Wild Rivers is the newest family friendly water park to come to Orange County, CA! As a mom of three different age kids and all heights we were excited to see all that we could do at Wild Rivers. Heres the tips to help you have the best family day at Wild Rivers in Irvine.

Before you go

  • Make an account/logon to the portal on Wild Rivers and buy your tickets online (you save money by buying online – also check Groupon for deals). On your portal you can add a credit card and pay for parking which will save you time and allow you to bring less into the park.
    • Seniors age 62 and older will be admitted free to Wild Rivers. Simply show up and present your ID at our ticket window to receive your complimentary admission.
    • Children under age 3 will be admitted free. 
    • Military personnel with a valid ID may purchase up to four tickets at the park for our junior price of $50.00. Present your ID at time of purchase to receive your discount.
  • Wild Rivers is cashless, you can use a credit card, your phone or visit the Cash-to-Card kiosks next to the Mustang Bar and Pacific Grill. They’ll turn your cash into a Mastercard prepaid debit card to use at the park.
  • Wild Rivers in new to the Great Park so your GPS may direct you to the the Visitors Center at the Great Park make sure to use the address: Skyhawk, Irvine CA. This will get you to the park until it is updated on maps.
  • Put sunscreen on the kids before you go! They will want to get right into the water, do it at home or by the car, this way the sunscreen can soak in and not wash off in the water and kids will not miss out on any of the fun!
  • Plan where you want to visit first by checking out their interactive map.

What to bring

While you can rent a locker for the day we suggest only bringing the essentials:

  1. Wear swim suits and bring a change of clothes (there are changing rooms there)
  2. Flip flops or water shoes (the ground does get hot walking around)
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Towels
  5. Reusable water bottles (there are refill stations within the park)
  6. Waterproof cell phone protector with a lanyard
  7. Bring the stroller if you have littles, a great place to store all your things and easily move from area to area and a spot for a nap.

8. Pack a cooler – you will get a wrist band to enter/reenter the park – you can pack a cooler in the car and bring it to the picnic table area just outside the park entrance with covered picnic tables.

Inside the Park

  1. They will check your bags when you enter & give you a yellow wrist band that allows you to enter and re-enter the park during the day. No food & drinks allowed in the park. They only allow unopened, sealed or empty water bottles, baby food, and food for guests with special dietary restrictions in limited quantities. We suggest you bring reusable water bottles and either eat within the park or pack a cooler and leave it in your car, you can exit the park and eat at the covered tables right outside the park and then reenter the park.

2. Check your height when you walk in, this way you know what your kids will be able to go on. The slides in the kids area are either 36″ at Kontiki Cove or 40″ for the larger slides at Cook’s Cove, its also 40″ to go on Tala & Mano the side by side blue and green slides. Check here for all the attractions by height. Once kids hit 42 inches they can go on all the kids slides, the multi-person raft rides, the Tomcar Racers (where you race on the mats) and much more.

3. Check the activities board near the entrance they have games like water balloon toss, hula hoop contest, dance party & more througout the day! Look at the times to see if you want to come back to play any of the games (also check the location). They also have games like big Jenga, corn hole and other games to play at any time during the day.

4. Lockers available by the entrance to the park – find the locker you want and scan on your phone to pay by Apple Pay or credit card.

5. Lots of covered chairs for seating by the kids areas, grab a spot for the day or bring your stroller to be able to move throughout the park with your things. You can also purchase a cabana to use all day.

6. If you are cold you can bring your towel and drap it on the fence at the bottom of the rides to dry while you go on the rides, you can also leave your flip flops at the bottom if the ground is hot to walk on.

7. Bring reusable water bottles & refill at the park. At the back of the park you will see the Pacific Grill – use the soda machine for ice (its on the right side of the building) and then just around the corner is the water bottle refill station (on the front right) to have refreshing ice cold water! There are also water bottle refill stations located at Wild Rivers’ Main Entry building, locker and changing facility & outside each of our four restrooms in the waterpark.

What makes this park so family friendly

There are TWO main kids areas (with restrooms in-between them)

Cook’s Cove

You will recognize the big tower with a dumping bucket of water! Minimum Height for the larger slides at the top are 40”. You will hear a warning sound before the bucket dumps, there are lots of different slides and various water sprayers. This is a great place to cool off on a hot day, but this part the water was COLD! If you are looking for warmer water visit…

Kontiki Cove

Just a short walk from Cook’s Cover this area does have warmer water since the water is shallow. The best part of this area is that there are baby bucket swings that look out to all the slides. The three different types of slides that all enter the same pool (riders must be a minimum of 36″ for the tube slides) and smaller slides are a great way for kids to get to experience their first water slides. There is also a water table, small boat slides which are great for real littles.

Castaway River

Another area great for kids is the Lazy River – there are small dumping buckets just in one area and some water squirtes. A tip to keep littles near you, make it a game to be like a train with your legs or hold onto their tube to stay close togehter. Wild Rivers does have life jackets free of charge for children. They are located near the entrance to Shaka Bay and Castaway River.

Will I be able to take all three kids by myself?

This is something I had worried about before visiting. There are wide path ways within the park the way the park is laid out, all the rides all had their own sections. This means as a parent you can stay at the bottom and watch your kids go up the stairs and ride down the rides. Kids were either on the stairs waiting their turn or on the ride, then the kids could find you waiting at the bottom. It made it easier to watch older kids if you needed to wait at the bottom with a younger sibling whom may not be tall enough to go on all the rides (another reason why a stroller is great to have).

Once Kids reach 42 inches, they can go on a lot of attractions!

Click here for all the rides and height for each attraction

I was pleasantly surprised there were so many rides to go on when kids reach 42″ (which is when kids typically turn 4 to 5 years old) there are only a few kids rides can’t experience until they are 48″. With the height requiremnt and by having the rides where everyone can go together helps younger kids feel safer trying new slides and parents get to have these experiences with their kids. It is fun to see their faces light up as they experience the rides.

Kids 42″+ can they can do all the slides in the kids area as well as the rides where up to 6 people can fit in one raft. Like the bright orange Bora Bora Boomarango that allow for up to 6 people to ride together. This is a great way to experience the rides and the joy with your kids.

Another fun one to do with the kids is the Tomcat Racers where kids 42″ and above grab a mat and race down to see who wins.


There was an activity table set up in the afternoon by the kids area. Kids could take a break and color or make a free bracelet! They also had a dance party at two times here during the day. And by the front of the park there was activities going on all day like water balloon toss and hula hoop contest as well as things like Big Jenga and Corn Hole at any time to enjoy.


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