Our family visited Waterworld California in Concord, California on July 15, 2017. Here’s what families need to know before visiting Waterworld California.
Location and Hours
Waterworld California is located in Concord on the east side of San Francisco Bay. It is 20 miles from Berkeley and Oakland, 30 miles from San Francisco, 54 miles from San Jose, and 63 miles from Cupertino. During summer, the park is open from 10:30am-6:00pm. In my view, the park should be open by 10am and stay open until at least 7 or 8pm, given the extended daylight hours in the summer.
For directions and park hours outside of summer, click here.
A Seasons Pass to Waterworld California is $69.99. In addition to a regular seasons pass, Waterworld California is offering a ‘Ride and Slide Combo Pass’ which gives pass holders unlimited entry into Waterworld California and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
A regular priced ticket is $39.99 for those who are 48″ and above and $29.99 for seniors and those below 48″. Toddlers under 3 are free. Unlike Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, you can only save online if you purchase your tickets either 3 days ($34.99) or 7 days (30.99) in advance.
I still recommend buying online, as it’s one less line you’ll have to stand in on the day of your visit. Instead, you can go straight to the security line, prior to the entrance. For more information about tickets, click here.
Parking opens 90 minutes in advance of the water park’s opening. The parking lot is very close to the entrance of Waterworld California, which we appreciated. While you can buy an all-season parking pass online for $50, you cannot buy an individual parking ticket online, in advance. Daily parking is $15. You can pay with cash or major credit cards.
There are only one set of bathrooms in the park. They are near the park entrance. Be prepared for long lines after 5pm, when people are starting to change out of their bathing suits. There are two locker locations: The largest one is just before the Honolulu Half Pipe and the other is across from the Breaker Beach Wave Pool. We paid $11 to rent a locker for the day. There is also a first aid station by the Big Kahuna.
The tube rental station is to the left after the entrance. Tubes are available to rent for use in the lazy river or wave pool.The tube slides have their own tubes and do not use the rental tubes. It’s $7 for a single tube and $12 for a double tube, plus a $3 deposit per tube. You will receive wrist bands (that you don’t have to put on) and when you return the tube with the wrist band, you get your deposit back. We paid for 4 tubes, but 2 disappeared along the way. Since we still had the 4 wrist bands, we got the deposit back for all 4 tubes.
There are also lounge chairs located throughout the park. Even though we arrived just after park opening, all the lounge chairs were taken. Some people brought pop-up tents, but for the most part, there is nowhere to put them. You can also pay to rent a cabana which includes lounge chairs, tubes, lockers, and food/beverage service.
Life vests are provided free of charge and are located near the wave pool and Lil Kahuna. You can also bring your own life vest as long as it is Coast Guard approved. Water wings, pool noodles and other flotation devices are not permitted.
Like Six Flags, outside food is not permitted. There is one food court (The Windjammer) and one Bar & Lounge (Wipeout). You’ll find both to the right after the entrance. We did not go to the food court as the lines were long, and it was further away from where we were in the park. Instead, we went to the Dippin’ Dots, Rita’s Italian Ice, and the Surfside Grill (which is anything but a grill). We did not have to wait long at Dippin’ Dots and Surfside Grill. They were out of some of the menu items (including ice!), even though it was still early in the day. Rita’s Italian Ice had a longer wait, but everything we wanted to order was available.
The Tahiti Trader Gift Shop has everything you need from sunscreen, bathing suits, towels, water shoes, and a waterproof case for your smart phone. It also has the standard t-shirts, stuffed animals, jewelry, and snacks. Be prepared for the mark-up though. Two people in front of us got sticker shock from it. For example, it was $30 for flip-flops and over $5 for an ice cream sandwich.
The other store is Sandy’s Candies, which we didn’t go into.
Waterworld California attractions include:
- a wave pool,
- a lazy river,
- two kids areas,
- a couple of slides for kids who are too big for the baby slides but not yet ready for the ‘Thrill’ slides (Dragon Tails), and
- eight waterslide areas, some with multiple waterslides.
The day we went, wait times for the waterslides were more than 40 minutes. If your main purpose is to go on the waterslides, expect to get on 6-7 slides at the most.
The day we went, Diablo Falls was closed and the Big Kahuna often had trouble getting the tubes up. Some of the squirters in the kids water areas also didn’t work.
Tip: There is usually a cubby area near most attractions to put your flip flops in. My husband had his flip flops taken, but he found them later in another part of the park.
In the wave pool and lazy river, I found it disconcerting to have some people on tubes and others not. Those in tubes would hit those who weren’t in tubes, and could even knock people over, particularly in the wave pool. My view is that either everyone should be in a tube or there should be separate areas for those in a tube.
Since we visited on a Saturday in the summer, when the temperature was over 90 degrees fahrenheit, the park was packed. Our younger daughter (7) ended up going on only 2 waterslides because she didn’t want to endure the long lines. My husband ended up scrapping a good layer of skin off his back on the Typhoon, putting an end to his day.
Our eldest daughter (9) got bored because she’s not into waterslides and could only take so much of the lazy river and wave pool. The water parks I went to growing up also had go-karts and mini-golf. It would be nice if Waterworld California could expand its offerings, but I get that it is a water-based park.
Tip: If you do go in summer, I highly recommend wearing water shoes, as our feet were getting burned on the stairs waiting for our turn on the waterslide.
Overall, I would say it was an okay family day out. The biggest hit by far, with my girls, was the wave pool. I recommend Waterworld California only if all family members like waterslides and don’t mind waiting for the slides.