While the Irvine community has been anticipating the return of Wild Rivers this summer, a previously reported opening date of June 20 has come and gone. However, Wild Rivers has confirmed a soft opening date via Facebook. 

If the Irvine-based water park follows through on its July 1 date, the soft opening will occur exactly one year after the project acquired its $60 million in funding

In a phone conversation with Irvine Weekly, Wild Rivers owner Mike Riedel explained that regardless of when an opening date would occur, the idea has always been to open gradually, with a soft opening first, followed by a Grand Opening event in the subsequent weeks. 

“We’re going to do a grand opening, but it’s not going to be our first operating day. It’ll probably be a couple of weeks after,” Riedel said. “We’ll be able to take the time to put together a nice opening day event for our everybody — give our investors, and the banks, and community leaders and press ample time to make the arrangements to come out.” 

However, with that strategy in mind, Riedel emphasized that the water park would not open until it could provide a well-rounded experience, even if it was not fully completed.  

“We’re not going to open unless we have almost all of the rides available. We know that the little-kiddie slides are probably not going to be ready on the 20th. But we have an area for little kids,” he said. “But it’s definitely not going to be like we open and there are two rides open. Our goal is to deliver everything we can. We’re not going to deliver a substandard project.”

“It’s a mad scramble, the whole thing has been extremely challenging. When I walk through the park with my general manager — we just look at the park and go, ‘This is so amazing.’ We’re so proud of the product that we’re bringing out there, I can’t even express it.” 

Last year, Riedel spoke with Irvine Weekly, admitting that acquiring the necessary funding was a “rocky road.” While the project was supposed to break ground in April 2021, the official groundbreaking took place on July 7 and was expected to take 12 to 13 months to complete.