What I tried: Wildwater Kingdom
What it is: An outdoor water park in Aurora, OH
Where it is: Aurora, Ohio (across the lake from the now-defunct Geauga Lake amusement park). Address if you want to Google Map it: 1100 Squires Road, Aurora, OH 44202.
Drive time: Less than 2 hours for us (but be aware that most of the highway in Ohio is under construction…well, at least, blocked off like it’s under construction, we didn’t actually see anyone WORKING or anything..grrr…)
When we went: Thursday, July 14.
Hours: Currently, Wildwater Kingdom is open every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Aug. 15-19 when they start closing at 7 p.m. and are open weekends-only after that until Labor Day.
Admission: $29.99 for those over 48 inches, $14.99 for seniors and those under 48 inches. BUT….here’s a tip….if you have a Triple A Membership, you can buy the $29.99 tickets on their website at a members discount for $23 (no taxes, or extra fees!). If you do this, you buy the tickets with a credit card & can immediately print out the voucher which you take to the gate.
Parking: $7 (annoying, but…whatever).
Tube rentals: If you want an intertube to use in the wave pool, you have to “rent” one for $6 (for the day). You can only use that tube in the wave pool and ..you must have someone guard it if you want to ride something else. Didn’t seem worth it to me. They DO provide tubes for the the rest of the rides/slides. Though, I suspect you may have had to rent the double tube we found abandoned at the end of the day (and made great use of).
Crowds: Surprisingly light. I mean, we arrived at 1 p.m. and expected to never get a beach chair, but, while there were lots of people there, we were still able to find four beach chairs to drop our stuff on. And, the pools weren’t overly growded, nor were the lines absurdly long (the water slide lines looked long, but they moved FAST because they fed four slides at once.
Water temp: My friends, the water was fabulous! I heard many people call it “bath water,” but I did not care. I’m soooo used to freezing my BUTT off at a waterpark, that I brought a swim shirt and shorts, expecting to have to put them on, but I was blissfully happy in water that I suspect was at least 90 degrees. It was wonderful.
Concrete & Steel: This may sound stupid, but one of the things that always bothers me at water parks are the tall wooden staircases. I always fear they are going to break (hey…wood ROTS in water, folks). I am that freak mother on the stairs at WaterWorld who won’t let my kids lean against the railings. Laugh, but it’s just my personal paranoia.
Well, I was elated to see that the staircase to the big slides at Wildwater Kingdom were SOLID CONCRETE and the railings were STEEL. Nice. I felt safe & secure. (Not so at the “Liquid Lightening” ride where they had a wooden staircase and platform and… my knees quaked, but…hey…can’t have it all).
“Splash Landing” (above) is a water “play area” (think the “treehouse” area at Splash Lagoon) and there are three or four slides there that kids can ride in that area. These would be for kids under 12. Teens would find them boring.
“Thunder Falls” (above) consists of three body slides (the curly-Q ones at the top), which NONE of us tried because they looked death defying, and four really fun tube slides (we did each one of those).
There’s a gigantic four-person ride called “Liquid Lightening” (above) that flushes you out of a tube into a big funnel-like thing. I’ll be honest and tell you I didn’t want to do the “Liquid Lightening” ride, but my kids were having NONE of that scaredy-cat mom crap and we ended up riding it about five times. It was FUN…really fun. The only time I didn’t like it was when I went down the tube backwards, that I didn’t like.
Other stuff to do there:
The “Splash Landing” area has a few kiddie pool spaces that include some small slides just for preschoolers and a pool with a mushroom fountain.
“Tidal Wave Bay” is the wave pool (above) and it’s quite large, so even if it were a very busy day, you’d have no trouble finding space to spread out here. It does get deep — about 6 feet, I believe, but starts out just inches deep and there are little water fountains for the kiddo’s to play with in the most shallow areas. View the Tidal Wave Bay Webcam here.
There’s a “Beach” family fun area that is basically a sandy space with toys. There’s no beach….meaning, you can’t go in the water, so…
“Little Tikes Town” would be a blast for the preschool set with a whole village of little tykes houses and cars and playthings. My girls are no “little tykes” anymore, so we didn’t hang out here, but we saw lots of under-5 kids having fun there.
“Riptide Run” (above) is their “lazy river” tube ride …fun for the whole family as it’s only 3-feet deep.
“Coral Cove” (above) consists of a few joined pools with floating “animals” kids can climb on, basketball hoops, etc.
Food: There’s plenty of concession stands in the park — hot dogs, burgers, pizza, ICEES, ice cream. You cannot bring your own food or drinks into the park, but you can leave & come back and there are picnic tables in the parking lots. So, if you’re looking to save a few bucks, you can pack your own cooler, leave it in the car and go out to eat at the picnic tables later.
Other things to know:
– You can rent lockers if you want. I never do.
– There are decent showers and changing spaces in the bathhouse.
– The composite walkways are HOT. I mean, HOT…literally, burn-your-feet HOT. So…bring water shoes or flip flops. Now, the problem is, of course, you can’t wear water shoes or flip-flops on the slides or rides, but you’ll definitely want to wear them if you’re just walking around, getting the lay of the land.
– You can rent a “cabana” for $85 a day, but I don’t know why you would when it seemed to me that there were plentiful beach chairs and even shade if you wanted it.
– Bring some quarters. You can feed the carp in Geauga Lake. Machines dispense what I think is dog food for 50 cents a turn.
– Get there at 11 a.m. Had I known how much there was to do and how much fun it was going to be, I’d have gotten there the minute it opened. We took our time and didn’t get there till 1 p.m. By 7:30 p.m., we had done most everything, but didn’t have a chance to ride all the rides a few times like we might have liked to.
Bottom line: This was a great park and a nice little day trip. We’ll definitely go back again when Dan can come with us. I might even do it on a weekend — sure the lines will probably be longer and the park will be more crowded, but, like I said, there’s plenty of room to spread out.
Here are some more photos:
This is us, laughing our heads off.