottles. If you don’t want to eat the food at the park, packing a cooler is the next best option. A lack of food choices close to the park makes it difficult to leave and come back, as it would be a big time waste.
Food Options at the Park
For our lunch, we had a cheeseburger, chips, a slice of cheese pizza (pepperoni had a wait), a salad, a hot dog, and watermelon. The hot dog and salad were the tastiest of what we ordered. I felt the chicken tenders and fries were the best value, but the line was really long for the tenders. All of our food came from Pacific Grille, but I can’t wait to check out the snacks at Island Sweets on my next visit. It has the best smell coming from it. They also have the Mustang Bar for adult guests.
Seating & Cabanas
Wild Rivers has an abundance of covered seating. Be sure to arrive early to claim some seats in the shade as it will be harder to find the busier the park gets. If you are arriving later in the day, you may want to bring your own chairs. They do have cabanas available for an additional fee. I loved that they even have birthday cabanas.
Operating Days & Hours
The park is open daily from 6/1/2023 through 8/23/2023 and weekends only from 8/26-10/1. Hours can vary from 10 am to 7 pm, 10 am to 5 pm, and 12 pm to 6 pm. Be sure to check the days & hours before your visit here.
General Tips for All Visitors
- Bring water bottles with you.
- Bring water shoes. You will have to take them off for a few attractions but for the most part, I was able to keep them on for the whole day. Itt made me so much more comfortable not having to stand on the hot ground.
- Bring towels.
- They do have a changing area but other than a hook on the door there is nowhere to put your stuff so make sure you have bags to hold your stuff while you change.
- Bring a waterproof phone case.
Tips For A Visit With Children
- They have life jackets available at no extra charge. They are located near the entrance to Shaka Bay and Castaway River.
- Children need to wear an approved swim diaper.
We were at the park from 10:20 am to 5:30 pm. We wanted to stay until 7 pm to enjoy the rest of the slides, but we were exhausted by that point. No one wanted to leave, but we were all tired after so much fun in the sun. As someone who loves being able to go on water slides with other people, this park was a perfect fit for me!
I believe that this is the most budget-friendly water park. They don’t charge extra for you to use floats, even for the lazy river and wave pool. They do not offer a skip-the-line pass. I highly encourage you to go and experience Wild Rivers Water Park in Irvine for yourself. I am confident you will have a fantastic time!