At last night’s Irvine City Council meeting, I was delighted to join my colleagues in voting to approve the lease agreement enabling the return of Wild Rivers Water Park to Irvine, with a new location in the Orange County Great Park.
I have been working to bring Wild Rivers back to Orange County since 2017, when I successfully asked the Irvine City Council, acting as the Great Park Board of Directors, to approve construction of a new Wild Rivers Water Park at the Orange County Great Park.
Under the lease agreement, the City of Irvine will receive 4.5% of the park’s annual gross revenue as a lease payment, and if the park remains closed for the summer or underperforms, the City is still set to receive a lease payment of $550,000 for that year. The annual lease is expected to bring in anywhere from $550,000 to $1 million to the City, according to a report prepared by City staff.
Wild Rivers will pay for the construction of the water park, while the City will pay for and maintain a parking lot with over 1,200 spaces for Wild Rivers use during the summer, but managed by the City the remainder of the year.
The old Wild Rivers Water Park opened in July 1986 on the site of the former Lion Country Safari, now the site of Los Olivos Apartments. Following the expiration of its lease with The Irvine Company, it closed permanently on September 25, 2011.
The new Wild Rivers Water Park will be located on 20 acres in the heart of the Great Park, at the intersection of Skyhawk and Great Park Blvd.
Wild Rivers will build a new water park with waterslides, an uphill water coaster, water play structures for children, a wave pool, a lazy river and Wild Rivers’ popular Congo River Rapids. I have also been working with Wild Rivers management to create an “all access” area, so that children and adults with disabilities can also enjoy a day at the water park.
We have missed having a water park in Irvine. I was a kid sliding down the water slides at the old Wild Rivers and I was a young mom taking my son there on hot summer days. We know that Wild Rivers provides fun and safe water parks, and they’ve always had a great relationship with the residents of Orange County. We look forward to having them back very soon. In fact, we can anticipate a Grand Opening sometime in 2021!