Wild Rivers (water park)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wild Rivers
Wild Rivers Water Park Photo D Ramey Logan.JPG
Wild Rivers Water Park in 2010
LocationIrvine, California, United States
Coordinates33°38′35″N 117°44′54″W / 33.6431889°N 117.748411°W / 33.6431889; -117.748411Coordinates: 33°38′35″N 117°44′54″W / 33.6431889°N 117.748411°W / 33.6431889; -117.748411
OpenedJuly 1986
May 2022 (reopening)
ClosedSeptember 25, 2011
Previous namesLion Country Safari
StatusClosed; Reopening in 2022
WebsiteOfficial Website

Wild Rivers is a water park in Irvine, California, United States. It opened in July 1986 [1] on the site of the former Lion Country Safari. Following the expiration of its lease with The Irvine Company, it closed on September 25, 2011.[2] Since the closure, there have been plans to recreate Wild Rivers in Irvine on or near the Orange County Great Park, which have been under development.[3][4] The developers secured full funding and commenced construction on July 1, 2021, confirming the park's reopening for Summer 2022.


Before Wild Rivers was built, the land was a drive-through zoo called Lion Country Safari, which went bankrupt and closed in 1984. The park's owner still held 13 years on the original 29 year lease for the land, which he then subleased to the operators of the Wild Rivers water park, the Camp Frasier (later Camp James) summer camp and the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.[5]

Construction on Wild Rivers "Mountain" began in 1985 and the park itself opened in 1986.[6]

Wild Rivers was also featured on the final episode of the first season of TV series Malcolm in the Middle, titled "Water Park." [7]


In early 2011, Wild Rivers announced that it had lost its lease with The Irvine Company. Both the park and the adjacent Camp James were scheduled to close at the end of the 2011 season.[8] The park was planned to be demolished with 1,750 apartments being built in its place. A new water park was planned to be built on public land near the Orange County Great Park, and was scheduled to open to the public in May 2014.[9]

Proposed Water park at the Orange County Great Park[edit]

Since 2012, there have been attempts to redevelop Wild Rivers on or near the Orange County Great Park. It was originally slated that a Wild Rivers park would open in May 2014, but it was then delayed a year later to May 2015 before it was cancelled altogether due to financial and land approval issues. In March 2016, the plans were revived and three months later, on June 26, 2016, the Great Park Board proposed two sites: one 35 acres and the other 60 acres.[10][11] In late April 2017, Wild Rivers successfully negotiated a contract with the Irvine City Council, acting as the Orange County Great Park, paving the way for their return to Irvine, which was slated to place in summer 2019.[12] However, in August 2018, Wild Rivers posted on their Facebook page that the opening date would be pushed back again to 2020 as they were finalizing the lease terms and environmental study. In January 2019, the Orange County Register reported that the park may sign a lease with the city as early as February 2019.[13]

In April 2019, the Orange County Register reported that Wild Rivers CEO Mike Reidel stated that plans for the new park and a lease on land in the southwest corner of the Orange County Great Park could come up for city approval within the next couple of months, with a planned opening in May 2022. [14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://articles.latimes.com/1986-06-30/local/me-79_1_water-slide
  2. ^ "Wild Rivers closes after 25 years". The Orange County Register. 2011-09-25. Retrieved 2011-09-26.
  3. ^ "Wild Rivers Waterpark, Irvine". Wildrivers.com. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  4. ^ "New Wild Rivers approved by county supervisors". The Orange County Register. 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2012-10-02.
  5. ^ Martinez, Brian (2011-05-23). "Timeline: Wild Rivers' wild ride". Orange County Register. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  6. ^ "Timeline: Wild Rivers' wild ride". Orange County Register. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  7. ^ IMDB https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0640420/. Retrieved 21 January 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Tully, Sarah (June 5, 2011). "Summer thrills, chills". The Orange County Register. p. Local 7.
  9. ^ "New Wild Rivers approved by county supervisors". The Orange County Register. 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  10. ^ "Water park in Irvine's Great Park is closer to reality five years after Wild Rivers closed". Ocregister.com. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  11. ^ "ORANGE COUNTY GREAT PARK BOARD REGULAR MEETING - May 24th, 2016". Irvine.granicus.com. 2016-05-24. Retrieved 2016-07-23.
  12. ^ http://www.ocregister.com/2017/04/26/irvine-moves-to-bring-back-wild-rivers-water-park/
  13. ^ Robinson, Alicia (18 January 2019). "Orange County Great Park development to speed up in 2019". Orange County Register. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  14. ^ https://www.ocregister.com/2020/07/27/irvine-gets-a-look-at-new-plans-for-wild-rivers-water-park/

External links[edit]