Get Your Splash On — Summer Family Fun at Raging WatersBy Marie Owens
Thanks May Gray and bye-bye June Gloom. July brings the sweltering heat we all know and sometimes love during summer in Southern California. With that comes beach fun and, for adventurers, waterpark season. I took my two water-loving kids (my third, who is water-averse, opted for the pajama party at summer camp). It was our first time at Raging Waters Los Angeles in San Dimas and we enjoyed a sunny 85-degree day during the fun. My 6-year-old girl was ready to get wet and my 4-year-old boy, who is just learning to swim, had a great introduction to waterparks – or the “water playground,” as he says. Raging Waters was a big splash.
Getting Started at Raging Waters
As an Encino-dwelling L.A. mom, the easy drive from the San Fernando Valley took about an hour or so, almost entirely on highways. We went on a Friday morning just after breakfast and the kids enjoyed car games such as I Spy and Yellow Car along the way. When we arrived, we paid the $15 parking fee (cash only) and got a pretty good parking spot, despite arriving an hour after opening. We checked in at the front gate, received our H2Go wristbands ($25-$40) and secured our cabana near Amazon Adventure. We opted to eat lunch first in our Grand Vista Cabana, which has an assigned server to bring food. The pizza, salads and drinks were just what we needed to fuel up on before getting in on the fun.
Base Camp: Amazon Adventure
After renting a locker for our valuables, ($12-$20) and buying a Seawag waterproof cell phone holder from Turtle’s Trading Post ($24.99), we headed to Amazon Adventure, a quarter-mile-long, 18-foot-wide and three-foot deep river experience that has a gentle current. Perfect for children of all ages, Amazon Adventure took over an hour of our time. While my son opted to drift on one of the available innertubes the whole time, my daughter back-floated her way around so many times, I just let her go it alone. Once my son moved to the splash area for younger kids that sits in the middle, I opted to watch along the perimeter. The ride is the closest to the entrance and seems to be the most popular.
Four Times the Fun for Little Ones
Our cabana sat near the Amazon Adventure, but I wished I had another cabana at Kids’ Kingdom, the 30,000-square-foot water oasis that got a “wow” out of my 4-year-old. I had to pry him away from the platform that’s most like a traditional play structure. The other three play areas just for kids include Volcano Fantasea, Little Dipper and Splash Island Adventure. With the exception of Splash Island Adventure, all kids’ areas require guests be under 48 inches tall to ride the slides.
The variety of kiddie attractions and accommodation of knee-deep water for even the smallest kids was a big surprise. I wasn’t expecting 2-year-olds to be able to go down slides, but between these kiddie areas, there are plenty of things for even the tiniest water lovers to enjoy. After exploring these, we doubled back so my little boy could go down the slides and pull on the water-bucket-spilling cords in the playground area at Kids’ Kingdom. In terms of thrill rides, I was afraid the Aqua Rocket, a four-person rocket-style raft propelled by hydromagnetic technology, would be too much for my just-over 42-inch boy, but I was wrong. After sending my adventurous 6-year-old ahead as a single rider, we hopped on and it really was like a little roller coaster. We finished that ride and headed over to Thunder Rapids, a five-person raft ride that meanders down an open flume-propelled tube that’s 550 feet long. After that, the Amazon Adventure beckoned us once more before our appetites took over again, which meant we didn’t make it to Neptune’s Fury, the other family-friendly ride for kids 36 inches and up.
One of the perks of Raging Waters, is that it – unlike many other theme parks – has familiar food options. There’s a Carl’s Jr., Jamba Juice, Pink’s Hot Dogs and Yogurtland. There are also funnel cakes, Breyer’s Ice Cream and ICEE products for your sweet tooth. They have their own pizza parlor in Pipeline Pizza, and Sharkey’s, which serves up burgers, chicken tenders, fries, nachos and salads. There’s ample shaded seating, so feel out the best place to share a meal after you order. There’s a souvenir cup that allows for unlimited refills, so if you know you love an ICEE and plan on going more than once to the park, you may want to spring for the cup and bring it every time you visit.
Lessons Learned: Know Before You Go
Here’s a checklist of things to purchase before for your visit to Raging Waters Los Angeles. These tips will save you time and money.
- Waterproof Cell Phone Holder: Remember to store your credit card in this pouch as well, so you can pay for food and other items.
- Water shoes (not flip-flops!): Flip-flops have to continually be taken on and off, but water shoes will allow for you to enjoy all areas without leaving shoes unattended at every ride.
- Sunscreen (Lots of it!): Remember to reapply throughout the day.
- Cash: Unless you get a parking pass for the year ($74.99), you’ll need $15 cash to park.
- Sunglasses with string holders for parents, goggles for kids: While Raging Waters is well shaded during wait times, keeping sunglasses in place can become a hassle. While some rides won’t allow sunglasses (I tucked mine in my swimsuit), the water playground areas aren’t shaded and sunglasses that won’t slide off are a must.
- Cooler: Outside food and beverages are not allowed in the park, however there is cooler storage just outside the park ($15-$20).
- Bug spray
- Phone charger
- Hair products: Trial-size shampoo/conditioner and soap along with hair ties and brush will come in handy.
Another nice touch with Raging Waters is its family pricing. A family four-pack that includes pizza costs $149.96. There are also AAA member savings available. Military, teachers and first responders also get discounts. General admission is $45.99, but L.A. Parent readers can use promo code LAPARENT at www.ragingwaters.com to get $16 off daily tickets, and $5 off season passes. Raging Waters Los Angeles is located at 111 Raging Waters Drive, San Dimas. For more information or to plan your visit, go to www.ragingwaters.com or call 909-802-2200 daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.