Our tween and teen are always clamoring for theme park experiences with friends. Rather than carnival rides, I was hoping for a more active experience that would not only allow for a bit of independence, but also a good deal of exercise and warm weather fun outdoors. I ticked all the boxes off on a recent trip to Aquatica San Diego - open now for its last season ever - through Labor Day weekend. And bonus! Aquatica delivers all day fun at a fraction of the cost of a traditional SoCal theme park ticket.
I loaded up the minivan with my 14-year-old son, 13-year-old daughter and their friends to spend a full day at this whimsical water park where the kids literally ran amuck between the
extreme water slides like the Whanau Way where they whooshed down one of six 60-foot paths to a splash-filled destination and WooHoo Falls where thrill seekers choose from three different slides, including one in the dark. For my part, I braved Walhalla Wave with the girls aboard a family-sized raft to splash down a 78-foot ride before spending the subsequent 30 minutes floating serenely along the 1,250-foot lazy river.
A favorite for my son and his friends was the Taumata Racer - a high-speed water slide where they must have raced each other no less than 10 times that day, while the girls loved Tassie’s Twister - a four-person cloverleaf ride. There’s even an entire area perfect for the littles - Walkabout Waters is loads of hands-on fun with slides, hoses, jets, geysers and more, while Slippity Dippity offers the younger set a children’s slide and waterfall.
Guests can treat themselves to a private cabana rental or rent a shaded “wave lounger” in a semi-private area to serve as “home base” while the kids explore all the rides and slides in the waterpark.
Once the waterpark closes after Labor Day, construction will begin its transformation into Sesame Place, a family-friendly waterpark featuring the beloved characters from Sesame Street. Until the summer season ends, California residents enjoy tickets starting at $35.99 with required reservations made online.
Aquatica San Diego
2052 Entertainment Circle