Wild Rivers Water Park Irvine
Experience the thrill of Wild Rivers Water Park Irvine, a beloved destination that recently reopened in the summer of 2022. Situated within the picturesque Irvine Great Park, this water park holds a special place in the hearts of Orange County locals. As someone who frequented the original location throughout my childhood, I was thrilled to rediscover the revamped park as a mother. Join me as I share all the essential information you need to plan your visit to Wild Rivers Water Park Irvine.
History and Location
Discover the fascinating history of Wild Rivers Water Park, which first opened its doors in July 1986 on the grounds that once housed Lion Country Safari. After 27 years of providing countless summer memories, the park relocated to its new home within Irvine Great Park. Learn more about this Orange County gem and its significant transformation here.
Wild Rivers Water Park Admission and Parking
Make the most of your visit by familiarizing yourself with the admission prices and parking options.
Upon arrival you will need to pay $25 for parking or $20 purchased online. Wild Rivers Water Park is a cashless system, so make sure to have your credit cards, debit cards, or apple pay ready.
Admission prices vary depending on the day of the week and time of season. Check HERE for updated ticket prices.
Season passes start at $149 and season parking passes start at $85. General admission starts at $49 and junior admission (under 48”) starts at $40.
Make sure to buy your tickets and parking online! You end up saving around $5 per person and parking pass by doing so.
The good thing about parking and admission is that they allow same day reentry. That means if you are able to leave the park to enjoy a lunch or do whatever you need and return later that day.
The parking price is a bit steep in my opinion since The Great Park has tons of parking easily available and for free. However you risk towing by parking in The Great Park. As an OC native I just find it annoying when parking isn’t free and especially when it’s over $10.
What to Bring to Wild Rivers Water Park
Ensure a hassle-free day at the park by packing the essential items.
Before entering the park all bags will be checked by security. You are not allowed to bring in outside food or drinks. Full list of what is not allowed in the park can be found here.
Everything You’ll Need To Bring With You
- Reusable water bottles
- Water shoes
- Change of clothes
- Swim diapers (if your child is not potty trained)
- UPF clothing
While the park does sell anything you might need, the above list is my recommendation of bare necessities to avoid overpaying.
You can bring in strollers and wagons, which I would recommend if you have little ones.
It’s important to note unless you purchase a cabana, chairs are first come first serve and many chairs do not have shade.
While we didn’t use our UPF clothing the entire time, I was happy I brought them to wear later in the day when the sun was at its peak.
What I did not have and wish we did were water shoes. The floors get hot! So while we had sandals nearby, walking around even just to get back to our shoes was uncomfortable. The concrete is also rough to prevent slipping, but can be too rough for little feet.
Watch What's In My Bag for The Water Park
Wild Rivers Water Park Overall
We visited the park on a hot sunny day around 78 to 80 degrees fahrenheit. While it was hot and sunny, the water was VERY cold.
My toddler and husband were shivering and if you have a child who doesn't love cold water, it might be a challenge to get them to have fun. The water is not heated and our Southern California nights are still cold which makes for icy waters.
If this is a concern for you, I’d recommend wetsuits and/or waiting till the peak hot season closer to August and September.
Pros of Wild Rivers Water Park
- Fun for the whole family
- Tons of attractions for all ages
- Easy to navigate
Cons of Wild Rivers Water Park
- Not the most budget friendly day
- The food is pricey and kind of awful
- The entire park is run by teenagers
- Water is really cold
The Food Situation
Unfortunately you cannot bring in any outside food including snacks unless you have dietary restrictions.
As a toddler mom I don’t typically mind paying for snacks and food, but the offerings at the park are pretty limited and extremely overpriced for what you get.
Our sodas were warm and there was no ice available. The pizza was decent.
We paid $33 for 2 slices of pizza, 2 bags of snack size doritos, and one diet coke.
If you plan to stay the whole day the bill can add up quickly as a family. The good news is if you want to you can leave to grab a proper meal and come back in.
Would We Go Again?
The short answer is yes. The longer answer is this would have been more fun with a few families going in on a cabana together.
I think if my toddler had a friend or two with her she’d feel more adventurous in the cold water or maybe we just wait till it’s warmer.
I regretted not bringing our wagon and next time I’ll definitely be bringing water shoes.
It can be a long day out in the sun, but boy did we all sleep good and make some fun memories.