Waterparks are a welcome alternative to playing in sewers, squatting atop geysers, and visiting a playground after rolling around in Crisco. Safely dip, slip, and flip in the watery wonderland known as Big Surf Waterpark, which is located in Tempe. Choose from one of the following semi-soaked Groupons (both of which are good through Labor Day):
- $13 for a single-day pass (a $26 value)
- $34 for a season pass (a $69 value)
Big Surf Waterpark offers aquatic fun for land life of all ages with a diverse selection of rides, slides, and the enormous, 2.5-million-gallon wave pool known as Waikiki Beach, where guests can surf on faux waves that wash ashore every three minutes. Big Surf splashes a watery spree of entertainment across multiple acres, with rides such as the popular Hurricane Slides, a trio of steeply sloped slip tubes that deposit sliders in long blue troughs, or the Black Hole, a dark, enclosed slide that sucks guests into a sea of nothingness and spits them out into another dimension. Younger park goers can enjoy Captain Cook’s Landing, a shallow pool playplace for toddlers and their steadily walking grownup escorts that features an oversized frog and an herbivorous alligator for company.
To maintain the highest safety standards, Big Surf’s lifeguards are all licensed in First Aid, CPR, AED, and water-rescue procedures. Life jackets, which are required inside Waikiki Beach for those 48 inches or shorter, are provided free of charge. Though outside food and drink will be confiscated and fed to an onsite hungry hippo (factory-sealed bottled water is okay), guests can feed on Big Surf’s park fare, which includes Dreyer’s ice cream and melt-resistant ICEE's. Beat the summer sun’s attempt to turn your body into a giant raisin by escaping for a day or a season to a welcome oasis of skin-moisturizing water.
Rafts, boogie boards, and lockers can all be rented for an additional fee. See frequently asked questions here.
Big Surf Waterpark is an Arizona Republic Robin's Pick and has received an average of four owl eyes from seven TripAdvisors and four stars from nine Insider Pagers. Three Yelpers give it a 3.5-star average:
- … Big Surf Waterpark in Tempe has been a great place to cool off during the dog days of summer. – Robin Sewell, Arizona Republic
- It is a great place to meet your friends, or hang out with your family. – A TripAdvisor Member
- You can spend a whole day here! There is a TON of parking here and the lines are very quick moving. – Rebecca R., Insider Pages
Big Surf Waterpark
In 1966, Big Surf Waterpark founder Phil Dexter built his first model of a wave machine in his backyard, a place he affectionally named Tahiti Phil's. With some help, and several models later, he perfected the contraption, making it the centerpiece of his newly opened waterpark in 1969. Dexter's invention instantly snagged press from Time, Sports Illustrated, and Life, and today, it remains Big Surf Waterpark's 2.5-million-gallon keynote attraction. Over the years, despite Arizona's lack of rain, the park has managed to grow around the wave pool, and its current 20-acre campus features dozens of slides, rides, and areas for all ages. Big Surf's real estate has also played host to entertainment events, including concerts from Pink Floyd, Elton John, and the Beach Boys.