Once upon a time, back in the mid 80s, if my memory serves me right, the original Wet 'n' Wild water park sat on one amazing and high priced piece of real estate in the world – the exclusive and world renown Las Vegas strip – it was almost across the street from Circus Circus and kind of next door to what was then The Sahara Hotel & Casino.
I know many people that had great expectations for the park to be successful with every type of tourist from anywhere on the planet, but after many marketing maneuvers and great advertising campaigns, the traffic wasn’t there and so the water park became only popular with the locals, and so for that reason and a few others, Wet ‘N’ Wild closed in early 2004 to make way for a massive, water-themed hotel and casino that unfortunately never materialized and so this city that we all love had been without a water-based amusement attraction since then, except for some of the amazing pools in several of the larger hotels on the strip..
But never fear, Wet 'n' Wild is back in Las Vegas and although its location on the far west side of town may not be great for tourists, it is great for the city as a whole and for anyone with children wanting to do something fun and something that involves lots of water.
The mainly residential area in which the park sits is right on the edge of the Red Rock National Conservancy Area, with unobstructed views of the famous red hills that ring the Las Vegas Valley. It seems a bit odd at first to have this candy colored sprawl of splashing here at the footsteps of so much natural beauty but then you realize that this is Vegas and it totally makes sense.
Erected on 41 acres of beautiful land, the water park is colossal, easy to navigate, many shaded areas, lots of amazing people working there willing to help you at all times, but most importantly, it offers more than 25 rides, from the ones that will make your heart race with terrifying drops to ones that will make it slow down with lazy drifting.
They opened for its second season in April with expanded hours, a longer operating schedule, many new improvements added and a new slide that debuted on Memorial Day weekend. It is without a doubt, Nevada’s premier water park with great slides and attractions, and a place for both thrill seekers and families.
Some of the rides are exclusive to this park. Rattler is a three-person raft slide that drops people through chambers that shake as you pass through; Constrictor is an enclosed slide with what are billed as the tightest and highest banking turns of any water slide in the world, all done in the dark; Canyon Cliffs drops riders from four story platform on a vertical drop at speeds of up to 33 feet per second; and Royal Flush Extreme puts people into a giant bowl that they spin around in as the water flushes into a pool below.
New for 2014 is The Tornado. The only slide of its kind in Nevada, the Tornado is a four-person raft attraction that catapults riders from 36 feet in the air through a 110-foot tunnel before dropping them into the 45-foot-wide funnel where they spin back and forth through swirling water before plummeting into the eye of the storm. As the raft sweeps up the Tornado wall and crosses its centerline, guests experience weightlessness or zero gravity. With their raft almost vertical on the wall, riders report feeling like they are about to tip over, but the curved funnel wall keeps them perfectly safe. After a series of these oscillations, they descend through a tube to the exit pool.
In addition to the adrenaline junky rides there are also some more tame experiences. A 1,000-foot lazy river ride circles winds in a big loop around the park; a big wave pool provides some ocean like action; and Splash Island is geared toward kids with nine slides, bridges to climb, water cannons, play areas, and a giant 300 gallon bucket that periodically dumps water on everyone underneath and both kids and adults seemed to love tremendously. This interactive water play center could keep visitors amused, wet, and cool for hours. We certainly had tons of fun there and our two children had a royal blast!
There are several grassy areas where you can set up your lawn chairs and beach umbrellas or if you feel like going the luxury route you can rent a private cabana. Check their website for prices on these amazing cabanas. Note that while there are some shaded areas they fill up fast so bring your own umbrella or if you feel like the brave one, plan on wearing lots and lots of sunscreen.
The day we were there covering this attraction, although it was a bit breezy which I loved, the temperature was in the high 90s and for a couple of hours, it reached about 104 degrees – so make sure you come prepared to get nice and toasty.
Admission price is not inexpensive… it is always a good idea to look into all the various tourist magazines for any coupons they may be offering during your visit to Vegas. To get in you’ll have to pay $40 for anyone over four feet tall - but that's for an all-day, unlimited pass so in our eyes is well worth the admission price, especially if you are planning to spend the entire day having fun with your children.
Wet‘n’Wild is also offering a Twilight Ticket option for $19.99 for guests who want to enjoy the park at 4 p.m. and later to take advantage of Wet‘n’Wild’s extended hours this season. It will stay open until 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
They are located at 7055 S. Fort Apache Rd., just southwest of the I-215 and Sunset Road Intersection. For information, visit www.wetnwildlasvegas.com, call (702) 979-1600 or visit www.facebook.com/WetnWildLasVegas
Beat the Nevada heat by visiting this great water park – we highly recommend it!