Wild Rivers to reopen this summer

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The reopening of Wild Rivers Water Park in Orange County Great Park is set for the summer of 2022.

The new Wild Rivers will span 20 acres large. Twenty attractions will be available for guests on opening day, including various water slides, six-person raft rides, two kids play areas, a 25,000 square-foot wave pool and a 1,700 foot-long lazy river.

“The park is going to be 50 percent bigger,” park owner and operator Mike Riedel said to Spectrum News 1. “The water park industry and rides have matured a lot during this period. So the ride mix will have the same target audience but much newer, more state of the art, more exciting, bigger, wider and more capacity.” 

After welcoming 300,000 to 400,000 visitors annually for over 25 years, the original Wild Rivers, which was built on the land that was previously occupied by Lion Country Safari, a drive-through amusement park which ceased operations in 1984, closed in 2011 due to losing its lease with the Irvine Company. However, in April 2020, after a few years of negotiations between Wild Rivers and Irvine City Council, an agreement was made and the construction of the new park began in July 2021.

“I am beyond thrilled to bring Wild Rivers back to Irvine,” Mayor Farrah N. Khan said in a news release on cityofirvine.org. “The water park has been a special place for many community members, and I am glad our residents will once have again this amenity in their backyards.”

Several Irvine High students have applied for jobs at Wild Rivers, as the park is in the process of hiring 1,200 seasonal employees.

“My interview was very straightforward,” sophomore Avalon Pack, who will be working as a lifeguard at Wild Rivers, said. “I am excited to both work and go there in the summer. I think it’s going to be very fun and it was a big part of my childhood so I’m glad it’s opening back up.”