In addition to fan favorites like the Bora Bora Boomerango water slide, where riders splash down a 25-foot drop in a six-person raft, the Shaka Bay Wavepool and the lazy Castaway River, the waterpark is set to welcome visitors to Kontiki Cove, a new five slide waterpark complex geared toward guests 4 feet, 5 inches tall and shorter with less-steep slides and shallow pools.
The theme park previewed the new addition to season pass holders, and “it was a huge success,” said Wild Rivers’ General Manager Kevin Kopeny.
“It’s situated on our family island which is segregated from all the other larger rides in the park, and the response from our season pass holders was tremendous,” Kopeny said. “They were so excited and happy that we had something for the really little kids.”
Kontiki Cove will have two “open flume slides, which means they don’t have a tarp on them,” he said. The short slides exit into 2 feet of water, ideal for smaller kids, just like the two serpentine slides which are enclosed in tarps. The multi-lane racer mirrors one for larger kids. A splash area and a bunch of smaller shipwreck slides complete the Kontiki Cove area.
The Kontiki Cove area, Kopeny said, added to what the park was “missing last year.”
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And for a “unique experience,” Kopeny said, the park will debut “Summer Splash Nights” exclusively for Diamond Pass holders and their guests. On June 16, June 30, July 14 and July 28, the park will stay open until 10 p.m. so guests can enjoy the waterslides at night.
“We want to see how the market responds to it. I believe it’s going to be extremely popular, but we just want to make sure that we’re offering the right product to this market,” he said. “If it is successful, I think you can look to us adding multiple days as we move in throughout the summer.”
Built on over 20 acres inside the Great Park, Wild Rivers’ opened its doors to the public in its new location last year. The original Wild Rivers, which opened in 1986 at what was once the Lion Country Safari animal park, shut down in 2011 to make way for housing. The Irvine Co., which owned the land, built the Los Olivos Village neighborhood there.
The new park is 50% larger than the old one.
The larger location means additional hiring. Wild Rivers, Kopeny said, is one of the top youth employers in Orange County and is looking to hire between 800 to 1,000 people for the summer.
Kopeny, who got his first job at the water park when he was 15, said it is important to him that working at Wild Rivers’ is a lot of people’s first job.
“I think it’s such a wonderful way for youth in Orange County to be able to get into the workplace,” he said.
Wild Rivers opens for the summer on May 6. Season tickets start at $149 and general admission rates start at $40 for those under 4 feet and $65 for those taller. Parking and cabanas have different rates. For more information, visit Wild Rivers’ website.