Family Fun For All: Raging Waves Water Park - Yorkville IL

Because I started a new job just a couple months ago, I've been unable to take off work for a vacation this year. Bummer! We've been trying to do fun things as a family on weekends when we can, but we've really been missing the beach and being able to cool off and play in the ocean.

This past Saturday, we got the cure for our summertime blues, when we headed out to Raging Waves waterpark. We have been wanting to get to Raging Waves for several weeks now, but our trip was delayed when my hubby suffered a fall from the ladder while painting some trim on our home. Fortunately nothing was broken - he was just badly battered and bruised and had to heal before he could return to his full range of physical activities.

Raging Waves is on Route 47, about 50 miles outside of Chicago, in suburban Yorkville IL. tt opened in 2008 and is now Illinois' largest outdoor water park! The park is open from the end of May to the beginning of September (Sept. 6, 2010 is the last day this year). I was impressed to find out that it is a "Green" park - they recycle all the trans-fat-free cooking oil used in their cafes into an alternative fuel! They use solar heat to warm the waters, and use recycled water for irrigation to their beautiful landscaping and provide recycling containers throughout the park.

The park has 18 water slides in all, a lazy river, a wave pool, sandy "beach" area, private cabanas, a kiddie pool/splash area, kiddie water slides, 2 eateries, a gift shop, and really, something for every member of the family, from toddlers to seniors. They get about 3000 visitors a day. They offer free parking (or $5 Preferred parking), lockers to store your gear, free use of life jackets and plenty of lounge chairs for relaxing.

I took a waterproof film camera with us, not wanting to damage or lose my good digital camera, so my photos are still away at the film processor. Bummer! However, here are some pictures from Raging Waves' collection:

Kangaroo Falls - for younger guests

Our Experience

We wanted to arrive when the park opened. It took us about an hour to drive to the park. It was a pleasant drive, a straight shot down Route 47 to Yorkville. We arrived shortly after the park opened at 10:00 a.m. There were quite a few people already there, but parking was plentiful. We opted for the $5 Preferred parking and were able to park close to the entrance. The lines moved quickly and we entered the park without delay. We easily found our way to the main bathroom to change. We found the bathrooms to be fairly clean and were impressed that there were 2 family bathrooms which is great when you have a little one, like we do. (Our son is 2 years old). We rented a locker for our gear, for $6 for the day (with a $5 refundable key deposit which we thought was fair enough), and headed to the lazy river.

One thing I noticed right away at Raging Waves is how CLEAN the park is. This is important to me - if you've read my blog before, you know I'm a germaphobe. I felt completely at ease at Raging Waves - the grounds, the sparkling pools, the slides, food areas, chairs, bathrooms - everything was very clean. The other thing I noticed was even as more and more people arrived - the grounds seem very open and spacious. We never felt cramped, had no problem finding chairs and had no issues leaving our shoes, towels, etc. while we played and swam.

My hubby tried out almost all the big slides--you have to be 48" or taller to go on the larger slides, and our son is only 2 and can't go on everything just yet. He said the lines and wait times weren't too bad really. We waited and watched him on the Three Sisters and he maybe waited 10 minutes.

Isaac and I enjoyed the "Koukaburra Kreek" lazy river immensely. We met up with my hubby at the Kangaroo Falls and Koala Kove kiddie spray/splash pool and had such a blast. Isaac loved the mini water slides, exploring all the spraying areas of Kangaroo Falls. We all got a kick out of the giant bucket that dumps a ton of water over the whole structure! I never had so much fun getting completely soaked in my life!

Hubby's faves were the Three Sisters slide, and the Cyclone!  He didn't get to go on the Boomerang because you need at least 2 people over 48" high and it was just the two of us and our 2 year old - I couldn't leave Isaac. I encouraged him to ask another patron to go with him, but he said he'll wait for our  next trip when we can take our friends! He was having so much fun anyway, on everything else, that it wasn't a big deal.

We loved the Great Barrier Reef wave pool. It was the next best thing to the beach for me. Isaac loved jumping the waves and playing so much, he never wanted to get out! The park rents inner tubes for use in the wave pool, but we didn't bother. We had just as much fun jumping the waves, splashing and playing in the shallow area with Isaac. They provide tube floats for the lazy river and other rides that require floats, so we didn't feel the need to rent any.

We enjoyed lunch at the Hungry Croc cafe. Hubby had a hamburger, I had a chicken sandwich both with fries and a soft drink, and Isaac had the kids popcorn chicken and apples and milk. Lunch for the 3 of us was about $21 which we found pretty reasonable. The food was fresh, hot, served quickly and hit the spot after all the splashing and fun we'd been having. We did wish that there was a refill option on the $2.75 soft drinks.

We stayed at the park from 10 a.m. until about 3 p.m. - about 5 hours. Our tickets were complimentary, and it was free for Isaac anyway because he is only 2. Ticket prices for a full day are: Adults $26.99, Kids less than 48" tall and Seniors over 62 are $18.99, and 2 yrs old and younger are free. They have reduced prices for late day admission (3pm-close) at Adult $18.99 and Kids 48" and under/Senior $13.99. There are Summer family fun packages, Season passes available, and discounts to be had if you subscribe to subscribe to The Wave - their email newsletter .  I think the admission cost is a bit pricey, but considering the park is close to home, we didn't have to do an overnight stay, plus they offer free parking. You can bring your own small cooler with factory sealed bottled water only, but no outside food. We found the food prices to be reasonable though and worth the convenience of just eating in the park.

We had a fabulous fun time, as did our little guy. We definitely recommend Raging Waves to anyone who lives in the Chicagoland area or who wishes to visit Illinois. You can find out more about Raging Waves by visiting their Plan Your Visit page and their park map for details on every ride. It is well worth it to visit Raging Waves. I think your family will really enjoy their day!

When I get my own photos back from the processor---I will add more pictures!

Our tickets were complimentary, in exchange for our honest opinion and review of our experience. We wish to thank Raging Waves for the opportunity to visit their park and share this review with you. We received no compensation or other gratuity. Please see my disclosure policy for further info.


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