Wild Rivers Waterpark Set to Open in the Heart of Irvine


Zara Shirwany

Parts of Great Park Boulevard are closed due to waterpark construction, which began last July. Though the park includes replicas of old rides at the original Wild Rivers such as Bombay Blasters and Switzer Falls, most attractions will be new, according to the Orange County Register.

Wild Rivers Waterpark will open in Orange County Great Park on June 20 after more than 11 months of construction, according to Spectrum News. 

Compared to the original Irvine Wild Rivers Waterpark, which lost its lease with the Irvine Company and closed in 2011, the new $60 million park will be approximately 40% larger at 20 acres, according to the Irvine Standard. 

More than 20 different attractions will be available on opening day, including the Adventure River, the six-person Boomerango raft and wave pools. 

To limit daily capacity, the park will only hand out season passes to the first 10,000 people, which have already sold out, and take daily entrance reservations. Due to the limited capacity, some students such as junior Chris Li are making early plans to visit the park on its soft opening days, according to Li. 

“I went to the original waterpark before it closed down, and it was really fun,” Li said. “Since it’s super close by, Great Park, and it’s a five-minute drive from my house, going with my friends sounds really fun because usually amusement parks are pretty far away and distant.”

Wild Rivers hosted a job fair on April 2 -3 at the Five Point Amphitheater to hire about 1,200 local teenagers, including several Portola High students. 

“I wanted to work at a waterpark because I thought it would be a fun experience to work somewhere other than a food industry,” Wild Rivers operations ride attendant and junior Jennifer Rhee said. “My job is kind of similar to a lifeguard except the operations ride attendant is you have to tell the kids when to go, tell them the rules, explain about going on the slides and being careful.”

Despite excitement about the new recreation, some Irvine residents are expressing concerns about the park attracting too much traffic at the southeast corner of Great Park Boulevard, a route most students take to get to school. 

“I know that in the mornings to go to school the traffic is insane, so adding a new avenue and more jams of all these people going to the waterpark is going to be really difficult,” sophomore Andi Ruiz said. “In addition to a big waterpark, the [city of Irvine] has to keep in mind the amount of traffic flow that it’s going to create, how it’s going to be controlled and how it’s not going to interrupt daily life in Irvine.”

More information on the Wild Rivers Waterpark can be found at WildRivers.com.