WaterWorld Safari in North Phoenix, AZ Undergoing Major Renovations

Apr 30, 2009

Like many North Phoenix residents, I was stunned when I saw that WaterWorld Safari water park appeared to be closing its doors for good. In the Fall of 2008, the following message appeared on the website for Waterworld Safari:
Golfland Entertainment Centers has permanently ended its operation of WaterWorld Safari. We have enjoyed serving you for the past 16 years and invite you to visit us in 2009 at Big Surf in Tempe and Sunsplash in Mesa. Additionally, Golfland in Mesa is open year-round for family fun. Thank you for your patronage.
Renovations Underway at WaterWorld Safari in North PhoenixThis potentially dire situation warranted an investigation on my part. How could one of North Phoenix's most popular attractions be closing? To put things in perspective, I should mention that WaterWorld Safari was the water park I had always gone to as a child. Going there with the family was a summer ritual to be greatly anticipated and remembered.

During the scorching summer months when temperatures would hit 110*F or higher, WaterWorld Safari was definitely the place to be. With over a dozen slides and attractions spread over 36 acres, it was truly an oasis in the desert. From the Serengeti Surf wave pool to the lazy river, the Kilimanjaro Speed Slides, and the enclosed "Black Hole" slide, WaterWorld offered something for everyone.

Former Kilimanjaro Speed Slides being removedRecently, I drove by WaterWorld to check out the status of the park. My heart sank as I noticed the six-story tall Kilimanjaro slides were in the process of being dismantled. For a moment, I feared that the park really was being demolished and that North Phoenix would be deprived of one of its signature landmarks. I feared it would be the end of our only water park and of a part of my childhood.

But as I looked closer, a few other things caught my eye. A new six-colored slide stood at the southeast end of the park. In front of it, a gigantic blue and orange funnel ride that I did not remember being there before. Once I circled around the front of the park, the pieces of the puzzle began to come together.

A sign near the entrance read "WaterWorld Improvements by Harvest Family Entertainment, LLC." Later on, I looked the company up online and learned that Harvest Family Entertainment had purchased WaterWorld Safari for $25 million dollars. Harvest Family itself is owned by parent company Village Roadshow Ltd., an Australian-based film and theme park company.

New Attractions Being Installed for Wet-N-Wild PhoenixSuddenly it all made sense! WaterWorld is being upgraded with all-new slides and attractions by its new owners! I also discovered that WaterWorld Safari will be reopening as "Wet-N-Wild Phoenix." In fact, the recently-launched website already has an updated map and detailed information about each of the new attractions.

The wave pool will remain a central feature of the park with a new lazy river and several new family-oriented raft rides will surround it. One of the most exciting-sounding rides is Mammoth Falls, which simulates a whitewater rapids ride and then launches guests 57 feet up a vertical ramp. After a moment of weightlessness, the rafts will slide back down to safety.

Mammoth Rapids under construction at Wet-N-Wild Phoenix, ArizonaWhile I initially feared the worst, I am relieved to learn that WaterWorld will not be reduced to a pile of rubble. It will be reopening with a new name and a new look later this year.

The opening date for the revamped Wet-N-Wild Phoenix (formerly WaterWorld Safari) is tentatively set for Summer 2009. I'll be checking it out, and hopefully you will be too!

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