OC Register: Construction begins on $60 million Wild Rivers water park in Irvine
Camryn Pak for the OC Register
Construction on Wild Rivers has begun, bringing Irvine’s new water park one step closer to being complete. It could even be ready by next May – just in time for locals to beat the summer heat.
At a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, July 7, at the Orange County Great Park site, about 30 people gathered to watch developer Mike Riedel and city officials dig dirt from the spot that will become the park’s wave pool.
There are 20 attractions planned for the park’s opening day, with a possible three-acre expansion and additional rides already in the works, officials said. Riedel added that though nostalgic visitors can enjoy replicas of old favorites like Bombay Blasters and Switzer Falls, most attractions will be new.
“It’s gonna be better and bigger. A lot of the stuff we’re gonna have at the new park didn’t even exist when Wild Rivers first opened,” Riedel said.
The $60 million water park will welcome visitors from mid-May through mid-September every year.
Spending hot summer days at Wild Rivers used to be a tradition for many locals; they made memories at its wave pool and water slides for 25 years. But it had to close when its landlord, the Irvine Co., moved ahead with plans for new apartments on the property.
Now, a decade after the park’s closure, Irvine Councilman Anthony Kuo is especially excited to bring Wild Rivers back. Kuo was raised in Irvine and grew up visiting the park starting when he was six or seven years old.
“It was a fantastic experience to go down the smaller slides and then gain the courage to go on bigger rides like the Edge and the Ledge,” said Kuo, adding that his first visit to the park was one of the best days of his life.
The revitalized Wild Rivers will be located at the corner of Great Park Boulevard and Skyhawk, just south of the Great Park’s baseball fields.
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