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Iconic Wild Rivers water park eyes return to Irvine in 2019

March 31, 2018

For years, Irvine residents, and even more broadly, our Southern California neighbors, enjoyed the unique water attractions of Wild Rivers Waterpark off Irvine Center Drive and the 405.

 

 Children and families lounged on the Lazy River, felt the suspense of the Edge, and sloshed around in the Monsoon Lagoon. Unfortunately, the gates of Wild Rivers closed in 2011. While spending a number of years looking for a new home, Wild Rivers will likely return to Irvine next year, this time at the Orange County Great Park.

 

I have spent a good deal of time over the past few years working with Mike Riedel, President of Wild Rivers, and his management team, to facilitate this long awaited homecoming. As a City Commissioner, as a resident of Irvine, and former (and current) Wild Rivers fan, I look forward to continuing work on Irvine's behalf to ensure this community asset returns, and does so with a "splash!"

 

I was grateful when Riedel and Wild Rivers stated, "Anthony, thanks for you support during our long road. We are looking forward to what we are sure will be a successful run for a seat on City Council. Irvine needs more people like you!"

 

In case you missed it, the Orange County Register wrote:

 

IRVINE — Longtime Orange County residents may be reminiscing about the summers they spent with family and friends at Wild Rivers.

 

There’s good news for them.

 

The iconic water park – which closed in 2011 after a 25-year run to give way to the Los Olivos apartment complex – is on track to return to Irvine in time for the summer of 2019, Wild Rivers President Mike Riedel said.

 

“We’re working nonstop,” he said by phone Friday, March 30. “It’s an ambitious goal, but I think we can do it.”

 

Wild Rivers is working with Irvine to open an upgraded 26-acre water park at the city’s Orange County Great Park, that would feature water slides, an uphill water coaster, water play structures for children, a wave pool, a lazy river and Wild Rivers’ popular Congo River Rapids. The old Wild Rivers was 14 acres.

 

The water park will be a part of the yet-to-be-developed, 233-acre Cultural Terrace, the final major piece of the Great Park where the city is also exploring an amphitheater, a lake, a library and museums. The water park will be along Marine Way, across from the Great Park sports park.

 

The City Council on Tuesday approved Wild Rivers taking the next step and doing necessary environmental studies on the project before finalizing lease terms.

 

The new Wild Rivers Water Park is planned to be part of the Cultural Terrace at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine. 

 

The council also directed staff to immediately start designing a 1,200-space parking lot, estimated to cost $11.7 million, to serve Wild Rivers and other Cultural Terrace amenities.

 

To read Tomoya Shimura's full article in the Orange County Register, click here.

 

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