Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
There is a particular area in Aurora, Ohio that has undergone a series of identity crises. It’s been Geauga Lake, SeaWorld, Six Flags, and Geauga Lake again, along with the water park, Wildwater Kingdom. Now it’s just Wildwater Kingdom, an awesome waterpark with the ghosts of the old rollercoasters looming in the background. But even though it’s sad to have lost the amusement park (and SeaWorld!), Wildwater Kingdom, Northeast Ohio’s Premier Waterpark, is an exciting place to visit for visitors of all ages. (And personally, I always preferred Wildwater Kingdom to Geauga Lake, anyways!)
The last time I visited Wildwater Kingdom, I was probably 11 or 12 years old. I have always been a “water baby,” so Wildwater Kingdom was like my dream come true. Eight years later, and the park is still just as amazing as I remember.
Wildwater Kingdom has something for everyone! There are huge waterslides, a large funnel-shaped raft slide called “Liquid Lightning,” a wave pool, a lazy river, “Coral Cove” where visitors of all ages can blast friends with water and challenge them to a game of water basketball, and a four-story structure where children can enjoy themselves by getting soaked and sliding down less-daunting water slides.
Tidal Wave Bay has always been my favorite feature in the park. The waves come around every 15 minutes, and last about as long (I’m approximating of course; I was having too much fun to check the time!). It’s fun to just swim around or tread water during the breaks, but hold on when the waves come! As long as you’re paying attention you won’t get swept under, but knocking into other swimmers is another story. (Don’t worry; knocking into other swimmers isn’t as weird as it sounds; just laugh and apologize. That’s half the fun!)
My other favorite place to be in the park is Riptide Run. Floating along the 1,100 foot lazy river in an inner tube is a great way to relax after a day of fun in the sun. Kids love to swim around while their parents float along, and it’s always fun trying to dodge the water buckets that will spill water on top of riders who get caught under them! I could spend all day going between relaxing in the lazy river and dodging waves in the wave pool (and in fact I did on my latest trip!).
I’ve never been one for waterslides, so I didn’t get to enjoy Thunder Falls, Wildwater Kingdom’s 100-foot water tower of three enclosed body slides and four inner tube slides. I used to enjoy Liquid Lightning, the funnel-shaped inner tube slide, but no one was brave enough to go with me (each tube can accommodate up to four people) so I just reminisced about my last experience 8 years ago. Since we didn’t have any little kids, we didn’t stop by Splash Landing, either. However, just because we didn’t enjoy these features of the park, we still had a blast during our trip; we were perfectly content to spend our day going back and forth between Tidal Wave Bay and Riptide Run!
Spending the day swimming and going back and forth from one pool to the next can really work up one’s appetite, and Wildwater Kingdom has you covered! There are little places to grab a snack throughout the park, but there’s also Pizza Pier and Happy Harbor Café, where you can get a meal and a place to eat it. We stopped by Happy Harbor Café, where Mom got a Burger Combo Meal and my brother and I both got the Chicken Finger Combo Meal. Other Combo Meals are the Aurora Club (Club Sandwich served on a Pretzel Roll) Combo Meal and Hotdog Combo Meal. The café also serves Chicken Caesar Salads and kids’ meals. The food was delicious, and very filling!
Pizza Pier serves cheese and pepperoni pizzas, hotdogs, boneless wings, various sides (including fries and side salads) and desserts. Big Daddy’s BBQ (another Wildwater Kingdom favorite) serves Italian sausages, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, nachos, and various sides. Other places to get food include Calypso Coolers, Coconut Cove, and Tidal Wave Bay Refreshments, where you can find favorite snack foods like fries, Soft Pretzels, soft serve, and Dippin’ Dots.
Wildwater Kingdom offers dining plans that may save you money. There’s the single meal deal (includes one entrée, side, and a fountain drink) for $11.99 (plus tax) and the all-day dining plan (enjoy an entrée and side every 90 minutes) for $25.99 (plus tax). The single meal dining deal must be purchased online, but the all-day dining plan can be purchased either online or at any ticket window or participating restaurants. Find out more about the dining plans here.
Planning Your Trip
For 2015, the park is open from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm until August 9th, when it will be open from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm August 10th-15th, and then from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays (the park will be closed during weekdays beginning August 17th). You can find out more about their hours here.
Front gate one-day regular admission tickets cost $32.99 (plus tax). Visitors ages 3-61 and under 48”, or 62 and older, can purchase tickets at the gate for $15.99 (plus tax). Visitors 2 and under get in for free. If you are an active or retired member of the Armed Forces (including honorably discharged), you can purchase up to 6 tickets at the price of $19.99 per ticket (plus tax). If you decide to visit the park after 3pm when the park closes at 7pm, or after 4pm when the park closes at 8pm, you can purchase Starlight tickets, which cost $19.99.
If purchased in advance online, a single day ticket costs $25.99 (plus tax) and a two-day ticket costs $45.00 (plus tax). If you purchase tickets online in advance and visit after 4pm, you can purchase a ticket for $17.00 (plus tax). Purchase tickets online here.
Wildwater Kingdom is great for group visits. The park accommodates family reunions, birthday parties, student trips, and even large groups of friends. If you visit the park in a group of 15 or more, you can get discount on admission. Find out more about group sales here.
If you think you’ll be a frequent visitor to the park, you can purchase a season pass and get unlimited visits for as low as $74.99 (plus tax). Get more information about season passes here.
One thing that a lot of people worry about is where they’re going to store their stuff. It’s true you could just leave it in the car, but do you really want to walk across the parking lot in your bare feet? You could also leave your stuff on one of the lawn chairs, but what if someone takes it? Wildwater Kingdom has lockers available for rent: small (12×12) for $10, large (15×16) for $12 and jumbo (17×22) for $15. These are all-day rentals and are served as a first-come, first-served basis. The lockers are located right next to Pizza Pier.
Other need-to-know info:
- Parking costs $10 per car.
- You can leave and re-enter the park (just make sure to get your hand stamped before leaving!)
- You may not bring coolers or food into the park, but there is a public picnic area located outside the Main Entrance where you may bring picnic baskets and coolers.
- Wheelchairs and strollers are available to rent.
- Lifejackets are required for children under 48” tall or children who are inexperienced swimmers. Lifejackets are available free of charge to guests who need them.
- Wildwater Kingdom does not provide towels, so bring your own (or purchase one from one of the gift shops).
You can find other information by visiting the FAQ page here.
I enjoyed Wildwater Kingdom as a 12-year-old and I enjoy it as a 20-year-old. My brother, 17, enjoys it, and my mother (I won’t tell you her age!) enjoys it. My cousin and his girlfriend (in their 30s) enjoy it, and his girlfriend’s little kids enjoy it. As you can see, there’s something for everyone at Wildwater Kingdom! So whether you want to ride the slides, dodge some waves, float in the lazy river, or just sunbathe in one of the many lawn chairs they have scattered around the park, I guarantee you won’t regret your trip. Enjoy!
Head Blogger at A Bibliophile’s View: Fitness, Food, and Faith