For nearly forty years, children of all ages have enjoyed riding the rapids, and having some fun at the Rapids Water Park. The facility, which is South Florida’s largest water park, has attractions that range from their quarter mile lazy river to the Big Surf Wave Pool to the heart stopping action of Black Thunder, and everything in between.
Located at 6566 N Military Trail in Riviera Beach, Florida, the Rapids offers up 35 thrilling waterslides and 30 action-packed attractions from mild to wild. The central attraction of the park are the original four waterslides, now affectionately known as Old Yellar, which have been there since Memorial Day Weekend in 1979.
Palm Beach County residents who made the obligatory visit to the water park during elementary school summer camp visits in the 1980s would hardly recognize the place. In the past few years, the park has grown from a mere five acres to more than 30, with the new “splash island” section being larger than the original facility alone. Though my wife is, in her own words, a certified coaster chicken, even she found herself enjoying the place!
Splash Island is a personal favorite of mine, with several slides that, although rated on the mild side, offer high speed thrills that can’t be beat. It is also the home of the FlowRider. This continuous, simulated wave system, moves 30,000 gallons of water per minute keeping the waves in one location allowing riders to take turns in the curl riding waves over a fixed surface at 35 mph.
For the past several years, the facility has been expanding to meet and exceed the needs of their visitors. One of their biggest investments in 2011 was the Rapids Racer, where riders competitively race headfirst down six lanes towards the finish line. Their continuing commitment to innovation led to the water park receiving the Al Turner Memorial Commitment to Excellence Award at the World Waterpark Association’s 29th Annual Symposium & Trade Show in Orlando, Florida. This award was given for leadership and excellence over the years and by their consistent example of business and operational excellence – and in part because of the Rapids’ 30 year longevity in an attraction-heavy market and its continued commitment to growth and expansion.
“Our commitment to providing our guests with world-class fun and thrills has never wavered and will continue to grow as we offer new rides in the future,” stated park spokesman Tom Lumbra, Jr.
For 2015, the park has expanded once again, adding the High Tide Tiki Bar as well as the Pelican Bar and Grille. Both of these adult centered attractions offer food, beer, and frozen adult beverages, as well as mixed drinks. In this writer’s experience, the Pelican Bar and Grille is probably one of the best theme park restaurants in the state, with attentive bartenders and a great atmosphere to spend some time watching all the crazy action that is the Rapids!
They also expanded their selection of private cabanas, which offer drop down curtains, a ceiling fan, flat screen television, loveseat with 2 chairs and a table, a security locker, 6 bottles of water, and a personal food and beverage service, complete with preferred menu.
Their newest family friendly attraction is a new interactive water play area named Bare Footin’ Bay. Though built for toddlers, children of all ages are sure to enjoy the big splash that comes from the gigantic pineapple shaped tipping bucket!
One of my favorite rides is the Riptide Raftin’, which gets a 10+ in my book. Named the number one family raft ride in the world by the World Waterpark Association, this high speed attraction sends up to 4 people rocketing through a mammoth 10-ft wide flume of 500 feet of twists, turns and banks of raging white water and three water walls before an incredible splash down. Definitely a must do!
This summer is a great time to visit the park. There are currently savings of $5 off admission with a coupon from area Subway locations in Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade counties. You can also save $5 with a specially marked Pepsi can.
So, if you’re interested in enjoying a great day lounging in the lazy river, screaming down dozens of waterslides, and generally having a fabulous time, be sure to visit the Rapids Water Park. As their trademark theme song goes, “ride the rapids, have some fun! Ride the Rapids, everyone!”
For more details, check it out their newly revamped website at www.rapidswaterpark.com.