Let me clear the air here...we WERE a Deep River Waterpark family. Key word here - WERE. Enough about Deep River for right now, let's talk Raging Waves.
We arrived around 10:30am on a Saturday. I think that it took us about a solid hour to travel, which isn't bad. There was ample parking and no line to get into the waterpark. I don't know how normal this is, but I'm just noting it.
We met with the Director of Marketing, the General Manage as well as with the owner, Randy, to talk about Raging Waves and what they offer and what they do.
The one thing that really struck me was how Raging Waves was a 20 year dream in the making for Randy. That it is, in fact, his "Disney World". That safety, cleanliness and friendliness are priority. I noted that, and nodded my head, but it wasn't until after I was in the park for oh...15 minutes...that all of that came out in actions, not just words.
How many times have you been asked by a lifeguard at the end of a water ride if you had fun or if the ride was enjoyable? No, really...think about it...how many times?
I was asked at the end of every water ride I went on - EVERY! There was absolutely no indication that I was a blogger, that the potential for this review was going to occur, nothing to tip off the lifeguards (or any of the other employees) that I was live tweeting or facebooking about my experiences while there (#welcometosummer).
That's just how they are trained. Actually, more specifically, those are the type of people Raging Waves hires. I think that says a lot about a company and who they are allowing to interact with their customers.
So, that is friendliness...lets move on to cleanliness. When we went to Disney about 7 years back we opened and closed that park. We were going to get our monies worth! As we were walking out there were employees vacuuming the streets. If you have ever been there, you know what I'm talking about. No litter, people always cleaning, obsessive and detailed. Same thing here. See that photo above, with the bucket of water and scrub brush. Do you know what that young lady is cleaning up? I don't know exactly either but she was one of a handful of employees there that day with buckets and scrub brushes cleaning, everywhere. Everything at this place was immaculate. Sitting areas, bathrooms, sidewalks and walk-ways, the rides, eating areas...everywhere. Nothing was in bushes or in the landscaping or even the parking lot.
Safety is next and this entails a photo of its own:
- Raging Waves has clear tubes for use in their lazy river so that the lifeguards can see everything.
- Water ride tubes are solid.
- They require 28 hours of initial training for lifeguards and 4 hours each month for continued training. We were told that a handful of lifeguards were let go that day because they didn't meet their monthly requirements for the month of June.
- Life vests are available for use. They are throughout the park, and come in different sizes.
- Lifeguards on the lazy river scan every 10 seconds (it looks like something similar to a High School Poms routine) and then have 20 seconds to react to a situation. They also do a proactive body scan of their designated area before they switch with another lifeguard at their location.
- The water PH is kept at 7.4, which is the same acidity of the human eye so that your eyes don't sting when you open them under water.
- Each water attraction has it's own water filtration system so ensure that if an issue arises at one slide it would not shut down the whole park.
- The go above and beyond the required readings for PH levels each day, averaging between 11 & 12 during their operation hours each day.
- And, Chris' question of "how many gallons of water are used each day" was kind of answered - it takes 1.3 million gallons of water to charge the park each day.
I really liked how many of the water rides are family focused, allowing you to ride with multiple people in one tube or raft.
In addition to the water rides, Raging Waves offers a HUGE sandbox and beach area near the wave pool (which, by the way, has tons of seating available in the shade), as well as a pedal tractor course and a zip line (available by appointment only, though).
Lets talk food. I like food, I don't like junk food though. Raging Waves has healthy options and options for those with dietary restrictions. They had hummus people, HUMMUS! Fruit salads and wraps where available, too. And, I was really happy to see that they serves Hebrew National hot dogs. They have the standard food options too, burgers, pizza, chicken sandwiches...the fries - AMAZING! Beware though, their drinks do not come with lids or straws (think pool filter problems), just so you know. Also, if you have like mega food issues/allergies, just call ahead and speak with them. They will allow, with advance notice, outside food to be brought in.
If you are planning on going with a larger group, want some privacy or want to guarantee seating (though really, not an issue) - they do offer cabana rentals as well.
And, they have entertainment at the 5th/3rd stage as well.
Speaking of entertainment, this season they are featuring the High-Diving Adventures of Sinbad with an 80 foot dive to capture the Golden Pineapple. AND - during the 3rd and final show of the day, he lights himself on fire! FIRE!!
Raging Waves is located in Yorkville, IL on IL-47 just south of I-88. There is ample free parking available, though if you want to be really close to the gate entrance you can pay $7 for that. Their season runs Memorial Day through Labor Day. You can purchase tickets on-line or at the park.
They offer full day admission as well as discounted after 3pm admission. You can find out more about ticket pricing here.
Use Promo Code 14RW157 to save up to $25 when purchasing online (limit 5, $5 off each ticket purchased, cannot be combined with any other promos or discounts).
If you are a Costco member, there is an awesome deal going on where you can purchase 2 admission tickets and 2 tube rentals for $39.99.
There are currently 4 days remaining on a Living Social deal for Raging Waves. You can get weekday admission for $15.00.
Also, 5th/3rd Bank has vouchers available for $5.30 off admission. You can obtain the vouchers at your local 5th/3rd Bank.
Raging Waves also offers their Plunge Into Fitness program to local schools, homeschoolers, and youth groups. As a homeschooling family we participated in their Plunge Into Fitness program this past school year. Chris received a free admission voucher for completing 25 hours of physical fitness from February 17th -April 11th, outside of his regular PE requirements. As his teacher, I also received a voucher. Now I just need to hop on that Living Social deal to get tickets for Dave and Cody so that we can return soon! But, any school, homeschooler or youth organization can participate in this program. They will have information for the 2014/2015 Plunge Into Fitness program up and available by the beginning of February 2015.
But, let me get back to what I mentioned earlier about Deep River. We are a scouting family and Deep River has done some wonderful events for the Scouts and we have been loyal customers, returning each summer for over the past 5 years. And to be really honest, I don't want to dis Deep River because of that.
It's the same distance, driving wise, as Raging Waves.
They both offer discounted admissions on the back half of their operation days.
And well, that's where the similarities end to be quite honest.
They are not just words. It is through the actions of all the employees from the owner, Randy, to all the Directors, all the way down the line.
It is through actions that we see sincerity and truth, not words.
We loved Raging Waves! We can not wait to go back and are really hopeful to be able to do so before their season ends. With two very active boys and schedules to go with them it's going to be hard to fit it in, but we are going to try. Hopefully we will see you there, too.
You can find out more about Raging Waves here:Website - http://www.ragingwaves.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ragingwaves
Twitter - https://twitter.com/RagingWaves
Thank you Raging Waves for this opportunity!
*the opinions are mine alone and I was compensated for this post with admission and meal tickets for my family and I to attend the Blogger Day at Raging Waves*.