Wild Rivers Returns


Bella Duong

Wild Rivers, a water park located in Irvine, California, reopens after being closed since 2011. Wild Rivers is now fully revamped, with more than 20 water slides, rides, and attractions.

Elizabeth Wu, Staff Writer

After a long wait, Wild Rivers Water Park has made a return to the Southern California theme park scene for the 2023 summer season. Following its closure in 2011 which was due to the expiration of its lease with the Irvine Company, Wild Rivers has reopened its doors at a new location in Irvine’s Great Park, just a few miles from the original park.

The grand reopening took place on July 29, 2022, and marked an exciting milestone for Southern California residents and visitors. The new Wild Rivers water park is 50% larger than when it was at its previous location, occupying 20 acres of land. The park underwent construction and development, which began on July 1, 2021, and with a staggering price tag of $60 million, it has over 20 water attractions.

“I’m excited for the reopening this year,” junior Anika Dizon said. “I have many memorable memories [at the original waterpark], like spending quality time with my family while having fun.”

For over two decades, the original Wild Rivers water park attracted an impressive annual attendance of 300,000 to 400,000 visitors. However, they had been forced to close due to the decision to build over 1,700 apartments on the land.

“[The reopening is] a dream come true,” Wild Rivers President Mike Riedel said.  “I always knew this was going to happen. I don’t know why I always knew, but I just knew it.” 

The new Wild Rivers water park offers a range of ticket options for visitors. Season passes, priced at $160, are limited to 10,000 purchasing guests and are valid throughout the park’s operating season from May to September, with no blackout dates. Additionally, single-day passes are available for $65, providing an opportunity for individuals to experience the water park on a one-time basis.

“I plan on spending a lot of my summer at Wild Rivers and hanging out with my friends there,” sophomore Maiya Petros said. 

Although the reopening of Wild Rivers is a cause for celebration, it is important to note that the park is not open year-round. As a seasonal attraction, Wild Rivers operates exclusively from May through September, allowing visitors to enjoy the water park during the warmer months.

Not only has Wild Rivers proved to be a spot for families to have an exciting day, but it is also a place for many to find employment. 

“I think that Wild Rivers provides a great beginning job [such as lifeguarding] to students or helps some [adults] bounce back into the workforce,” sophomore Eric Shin said. 

Wild Rivers Water Park has reclaimed its position as a beloved Orange County attraction where families and thrill-seekers eagerly go to this beloved water park.