Is your vaccinated self looking for ways to make up for lost time? Then you won’t want to miss a single one of these summer attractions.
Let’s face it: the summer of 2020 wasn’t great. This year, however, has been much more promising: COVID-19 vaccines are available to anyone over the age of 12, businesses are reopening, and many of the Valley’s favorite summer destinations are ready to offer visitors a break from the heat.
To help our readers make the most of their summer vacation, The Copper Courier staff have compiled a list of water-infused destinations where they can go to cool off from now until Fall.
Sunsplash Water Park, Mesa
This Valley staple has enticed summer-weary Arizonans into its wave pools for nearly 40 years. Open from March to October, Sunsplash promises fun for everyone—whether it be on the fast-paced Thunder Falls for the daring, or the Lazy River, for a more relaxing approach to water play.
Open Season: March 6, 2021 – October 30,2021
Tickets: Starting at $33.99 for Day Splash, $24.99 for Night Splash, or $179.99 for a Season Pass
Trivia: Sunsplash is the backdrop for the fictional water park Waterloo in the movie “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”
Hurricane Harbor, Glendale
Nestled on 25 acres just north of the Loop 101 freeway in Glendale is Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. Formerly known as Wet ‘n; Wild, This water park is jam-packed with six rides billed as “hyrdo-thrills,” a series of large raft and multi-slide attractions for families, and multiple water playgrounds, splash pads, and kid-sized, mini water parks for younger visitors.
Open Season: March 13, 2021 – October 10, 2021
Tickets: Starting at $34.99 for a day pass, $49.99 for a season pass, or $6.49/month for an annual membership.
Trivia: The Bahama Blaster claims to be the first dueling H20 coaster in the world. What does that mean? According to Hurricane Harbor, it’s built in a way that it “allows guests to race in tandem tubes down two side-by-side slide tracks.”
Hotels and Resorts
River Ranch Water Park, Phoenix
“Seasonal” is not part of the lexicon at the Hilton Phoenix Resort at the Peak. Their River Ranch is open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Resort guests get free access to the pools, lazy river, and waterslide, but anyone can reserve a cabana and spend a day kickin’ it poolside.
Open Season: Open year-round
Tickets: Costs varies depending on whether guest is booking a room—which can be done online—or booking a cabana—which can be done by calling 602-906-3911, ext. 4571.
Trivia: River Ranch Water Park is located on the slopes of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, and visitors can see Piestewa Peak, Camelback Mountain, Lookout Mountain, North Mountain, and Shaw Butte from the resort.
Oasis Water Park, Phoenix
Billed as the “only AAA Four Diamond resort” in the State, the Oasis at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa packs a series of pools, waterslides, and a lazy river all in a seven-acre lot just south of Arizona Mills Mall. The resort also hosts dive-in movies every Friday and Saturday from May through August. Full movie schedule can be found here.
Open Season: June 5, 2021- October 31, 2021
Tickets: Day passes are $40 for children, $45 for adults, or cabana tickets fro groups of up to eight guests starts at $300.
Trivia: The Oasis opened in 2001 and will be having a 20th-anniversary fireworks show on August 7 at 9 p.m.
Great Wolf Lodge, Scottsdale
Sometimes even being in the water isn’t enough to keep the heat at bay. For days like that, it might be worthwhile to visit the Great Wolf Lodge’s indoor water park. Kept at a (relatively) cool 84 degrees, this year-round destination boasts an array of waterslides, aquatic sports, and slippery play spots that can keep kids and adults alike entertained for hours.
Open Season: Open year-round
Trivia: Summer camp is also offered on-site, where kids can play bingo, sit by a campfire, or take a yoga class.
The Splash Zone at Enchanted Island Amusement Park, Phoenix
A Phoenix secret that’s so well-hidden, chances are you’ve driven past the Enchanted Island Amusement Park and didn’t even know if was there. Tucked inside the 222-acre Encanto Park, the Enchanted Island is bustling with activities, from bumper boats to roller coasters. One of their more summer-appropriate attractions is The Splash Zone, a water play station with dumping buckets, water mushrooms, and so much water splashing around it makes splash pads look like puddles.
Open Season: April 15, 2021 – October 5, 2021
Tickets: An all-day park pass is $21.75, or visitors can skip straight to the Splash Zone with a $5 Splash Pass. Want tp make the Enchanted Island a regular destination? Annual passes start at $49.50.
Trivia: Although it’s been known as Enchanted Island Amusement Park since 1991, the park was originally called Kiddieland when it first opened in 1946.
Monsoon Lagoon at The Watering Hole Safari and Water Park
Is it a water park, a zoo, or something in between? You may not have the answer to that question after a day at the The Watering Hole, but one things for sure: it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. In addition to hosting giraffes, zebras, and camels, The Watering Hole offers a three-story tall slide, a water-abundant kid’s tree house, and heated pools galore.
Open Season: The waterpark is open from May 29, 2021 – September 6, 2021.
Tickets: A day pass for the water park starts at $48, with annual passes for $200.
Trivia: Kids interested in animal care can participate in their Jr. Zookeeper Program, where attendees will learn how to d everything from feed kangaroos care for sloths.
Closed for the Summer
While most water parks saw 2021 as their year to reopen after a season of pandemic-related closures in 2020, the Big Surf team made the decision to remain closed throughout 2021. Instead of turning on the waterworks, staff have opened the facility to operate as a music venue. Upcoming performances can be found at liveatbigsurf.com.