You know what it is like when those first rays of summer touch your skin and you can feel the warmth spread across your body. It is in that moment that those sun rays remind you of the sandy beaches and the water rushing between your toes as the current slowly pulls you, dragging you out to sea. For those first few moments all is peaceful as you can hear the crashing of the waves and the gentle sea breeze rippling across your skin. You look back to the shore and sea the fire pits and think about the crackling bonfire you will hold in the evening with the toasted marshmallows and roasted hot dogs. (It is national hot dog month after all.) You are enjoying everything so much that you want the world to stop right there, just as it is. But ignore all that now because now is the time to go out to Knott’s Soak City before the summer ends.
Knott’s Soak City History
Back in the summer of 1999, as the world was supposed to be coming to an end (look up anything Y2K for the post millennial generation), the Cedar Fair entertainment company opened up the first of three water parks. The one right across from the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park was aptly named Knott’s Soak City. It was to compete with all of those other water themed parks in Southern California. (Raging Waters and Six Flags Hurricane Harbor among them.) Seeing the Success of Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags and knowing Disney was doing water parks like Typhoon Lagoon in Florida, Cedar Fair entertainment wanted to get in on the action.
Unfortunately, like many places who are trying to compete for dollars, they did not put the kind of investment into the park. And combine that with trying to have rapid growth by adding parks in both San Diego and Palm Springs, the individual parks were not as well regarded. I remember when I told my brother that we were going to get the Gold Passes at Knott’s Berry Farm (Including both the water park and the amusement park), he said that he thought that it was a waste of money. I know it was only two dollars extra for those tickets so it didn’t bother me. And if we didn’t like it, that wasn’t going to be a problem.
Knott’s Soak City Improvements
Thankfully, Knott’s has done quite a bit since it’s opening to Spruce up the park and make it more palatable for the people wanting to go. Maybe they don’t have the crazier water rides that a Six Flags or a Raging Water have. But that was never their demographic. Knott’s Soak City was aimed at having a family experience that all could enjoy in a water park, not merely relegating the children to the “kiddie pool”. Not merely taking my brother’s warning, I knew I was going to try this out with my daughter. The down side was that my daughter was not a very good swimmer just yet.
My First Experience
So three summers ago, when I added the Soak City theme park to the pass, I knew I would have to work up to convince my daughter to go there. She could barely swim, if at all, and splitting from her mother made her cling a little harder to us, which only made sense. But I always wanted my daughter to be able to try new things. So I was bound and determined to at least have her go once. It took until August before she was willing to go in there and try it out. But when I finally did convince her to go in, she absolutely loved it. I think we only had a couple weeks left of summer when we went, and she still insisted on going four more times in the next couple of weeks after our first time. She couldn’t get enough.
As a parent, it was nice to have her be able to have so many different places to play and to not worry whether or not she would drown. In fact they have a ton of very friendly life guards on duty posted all over the place throughout the park. She is probably safer than then the local swimming establishment, and definitely safer there than at the beach. And they provided her with life jackets so that she could enjoy things like the wave pool and the lazy river with less hesitation.
Thankfully, my daughter wasn’t really ready to go on the crazier faster slides that existed at the time. Malibu Run and Old Man falls were definitely not on our radar. Although she was willing to try Banzai Falls which I admit shocked me to no end. And what’s even nicer, she absolutely loved it. And while we eyed the faster slides, we saved those until my daughter could feel a little more confident in her ability to swim.
2017 Knott’s Soak City Update
So when 2017 came around, and with a little more swimming confidence, we were really excited to hear that they were adding a whole new list of slides to Knott’s Soak City repertoire. They were adding a whole new seven slides to the growing water slide park. From the wedge, which included a group of six guests to go down a twisting and turning water slide in a large raft to two dueling tube slides, to the four capsule slides, in 2017 Cedar Fair Entertainment invested in the future of its water park. And for this my daughter and I are very grateful.
Individually, I love the beach. But the Beach never encouraged my daughter to do anything, other than to play in the sand and the need to get extreme baths and showers after going. As a parent in general, and a single dad in particular, what I love about Soak City (Beyond the fun, the family atmosphere, the safety considerations, and the ability to get food with the Knott’s food pass.) was the fact that it has encouraged my daughter to love water and want to learn how to swim. It engaged her in such a fun way that it has encouraged the growth of my daughter as a person. And for that, I have to admit, I am eternally grateful.
Things To Remember
If you have never been to Soak City, or you haven’t been in quite some time, and live in the Southern California area, definitely come by and check it out. Enjoy all of the previous things that I listed. And if you want to pamper yourself a little more, be sure to check out renting a cabana and having your own personal inner tube for the day. It’s a nice breather, and you can get out of the sun’s rays a little bit more. Also, you will need to have at least an extra 20 dollars when you go for a locker, unless someone does not plan on ever getting wet the whole day. If you do, then protecting your stuff in a locker is essential. Even if you just bring your keys and wallet with you to the park.
One last little tidbit of information that you should know. Bring sunscreen. Lots and lots of sunscreen. Apply liberally. Apply often. While I will say gladly that the weather outside the Soak City theme park is a vast improvement over the hot rays beating down at you in Santa Clarita for Hurricane Harbor or the oppressive summer sun attacking you in San Dimas at Raging Waters, sunscreen at Soak City is still a must. My daughter and I have a system where we try to get out every hour and apply more sunscreen on. And even that might not protect you. We have been burned despite our vigilance with the sunscreen. Applying it once at the beginning of the day, or even just a couple times will leave you red. Very very red.
Take A Look At My Family Adventure To Soak City With My Daughter:
The Beach House Dunk. Every five minutes the Beach House dumps water on you. We love it.
Places to get drinks and snacks while there.
Continue The Conversation
What is your favorite water park? What do you enjoy most about it? And what is your least favorite thing? Do you like the faster slides, or are you one who enjoys the lazy river? If you have been to Knott’s Soak City, what did you like most? And where are your favorite hangouts to cool off over the summer? I would love to hear from you. I always love finding new adventures and places to go to?
If you enjoyed this post, please follow me here at the Guide. People who subscribe via email will get the password sent to them for the Dad Rules section of the blog. These are ten rules that every dad should know about and follow. Not following could mean tragedy. Plain and simple! Or you like masochism and then I guess you don’t need them. Thanks for stopping by once again.
Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life