Though guests to Island Waterpark might meet humans on their way to the water, they might also encounter Pelican Pete?a giant blue pelican in a floral-print shirt and bermuda shorts. He and an athletic lifeguard staff oversee guests as they wander among fountains and roaring water in attractions designed for everyone from toddlers to adults. Bright-blue tube slides spiral down into splash pools, a giant bucket tips gallons of water onto passersby, and a three-story open slide sends riders on a straight shot into a landing zone that pads their descent with a foot of water and a coral reef packaged in bubble wrap. Aquatic revelers can also float down an endless lazy river and children can frolic under arching fountains and waterfalls in the kids key largo lagoon.
Since 1955, the Rotary Storyland and Playland have sparked young imaginations and earned a place in the hearts of multiple generations. At Playland, classic amusement-park rides, such as a ferris wheel, tilt-o-whirl, and a historic carousel, induce merriment and occasional regret over eating multiple corn dogs immediately before boarding. In the center of Playland lies Splash Junction, a free place for patrons to cool off on hot days under jets of water. Across the lake, Storyland takes a different approach to fun, populating its grounds with themed playground equipment inspired by classic tales, such as the legend of King Arthur and the lesser-known story of Jack and Jill starting a bottled-water business.
Although it originally opened in 1974 as a picnic, camping, and fishing site, the area currently known as Wild Water Adventure Park has changed dramatically over the decades. The three fishing lakes are still there?stocked with everything from bass and catfish to bluegill and sushi rolls?but its 52 verdant acres now hold 38 water slides and 20 different attractions, creating an expansive all-ages retreat at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
More than one million gallons of crystalline water power the massive wave pool's four-foot waves. On the slide side, tube-riders can brave the pitch-black twists of the Vortex and the Sidewinder's three-story plunge. Even younger children can savor appropriately scaled thrills in the play area's splash pool plus 15,000 square feet of toddler-friendly activities. This range of aquatic amenities has made Wild Water Adventure Park a perennial staple on The Fresno Bee's People's Choice Awards, routinely winning the title of Best Water Park.
Not every activity at Wild Water Adventure Park requires a bathing suit, however. Sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and a softball diamond all provide ample space for outdoor fun. Numerous barbecue stations dot the grass, allowing families to cook up a hearty lunch.