Where Will You Celebrate National Water Park Day?
Happy National Water Park Day! National Water Park day was founded by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions on July 28, 2017, and is celebrated every July 28th. Travis Nelson, spokesperson for Kalahari Resorts and Conventions said, “Visiting a water park is a quintessential summer experience.” What would summer be without a trip to enjoy the thrills and spills at one of the many water parks near us in Clifton?
The History of Water Parks. The first water slide was displayed in New Zealand at their International Exhibition in 1906. Water slides then evolved into water parks, which were introduced to the United States in the late 1940's and early 1950's. Wave pools, rough water rides, and lazy rivers were added to the water slides, which became more and more exciting, adding all sorts of twists and turns to offer something for everyone. There are more than 1,000 water parks in the United States, with multiple new parks opening each year.
Day Trips: New Jersey has many wonderful water parks that are close to us in Clifton (around an hour's drive) listed below. The information is from each facility's website and is subject to change, so we suggest you check their site before heading out! Most of these facilities offer a series of memberships or pricing bundles, but we have focused on the basic daily admission ticket.
The American Dream Mall: DreamWorks Water Park: DreamWorks Water Park in Rutherford, NJ has a large selection of water slides, rides, tubes, and a massive indoor wave pool. It also features luxury cabanas and an 81°F tropical climate all year long. The largest indoor water park in North America is just a 15-minute drive from Clifton!
A Non-Peak All Access Pass starts at $79.00 and a Peak Pass varies from $89 to $99. Peak is generally weekends and Non-Peak is weekdays, but check the calendar to be sure. The water park also offers a Twilight Ticket on select days, which allows riders to use the park for the last two hours of park operations for $49-$59 (price varies by date). If you purchase tickets online, you can save $10 per ticket. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult, and children 2 and under are free. Check the website for hours, which are generally from 11 am to 7 pm on weekdays and 11 am to 8 pm on weekends.
East Hanover FunPlex: Splash Island at The Funplex in East Hanover, NJ is an outdoor water park that is part of the FunPlex entertainment center. It features a thrilling 26-foot interactive water play structure featuring slides, splash toys, spray cannons, and a massive 264-gallon tipping bucket. The complex also boasts a lazy river and infinity pool, which is 3.5’ deep, and reviews say that it is best for guests 13 and under.
Purchase a daily ticket to gain all-day entry into the park. All guests 36” or taller must have a ticket. Weekday (Monday to Friday) tickets are $42 online or $45 at the park. Weekend tickets are $47 online and $49 at the park. There is a Sunday Early Bird ticket that can be purchased online or at the park at any time before 12 noon for $39. Check the website for hours, which are generally between 10 am and 7 pm.
Land of Make Believe: Located in Hope, NJ the Land of Make Believe is a theme park and water park catering mostly to families with children under 13 years of age. Opened in 1954, it centers itself around “safe and wholesome recreation,” with entertaining rides and attractions for younger children, including the civil war train (which loops around most of the park), amusement park rides, the Pirate's Wading Pool (with a life-size Pirate Ship) and the Pirates Escape & Pirates Revenge dual racing slides, as well as a lazy river.
Tickets are $45 per person when bought at the park and $33.76 when purchased online. Seniors (62+) can buy tickets for $42 at the park or $30.95 online. Children under 36 months are free. The water park is open from 10 am to 5:30 pm, and the theme park is open from 10 am to 6 pm.
Tomahawk Lake: Tomahawk Lake Water Park is located in Sparta, NJ, around New Jersey's largest white sand beach featuring a crystal clear 20-acre lake for swimming and boating! Parents and older children can enjoy high-speed water slides and rides, while children under 4’ tall can play in “Papoose Land” with water slides, a fun trampoline raft, a rolling log, the Tom Sawyer Raft, and a showering canoe.
General admission to the park between July 1st and August 20th is $18 for children 8 and under and $20 for people over 9 years old, with an additional fee for unlimited rides ($15 on weekdays and $17 on weekends). There is also a separate fee to rent boats or play miniature golf. Weekday hours are from 10 am to 5:30 pm and holiday and weekend hours are from 9 am to 6:30 pm.
Mountain Creek Water Park: Mountain Creek Water Park is located in Vernon, NJ on the grounds of the Mountain Creek ski resort. The park features classic water slides like the H2-Oh-No, Zero G, the Vortex and the Vertigo, as well as rides like the Colorado River Rapids, Surf Hill, and the Legendary Canyon Cliffs, where guests can jump off a cliff in front of spectators. They also have a High Tide Wave Pool. A lazy river and rides for younger children ensure that there is something for everyone.
An all-day general admission ticket for all ages is $49.99 and supplies are limited. Tickets must be bought online, and are not sold on the property. Preferred parking is an additional $20 per car. Weekday hours are from 11 am to 6 pm and weekend hours are from 10 am to 6 pm.
Casino Pier -Breakwater Beach: Located in Seaside Heights, NJ and just steps from the beach, Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach is a theme park with an outdoor water park that is packed with games, rides, arcades, food stands, and water park attractions. There is a 5,860 foot wave pool, and water slides including Revere’s Wild Ride, the Patriot Plunge, and the Minuteman’s Wild Ride. A lazy river called the Revolutionary Wild River takes families on a gentle ride around the water park. Lighthouse Cove is the area set aside for the youngest guests.
All-day admission for Breakwater Beach is based on a height and age restriction, with $45 for guests over 48”, and $40 for guests under 48” in height. Children 2 and under are free and senior citizens' (65+) tickets are $30. You can buy a spectator ticket for $40, but adults accompanying a child 11 and under need to purchase a full pass to be with their child on the rides and in the water. The park also offers a $5 discount for “early bird” tickets purchased in the first hour the park is open (9:30 am to 10:30 am) and a “twilight” discount of $10 for tickets purchased after 3 pm (the park closes at 6 pm).
Runway Rapids Water Park: Runway Rapids is located in Keansburg, NJ by the beach. The park has over 18 slides with varying speeds, heights, and splash zones, a kiddie lagoon with separate toddler play area, a crazy lazy river, and two spa pools. It is one of the oldest water parks in New Jersey with a very interesting history.
General admission includes a $1 surcharge for credit card payments. The daily ticket is $38 for guests over 42” tall. Toddlers (up to 42” tall) are $19. Guests can add on a wristband for unlimited rides at the neighboring amusement park for $31. Spectator tickets are $15 for guests not looking to ride. There is currently a “weekday warrior” special (Monday to Thursday) for $39 which includes both the water park and unlimited rides at the amusement park. The opening hours are based on the weather and the number of guests. The water park generally opens at 10 am and closing times vary depending on park occupancy and weather conditions.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor: Located in Jackson, NJ, Hurricane Harbor features the Blue Lagoon, a 696,000-gallon wave pool, many exciting water slides, including the Bada Bing Bada Bang Bada Boom three-slide complex and Hurricane Mountain. The Taak It Eez EeLazy River is fun for all. The Discovery Bay area is set aside for the youngest guests.
Daily admission tickets can be purchased online for $35, which is a 50% discount from the $69.99 price at the gate. General parking is $40 per car and preferred parking is $55 per car. Monday to Thursday the park is open from 11 am to 6 pm. On Fridays, the park opens at 10:30 am and closes at 6 pm. On weekends, it opens at 10:30 am and closes at 7 pm.
Further Afield: There are many wonderful water parks further from Clifton (60-minute drive or more), including Kalahari Indoor Water Park, Camelback Resort (which features Aquatopia their indoor water park and Camelbeach their outdoor water park), Great Wolf Lodge (an indoor water park geared specifically for younger children), Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, and The BoardWalk at HersheyPark, all in Pennsylvania, which offer the opportunity for very special overnight stays.
If you have another favorite water park to add, please add it in the comments for other readers to see!
However you choose to celebrate National Water Park Day, we hope you and your family have a wonderful time getting wet and wild and keeping cool in the summer heat!