Summer time and water parks simply go together like Simon & Garfunkel. The only problem I have is the high price of admission and the CROWDS. How do you solve those two issues? Find a small town water park! We just came from Redding, California home to WaterWorks water park (about 2.5 hours drive from where we live).
Cost of admission is $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for kids (TIP: if you go with several moms and all the kids = a group of 15+ you will all get in for $15 each). The park opens at 10 and closes at 6. Plenty of time to get your money’s worth. And the best part of the whole park? It’s NOT crowded!
The kiddie area was pleasant for moms to watch their toddlers. And the life guards were vigilant about keeping older kids out. (Image below) There are normal rules for a water park but I was happy they let you keep your flipflops and sunglasses on for all rides (hold on to your glasses they would remind me at the top of each slide!).
One big downside to their rules was not allowing you to bring in your own food. And the craziest thing, they wouldn’t let you bring in water bottles… I was floored by that?! When I asked why, they said, because people fill them with vodka. Really? A mom with 4 kids? REALLY! We were allowed to dump our water out and fill it up with their water once inside the park. Of course you could buy their food and drinks once inside as well.
We went back out to our caravan of Mom-vans and had a picnic in the shade of our trunk-hatches. (There wasn’t a picnic area, although the website clearly said there was.) Then we went straight back to the work of water park play!
While the park is small, it packs a lot of fun and rides and slides in a 100+ degree day:
- Cyclone (but everyone calls it the toilet bowl)
- Avalanche (Totally fun but you only get me up there ONCE per trip!)
- 3 Body Slides (you race against each other at the top)
- Raging River Tube Slide (great for little kids)
- Kiddie Slides in the Kiddie area
- LOTS and LOTS of shaded Tarp areas like in the image above
I’ll take a small theme park or water park over a huge one any day!
Redding is about 2 hours from San Francisco and 2 hours from Sacramento.
Other favorite but small theme parks Carissa LOVES:
- Lagoon Theme Parkin Farmington, Utah. Near Salt Lake City.
- Hershey Park in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Near Harrisburg.
Both totally worth going off the beaten path to enjoy amazing rides in a smaller (and MUCH less crowded setting).