If you’re a lifelong resident of the Palm Beaches, you’ll remember when a visit to the Rapids Water Park (6566 N Military Trail in Riviera Beach) involved nearly endless trips up the main hill to one of four waterslides, sliding down, then grabbing your mat and climbing back up once again. Now, the attraction features more than 35 thrilling waterslides and 30 action-packed attractions from mild to wild.
This past weekend, Palm Beach Happening was invited to experience Brain Drain. No, this isn’t the feeling you’ll get after climbing up more than 70 feet to the top of their main tower, but it is the name of the two new floor drop slides that just opened at the park. Nicknamed “Purple Rain” and “Don Shula,” these fully enclosed tubes aren’t like any others in the park. They start with you entering a compartment where you stand with your arms crossed in front of you and your legs crossed at the ankles. Then, the clear door closes you in, and after what seems like an eternity, but is only really about 5 seconds, the floor underneath you disappears, and you plummet down nearly 250 of slide to the ground in almost total darkness! Talk about a brain drain!
For those of you who aren’t that much of a daredevil, you might enjoy Splash Island. A personal favorite, this newer section of the park features 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. On Saturday, the FlowRider was closed to park guests because of a national event, where professional surfers took to the never ending curl to try and impress the judges and assembled fans, all for a grand prize of $3,000!
If you’re in the Olympic Spirit, you might was to try out the Rapids Racer, where riders competitively race headfirst down six lanes towards the finish line. It features a toboggan like mat, loops, and more, and must be seen to be believed!
Of course, the best way to take in the park is via the lazy river. This moving waterway, where you leisurely tube around most of the park, gives you a glimpse of nearly every attraction, and takes some strain off your feet, especially on a warm day.
If you’re thirsty for an adult beverage, the park recently opened 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.
For anyone who’s heard their new theme song, you’ll probably be familiar with their 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! It may not be as gigantic as some similar attractions found at water playgrounds all over Central Florida, but it’s still fun.
Of course, who doesn’t enjoy a dip in the wave pool? Whether you just stand at the edge enjoying the waves as they lap at your feet, or swim out into the deeper water and bounce through the waves, there’s something for everyone.
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!”