Visiting Southern California’s top water parks may have you digging deeper in your pockets. Entry fees and snack costs add up. On the plus side, there is a minimum of themed merchandise to tempt the kids but rather countless hours of fun on water slides, in lazy rivers and pools.
Knott’s Soak City Water Park: Fun Slides and Activities for all Ages
8039 Beach Boulevard in Buena Park, CA 90620
Seasonally opens at 10 a.m.; closing times range from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
This is a sizable water park that has a little something for everyone. A variety of height restrictions are in place to keep the younger kids safe; this also means that you need to look ahead of time at the requirements. For example, the Tidal Wave Bay is open to all swimmers, but those measuring less than 48 inches in height must wear life vests. The Gremmie Lagoon is open only to guests under 54 inches while the Banzai Falls have a 42-inch minimum height requirement.
Bring your wallet when spending the day at Knott’s Soak City Water Park. While you are permitted to bring a 12-inch by 18-inch cooler, it may only contain water. Shade is minimal, so bring along your sun glasses, water shoes and sunscreen. If you are good at planning ahead, you can save $9 by buying tickets only at a base cost of $27. When planning is not your forte, the bas cost goes up to $30.
Raging Waters: Excellent for Kids of all Ages with an Emphasis on Toddler-friendly Activities
111 Lakeside Road in San Dimas, CA 91773
Opens seasonally at 10 a.m.; closing time ranges from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Travel Channel has ranged Raging Waters at number three of its top 10 U.S. water parks. A total of 36 slides and other attractions on more than 50 acres vie for your attention. Just like other sunny Southern California water parks, you have to leave your food and beverages at home.
If you are bringing toddlers who may not meet all the height requirements of many rides, take them to the Kid’s Kingdom, which is a 30,000-square-foot aquatic playground designed especially for the younger set. Tickets cost $39 at the gate for anyone taller than 48 inches. Those falling under this height requirement and seniors older than 60 years pay only $29. Save $2 by buying junior or senior tickets online. While you do not save money by buying a general admission ticket only, you do get a sports bottle that entitles you to $0.99 refills for the season.
Splash! La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center: Suitable for Families with Toddlers, Kindergarteners and Grade Schoolers
13806 La Mirada Boulevard in La Mirada, CA 90638
Seasonally open from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Featuring a lap swim pool, spa and lesson pool, this is a smaller venue that caters to the local clientele. Buccaneer Bay is the water park with the lazy river, marooned pirate ship and children’s play area. Covering only about 18 acres, this is much more manageable than the huge water parks that cater to the tourists.
Season passes cost $74 for the over-48-inches set and $59 for juniors and seniors. Most families plan on spending multiple weekdays there, which makes this one of the least expensive summer venues to visit.