We have been going to Raging Waves almost every year for the past six years and were curious what they were doing differently for 2020. After figuring out the best deals on tickets, what they are doing to keep everyone safe, what to bring, and experiencing all of the attractions, we have some inside info on deals, tips for your day there, and overview of the park! Raging Waves invited us to spend the day there, but all opinions are my own.
Raging Waves is the state’s largest outdoor waterpark, sitting on more than 40 acres in Yorkville, IL (just 45 minutes West of Chicago). Not only are there all kinds of slides and rides, there is a large lazy river, wave pool, sand area, and several areas for younger kids to splash, slide, and swim.
Changes for 2020
You are now allowed to bring filled personal water bottles into the park since there aren’t water fountains or water refill stations this year.
Park reservations are required for all guests and your temperature will be taken at the guard gate when entering the parking lot. There is also a new $10 parking fee and you can save $5 on that parking fee if you book it ahead of time online.
Your personal belongings need to be put in a clear plastic bag in order for contactless inspection by the staff when you enter the park. I brought a white mesh bag, but told me that they can’t see through some mesh bags and it really needs to be clear plastic, so the gate guard gave me a clear plastic bag at the gate when we drove in.
The locker rooms are closed, so you need to arrive ready with your bathing suit on. However, the lockers are available and outside.
Slide attendants, cleaning staff, and staff walking the waterpark wear masks. Lifeguards do not wear face coverings, but we noticed that they were staying six feet from all guests. You are required to wear a mask when entering the park, going to the bathroom, and exiting the park.
The Aussie Mat Dash was supposed to open this summer, but that was postponed until Summer 2021. Other closed attractions include the lazy river and Three Sisters water slides.
There is a capacity limit for the wave pool, Quokka-Nut Island, and Koala Kove (little kid areas described below).
Orange tape is wrapped around railings to indicate social distancing guidelines when waiting in line for each slide. However, the six feet spacing is not being monitored, so you need to be ready to speak up. I had to remind groups of kids to not crowd us in line and we found that to be frustrating.
Re-entry is only allowed between 11:30 am and 2:30 pm, so if you are planning on packing lunch in the car, you can do so between those times. The Shark Bite Cafe accepts mobile orders and there are QR codes outside the restaurant or you can download the Raging Waves app to order food.
All of the tubes are sprayed with disinfectant between uses. We saw staff tending to cleaning throughout the park. There are also hand sanitizing stations along the paths.
Water Park Attractions at Raging Waves
Areas for Little Kids
We enjoyed the following areas until my kids were about eight years old.
Kangaroo Falls is filled with slides, water cannons, rope bridges, water hoses and a dumping bucket. There are lounge chairs around the area and lifeguards on patrol.
Quokka-Nut Island was added in 2018. All ages can take part in the zero-depth pool or interactive play features and those between 36″ and 54″ tall can ride the slides in this area.
Koala Kove was closed when we were there because they were short-staffed that day, but this zero-depth entry pool has 4 slides including the crocodile slide you can see in the photo above. It’s geared towards babies and toddlers.
For Everyone to Enjoy
Kookaburra Kreek is a quarter-mile long lazy river that goes all the way around the park with relaxing bends. You can ride on a one or two person clear tube or without a tube. Please note that the lazy river is closed this year and is not filled.
The Great Barrier Reef is a zero-depth pool that turns into a wave pool at regular intervals. There are three lifeguards on duty in this area. You can float on a tube, but the majority of people bob and swim. Lounge chairs are plentiful and there is even some shade.
Brock’s Giant Sandbox is a large sand area where you can play and build sand creations. There are many chairs around the perimeter and showers at the exit to wash off the sand.
Rides for Those Between 42″ and 48″
The Three Sisters (pictured below) are three different slides that you ride on a single or double tube. Those between 42″ and 48″ must ride with a parent. The blue slide is the fastest, but my son likes the green one the best. This attraction is closed for 2020.
Wild Wallabies are two pink and green slides that were added in 2018. You must be 42″ in height (or taller) to ride these body slides. You definitely go faster if you lay down, but watch out because water will go up your nose at the end when you do.
The Crocodile Mile is one of our favorite waterslides at the park. You must be 42″ in height (or taller) to ride and the rafts accommodate four people. It’s a closed tube slide, so the ride is dark at times, but there are cool pinholes as you go down that make shapes and patterns.
Attractions for Everyone over 48″
Wonambi was added in 2016 and is one of three in the United States. You go down a cute and then hugh up the side of this thrill ride. You can see it pictured above. It’s the yellow, orange, and red slide on the left.
Boomerang is our all time favorite waterslide at Raging Waves. You travel down the tube slide on a four-person raft and then down the chute to swish back and forth high up on the walls as you work your way down the funnel. It’s exciting and fun!
Cyclone and Platypus Plunge are right next to each other. Cyclone is another funnel slide, but more tame that Boomerang, and Platypus Plunge is a really fast ride. Both require you to carry a two-person tube up to the top. You can ride with one person on the double tube, but it’s definitely more fun (and less cumbersome to carry) with two people.
Tasmanian Twisters are two enclosed body slides and PJ’s Plummet is a body slide where you go straight down, uncovered. My son went down this one, but that crossed my thrill threshold. He said he could feel the seams of the slide on his back as he went down, which stung, but it seems to be a huge hit with teenagers.
Story Behind Raging Waves
When we first started going to Raging Waves I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of the park, Randy Witt, and could immediately tell that he has a passion for water parks and has considered all of the details. He said that he and his wife had the dream of opening a water park 20 years ago. They started researching and visiting water parks across the country all of those years until they opened Raging Waves in 2008.
Randy told us the story of how he came up with the name of the park and in the end, he read “raging waves” in a verse while doing his daily devotional and it was obvious to him that it should be the name of his park. It was so refreshing to hear his story and authenticity.
Here is the verse from Psalms 93:4 – “The Lord on high is mightier than the many waters, yea, than the raging waves of the sea.” Randy said, “As owners, we believe God is indeed all powerful and He has a hand in all we do. We choose to follow Him through all the ups and downs in life and we know He will carry us through; even though the “waves” of life may be “raging” at times.”
How Much Does Raging Waves Cost?
General Admission for Raging Waves starts at $34.99 and varies based on the day of the week and free for children 2 years and younger. There are also a few extras to consider.
Parking is $10 ($5 online) and you have the option of paying $20 for preferred parking. If you get to the park when it opens at 10am, there’s no need to pay extra. We usually arrive a few minutes before opening and find a close spot. Maybe if you arrive in the middle of the day and have really little ones it would be worth it, but otherwise I would say skip paying for this extra.
There are individual and family lockers for $12 and $15, respectively, for the day. With water bottles, flip flops, purse, wallet, keys, phones, and towels, I would recommend a family locker. The lockers are pretty convenient because you purchase one at a machine and it prints out wristbands with bar codes on them, so you don’t need to carry a key or card to open the locker. You can also find a shady spot and put your personal belongings there.
You can rent cabanas and there are many options that you can learn about here. There are many areas with shade and we didn’t have a problem finding a few chairs in a shady spot to relax, but if you want a private space you can check that out.
You cannot bring outside food into the waterpark, but the Shark Bite Cafe accepts mobile orders and there are QR codes outside the restaurant or you can download the Raging Waves app to order food. If you have food allergies they recommend calling the park the day before and they will accomodate you.
The other option is to leave a cooler with food in your car and eat in the parking lot, which we have also done. Raging Waves allows re-entry this year between 11:30 am and 2:30 pm as long as you have them stamp your hand before exiting. Then you can head to your car, enjoy your lunch, and continue enjoying all of the attractions.
Raging Waves Discounts
No one wants to pay full price, right?! We found the best deals for Raging Waves! The following discounts are for general admission.
You can usually find a deal on Groupon, so keep your eye on this link so when it goes live you can snatch up tickets! Click here to receive a discount on Raging Waves through Groupon with the Kidlist affiliate link.
If you are a member of Costco, they also usually offer discounts on Raging Waves admission.
There are programs through schools, such as Plunge Into Fitness and reading programs where your kids can receive free admission. You can ask your school or call Raging Waves for details. They mentioned that if you homeschool you can sign up for these programs as well.
Tips for Visiting Raging Waves
Save money on food by packing lunch in a cooler and leaving it in your car. Then head to the parking lot to get a break from the sun and get energized to go back to the water park. Just don’t forget to get your hand stamped for re-entry!
Call before you make the trip. Every morning, the Raging Waves team has a meeting at 8am when they look at weather conditions and make a plan for the day. If it is windy, there is rain in the forecast, etc. they may decide to open later, close earlier, and/or close some of the attractions. This happened when we went last year and it was not fun to wait in the parking lot until they opened. The woman at the gate said they try to post the status on their Facebook page by 9am.
Bring only essentials. We only bring towels, flip flops, sunscreen, and money so we don’t have to get a big locker or keep track of a lot of stuff while we are there. We have seen people leave their belongings on a chair in the shade, but I would worry about leaving my wallet in my bag on a chair all day.
If there is an age gap between your children or they like different levels of thrill rides, then plan on going with another adult. We often split up into two different groups: those who want to do tamer rides and those who go for the big thrills. Raging Waves is a big place and I wouldn’t feel comfortable being the only adult if there is a split in the group.
Be aware of their clothing policies so you can be prepared. Swim diapers are required for little ones. T-shirts are allowed on all attractions except speed slides, but a skin-tight rash guard is a better option if you plan to do on all of the waterslides. Water shoes are permitted in the Wave Pool, Lazy River, Crocodile Mile, Boomerang, Koala Kove, Quokka-Nut Island and Kangaroo Falls, but not any of the other attractions. We always go barefoot and never found it to be a problem.
Check out our section of Attractions at Raging Waves, figure out what you want to ride the most, and go there first. On a busy day, the lines get longer after lunch. We recommend getting there when Raging Waves opens, which is usually 10:00 am, but don’t forget our second tip above.
Don’t forget to read the Changes for 2020 section of this article. It gives details on all of their new policies and safety measures.
Location and Contact Information
Raging Waves Waterpark
4000 N. Bridge St.
Yorkville, IL 60560
Looking for more summer fun? Check out our Huge Guide to Summer Fun in the Suburbs!