It’s summer time! If you’re looking for a great way to soak up some SoCal rays while beating the heat and having a blast on some exciting water slides, you should definitely head on over to Knott’s Soak City. Located adjacent to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, this water park boasts 21 water adventures including 17 tube and body slides, a 750,000-gallon wave pool, a lazy river, and children’s area.
Even though I was not super excited to be gallivanting my almost-40-year-old-Momma self around in a bathing suit for the day, I did my Super Momma duty and loaded my three girlies into our trusty minivan mid-morning to get to Soak City with hopes of snagging some lounge chairs. We lucked out and found enough for the four of us as well as four more for the friends we met up with at Tidal Wave Bay, where a wave machine creates some awesome waves in the large 750,000-gallon bay-like pool. My nine year old was even trying to body surf on them (she learned this new feat yesterday in Newport Beach, which made her Daddy proud). The park offers inner tubes at $6 per day if you’d like one for Tidal Wave Bay, or you can just float about on your own.
Back to the chairs… we were super glad that we got there within an hour of the park opening because I would guess that by noon, every chair in the park was spoken for. No joke. We even witnessed a few people who thought that they were being sneaky (there are other words for this behavior), and “claim” some chairs that clearly belonged to others.
If you think you might want to go with friends, I will tell you that it worked out really well for us. With four moms in our group, we could tag team guarding our chairs and belongings and be the check point for all of our kids as they came and went. The park is small enough that we felt safe letting them go off in groups to different slides as they checked back in with us after each ride. My oldest is almost 12 now, so I felt safe letting her be the point person for our girls. I loved seeing so many lifeguards and staff members around the park, and no slide was too far away, so it all felt safe.
My three girls and my “honorary 4th daughter” (my BFF’s daughter and BFF of my youngest) were quick to head to Malibu Run, where they grabbed their inner tubes and headed up the long flight of stairs for some good fun. Be prepared for some wait time. As you can imagine, it’s hot in SoCal, so a water park is a popular destination. I’m going to guess it was at least a half hour to maybe 40 minutes before their cute little smiling faces were deposited into the pool at the end of the four different slides to choose from (two enclosed slides and two open). It didn’t appear to be too daunting to me, so a great way for my timid middle one to ease into the day. They were definitely all smiles as they landed in the water below.
They decided that Tidal Wave Bay was a nice reprieve before they headed to their next adventure on Pacific Spin, a ride that includes a 132-foot-long tunnel that drops its riders 75 feet into a six-story tunnel before landing in a pool of water below. The funnel aspect of it seemed a little off-putting for my nine year old, so she held back with me and we hung out for a bit at the well-loved Tidal Wave Bay. The other three loved this slide.
While the three adventurers were off on the scary ride, my even-toned middle child and I headed over to the Toyota Beach House, Harbor Water Works. A fun little area for the littler or the slightly less adventurous ones with two smaller water slides, areas where water falls spill out onto the kiddos below to help keep them cool, rope swings, water guns/cannons that shoot water, and much more! Kind of hard to keep track of all of the amenities this fun zone offered. It definitely took me back to when my girls were a little younger and when I would’ve spent the bulk of the day at this very spot. Very fun! My four are just a bit past that stage being age 7 – 11, though they did spend some time there as a group later in the day.
On that note, there is another area for even younger kids, called Gremmie Lagoon. This seems aimed at toddler level or a just above that. I love that they have any area designated for this age. The area is small enough to watch over them while they play freely and aren’t disturbed by the rough play of bigger kids; and it features pint-sized slide, and lots of different, fun water features that sprinkle and squirt to keep them cool and happy.
OK, back to the big kids slides… Here come my brave three, having conquered the Pacific Spin and all of its funneling darkness on a raft for four, all with big grins of course, ready for the next conquest. Off the four go now to battle 63-foot-high Old Man Falls. They each had their idea on which of the three different slides to choose from. Frankly, I felt a bit old (OK maybe just chicken) to be dealing with some of those drops, and was very grateful that the four of them felt safe together and didn’t require the Momma to attend.
After a long wait, I managed to catch them coming down this very tall and somewhat scary looking slide (says almost-40-year-old Momma). First down, the leader, my almost 11 year old is ALL smiles, happy as a clam! Next, my baby (who turns eight this fall), was less than impressed and in tears as she splashed to the bottom. She is adventurous, always trying to keep up with her big sisters, but I guess the big drop on this one was a little too much for her. Next came my timid middle girlie, smiling wide. And of course, my honorary 4th baby girl (who is almost 8 as well) was beaming as usual with the biggest grin ever as she stepped off the slide like it was nothing. She is most definitely quite the adventurer. Love that girl!
Alright, what’s next, they say… They decided to make their way over to Laguna Storm Water Tower, so my BFF and I took advantage of their wait in line and we headed over to the Sunset River (a.k.a. “the lazy river”, as we called it), and waited our turn for maybe 10 minutes for a free inner tube so that we could cool off, relax and float along the 1/3-mile river. There were a lot of kids/people in the pool, definitely not for anyone who doesn’t like crowds. Once around the lagoon seemed enough for these two moms, but it was nice to float, chit chat and cool off while our kiddos were off doing their thing.
Next time we see our four girlies they inform us that the line at Laguna Storm was too long, so they headed to the Sunset River for a bit. It was their turn to take a break and float around and relax and stay cool for awhile. Meanwhile the boys (and birthday boy, whose party we politely crashed) were off gallivanting around doing their thing, having a blast and braving the wild slides without the girls bothering them!
At some point, we took a lunch/snack break. Be warned. There were a lot of day camp groups there so maybe that is why the food lines were so long, I’m not sure. My friend waited for about an hour for pizza for the boys’ lunch. My BFF and I decided to forgo that nonsense and opted for the no-line pretzels and soda at the carts along the way. Just a heads up, four pretzels and two sodas to share came to $24, so bring some cash. Unfortunately, they don’t allow food in the park, only water or sports drinks. They do have lockers to lock up your valuables for $8, plus a $5 cash deposit. In addition, expect to pay $14 for parking. These are just helpful things to know before heading into the park. I think the kids meals were just shy of $10 each, though it looked like you could order a large pizza for $28 if you brave the line, so that might be the way to go.
So our day was winding down (per the Mommas, as the heat was on and the kids seemed to have gone on everything that they wanted). After a few more trips to the beloved Tidal Wave Bay (I’m telling you, they could have truly stayed just in this one spot all day long), and instead of waiting in the inexplicable line for Banzai Falls (though to be quite honest, I’m wondering more if it was just too high and steep and scary for them), they opted to take another turn down Malibu Run. Forty-five minutes later, we were getting a bit worried, until we realized that they snuck back into Tidal Wave Bay for one last dip, unbeknownst to us. Stinkers! Well, this will tell you just how much fun they had – they really didn’t want to leave.
Be sure to bring lots of sunscreen! That California sun can be a menace. We noticed some very appealing cabanas and found out that they are $105 for the day mid-week and $135 on the weekends and holidays, which we all thought would be well worth it if two or three families were going together. That breaks down nicely for shade and some separate space where you’re not worried about someone stealing your goods or losing your spot. Tables, chairs, inner tubes and shade are a great thing if you’re going to spend the whole day at Soak City with friends. Oh, and birthday parties, too! They offer a great deal of $299 for ten kids which includes tables and chairs in the birthday party zone for an hour and a half, a T-shirt for the birthday boy/girl, and lunch and cupcakes for all ten guests. No mess to clean up or prep work, how great is that?
Of course, Soak City offers a store that includes anything that you may have forgotten along the way: sunscreen, bathing suits, hats, and lots of other fun things, as well, so don’t forget to visit the Wipe Out Surf Shop for any need that you may have.
Also, for a limited time, Soak City is offering a BBQ deal every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day. For only $35.99 for adults and $30.99 for juniors (3 - 11) and seniors (62+), you can purchase a Soak City water park ticket and an all-you-can-eat BBQ featuring Mrs. Knott's Chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, and more. Season Pass holders: show your pass and its only $14.99 for an all-you-can-eat BBQ.
As an extra bonus, if you think you may want to visit Soak City more than once, you can purchase an annual pass for only $59.99 for adults and $49.99 for children (3 – 11) and seniors, compared to the daily rate of $31.99 for adults and $21.99 for children (3 – 11) and seniors, or print the tickets online for $26.99 and $21.99 (same for SoCal residents or after 3pm entrance). Better yet, if you think you might be attending Knott’s Berry Farm that same year, you may want to consider the Gold Pass for $94.99 for adults and $84.99 for children (3 – 11) and seniors, which gets you into Knott’s Berry Farm AND all three Soak City parks (Orange County, Palm Springs and San Diego) for the whole year. That really is the way to go! Don’t forget to add the parking pass for $50, which includes parking to Knott’s Berry Farm and all three water parks for the whole year, as well.
This was our first time at Knott’s Soak City, but it definitely won’t be the last. My girls were already asking when we would be returning as we were exiting the parking lot. A very fun day indeed!