We have been going to Raging Waves almost every year for the past five years and always include it on our bucket list. They have added a few slides and areas for little kids since our last visit, so we were excited to check it out again. Raging Waves invited us to spend the day there, but all opinions are my own. After figuring out the best deals on tickets, 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Safety and Cleanliness
The lifeguards at Raging Waves take their jobs very seriously, which makes me feel good. They continuously scan the water in a methodical way to ensure everyone’s safety. I met with the safety manager when we first started going to the waterpark in 2014 and he said that each lifeguard has gone through extensive training and has to complete 4 hours of training each month to remain employed there. His high expectations of his staff was apparent and we felt well taken care of and safe.
Whenever we have gone to the waterpark, the water has been crystal clear and we don’t reek of chlorine, which is awesome.
They keep the water at a pH of 7.4, which is the pH of our eyes! This is something I really appreciate as a former chemical engineer… it keeps your eyes from stinging if you happen to open them underwater.
The water for each of the rides goes through a separate filtration system. In other words, if the kids area has to be cleaned up (*gasp* dirty diaper leak) then just that area will shut down until it is completely clean and the rest of the park is not affected.
Clear tubes are used in the lazy river so the lifeguards can see the entire area at all times.
Life jackets are free and plentiful.
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 is $32.99. Admission is $19.99 for anyone under 48″ tall and seniors 62 years and older, and free for children 2 years and younger. There are also a few extras to consider.
You have the option of paying $10 for preferred parking. The regular lot is free and 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 $10 and $15, respectively, for the day. This is really the only aspect of the park that I thought was too expensive. We ended up getting a family locker because we had a lot of stuff, but in hind sight I would recommend getting an individual locker for your flip flops, purse, wallet, keys and phones and then put your towels on the chairs to save a shady spot. Despite the price, the lockers are actually really cool 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.
Each of the rides have dedicated tubes or rafts, but you can choose to rent tubes. I can see how this would be a benefit if it was really crowded and they are only $5, but chances are you don’t need to rent tubes.
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 or drinks into the waterpark, only factory-sealed water bottles. The park has walk-up restaurants and huts offering various food options, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, chicken sandwiches, and ice cream. So you can get an idea of pricing, a cheeseburger combo meal, which includes fries and a drink, is $8.49. 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 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. If you have children under 48″ tall, it’s better to buy tickets for them online on the Raging Waves website or when you get there.
You can usually find a deal on Groupon. Click here to receive 27% off general admission for Raging Waves with the Kidlist affiliate link.
Raging Waves offers a 25% discount for their family fun value package, which is a good deal if you are a family of four who is planning on eating lunch at the waterpark. If you are a group of 15 or more, Raging Waves also offers 33% off one-day admission for groups. Please note that you need to print your tickets before arrival.
If you are a member of Costco, you can receive 32% off the price of 2 tickets. The Costco package is $44.99 and includes 2 tickets valid any day during the 2019 season.
You can bring needed items to benefit the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry and receive a discount at Raging Waves. They will subtract $1 per item, up to $4.00, from the price of your over 48″ full-day admission. Please note that this offer is not valid with other offers, discounts, coupons or other promotions.
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.
Raging Waves offers a Corporate Discount Ticket program, so check with your company to see if they participate. You can receive up to 23% off of general admission pricing.
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 this 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 the day of (and I had checked 10pm the night before- doh!).
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 the lazy river and 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.
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!